Maria Cornejo Is Sick of Men Putting Women in Dangerous Heels

By
Maria Cornejo and a look from her fall 2009 collection. Photo: Getty Images

Zero + Maria Cornejo's fall 2009 collection included roomy plaid coats, hooded sweaters, leather accents, and skinny pants paired with (gasp) flats and low wedges. "I’m all about comfort. You love to look fierce but you have to look comfortable, otherwise it doesn’t work," she told us after this morning's show at the Robert Miller gallery in Chelsea. How would she feel if a model fell on her runway, like the three girls who wiped out in yesterday's Hervé Léger show? "That’s just sad, you know? It’s boys dressing women. I’m sorry — they don’t have to wear the fucking shoes," she said. "It’s quite abusive. Because, you know what? We have to run around and walk, and nobody has a chauffeur waiting for them outside. And it really pisses me off and makes me really angry because it’s that boys thing about making women into victims. You know, it’s not nice." Word.

After Michelle Obama wore a Cornejo jacket on the Obama Express from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., Maria Cornejo's phone was ringing off the hook. Obama's support no doubt has helped Cornejo's business to not only survive in These Economic Times. "To have her say that she’s wearing the clothes of course doesn’t hurt," she mused. "I just think we dress that sort of woman — independent, intelligent women. So our client is working and out there — they’re not arm candy." She also credits the design philosophy behind her brand with helping her label thrive. "I’m a mom, I have two kids — I have to be able to afford my own clothes."

View a slideshow of the Zero + Maria Cornejo collection.