local designer: Stephanie D. Couture
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 When I was in my early 20s, I moved to Manhattan. I had just received the most amazing internship (quickly turned position) with Betsey Johnson and I couldn't wait to pack my things and move across the country by myself knowing no one. Plus, it didn't hurt that I had just went through a break-up and was needing a new scenery. So off I went, with a few bags in hand, moving into the worlds smallest apartment.

During my time in New York, I learned many things about myself. I survived a East Coast black out for 3 days with only $.49 on hand (note to self, always have some cash!), learned how to eat at a restaurant by myself, how to use the subway system, and how to live and breathe in the fashion industry.

Betsey Johnson is an unbelievable talent. I have nothing but pure respect for her. She was at the office every morning until night. Diet Coke in one hand, a pencil in the other, with bright red lip stick always on, and a personality that you couldn't help but love. And from that moment on, I understood the importance of a leopard print, black cocktail dress, flashy high-heels and most important, to always have fun.

Now living in the Pacific Northwest, I am discovering so many great local designers, like Stephanie D. Couture. She launched her first bridal collection in 2008 in Portland. Her designs are able to capture the beauty, femininity, sophistication and modernity in each of her pieces. With her growing success, Stephanie introduced her ready-to-wear collection that is known for its elegance and impeccable designs by focusing on quality, fit and haute couture. With all of her pieces, the goal is to offer woman a versatile, wearable design that makes her feel sexy and confident.

Stephanie's ready-to-wear collection includes an extensive line of cocktail dresses, knit dresses, and evening gowns. While her bridal collection has elaborate designs focusing on romance and old Hollywood. Stephanie also offers custom made dresses, where you are able to meet with the designer herself, review fabric swatches and work together to create your ideal wedding dress.

And as if designing a new collection is not keeping her busy enough. Stephanie D. Couture, Leanne Miller Photography and Cargill Communications™ have partnered with local designers Molly Rahe and Coreene Collins to provide top-to-bottom advice to young professionals on what to wear to this year’s hottest Portland fashion show, FashioNXT.

“What to Wear to FashionNXT: A Young Professional’s Guide” is the first in the Businesswoman Aesthetic video series, which sheds light on the tools, tips and resources to lean into careers and success through clear navigation of fashion, business and branding.

“We hope to empower women with advice to navigate fashion, business and branding,” said Stephanie Dong of Stephanie D. Couture.

Portland Fashion Show, FashioNXT, is set for October 9-12th. I highly suggest you attend and support your local designers. And make sure to check out Stephanie D. Couture. She will be showcasing her Spring/Summer 2014 line, with Parisian chic inspired Day-to-Night wear & evening gowns

Interview with Stephanie D. Couture:

Q: How would you describe your personal style?
A: Feminine, sophisticated, elegant, and confident

Q: And what could we find you wearing on the weekends?
A: Depending on t he occasion, if I'm working and will be heading out afterward to a nice dinner which would be followed up by cocktails in the evening - I could be wearing my day-to-night draped knit dresses. If I have a special event, I could be wearing one of my silk cocktail dresses.

Q: Tell us about your new video series "What to wear to FashioNXT?"
A: I partnered with Portland Professionals - Sarah Cargill with Cargill Communications and Leanne Miller with Leanne Miller Photography to create our video series. Our first video created, recommends young professional woman on how to dress from top-to-bottom for attending this years FashioNXT. We hope to empower woman with advise to navigate through fashion, business and branding.

Q: Where did you pull your inspiration from for your Spring 2014 collection?
A: Traditional art, influential fashion designers, nature and colors, and Parisian chic

Q: Is there a particular piece from your upcoming collection that is your favorite?
A: My favorite piece would be my grand finale. Inspired by Parisian Chic - the design expresses femininity with a touch of masculinity by showing different texture for the design.

Q: Describe what FashioNXT is like? And what is your day of the show routine?
A: FashioNXT is a high profile fashion show - well produced, well organized, its definitely a place for fashionista's to attend and experience. My day for the show is pretty easy - I'm only required to arrive at the venue 2-3 hours prior to the show. Make sure dressers learn how each garment is work or showcase on models for the runway. Check model's make-up and hair. Mingle with my fans, socialize, and prepare to chat with the press.

Q: Who are some of your designer influences?
A: Monique Lhuillier - love her elaborate use of lace for her designs. Jason Wu - modern style with fine detailing of haute couture.

Q: What's the one fashion item a woman shouldn't live without?
A: Little "Classic" black dress

Q: What do you love about Portland? Do you have a favorite restaurant?
A: I love Portland, especially living in my neighborhood in the NW Pearl District. People are friendly, we have lots of local coffee shops, great selection of local organic food, great art galleries. I enjoy happy hour in various locations with all of the amazing local restaurants. My favorite restaurant is Andina.

Q: What are your must-have items in your handbag?
A: Cell phone, business cards, Chanel compact powder and lipstick, wallet and keys.

Q: Who are your style icons?
A: Princess Kate, Vera Wang, Betsey Johnson, and Audrey Hepburn

Q: What is next for Stephanie D. Couture?
A: I recently moved my boutique into the NW Pearl District. I'm looking forward to building and establishing my brand in the new location. Also, I'm excited to share that I will be launching a Men's shirt collection Fall 2013 - Please stay tuned for the debut date.

(all photos provided by Stephanie D. Couture)

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