Four diverse tastemakers share their success stories, what style means to them and their essentials when it comes to fashion and design.
Like many other style professionals, Monique Miller landed in Miami after living in L.A., where she’s from; Chicago, where she attended the Art Institute; and New York, where she started her professional retail adventure at Intermix as manager of fashion editorial and production. When her boyfriend relocated to Miami to start a business, Miller was transferred and given a new role as the area visual merchandiser for the Southeast, which includes four stores in Florida and one in Georgia. Her duties are a fashionista’s dream come true: “I travel around highlighting new products, trends and must-haves,” she says with a cat-that-ate-the-canary smile on her lips. Glamour aside, her position is one that requires astute knowledge of market retail habits. “In South Beach, I can merchandise with a downtown-edgy frame of mind, but in Bal Harbour and Palm Beach, it’s more luxe and polished,” says Miller. “Boca is all about the moms and when you get to Atlanta, it all changes again.” How has all that geographical sartorial knowledge influenced Miller’s own wardrobe? “I think I’ve remained true to my New York style, but being in South Florida has loosened me up,” she says. “When I’m at work, I’m dressed on-trend every day because that’s my job, but I do find ways to take more risks, be more playful, have more fun, and, yes, I’ll say it, mix it up.”
THE DIY EXPERT
Talk about organically grown. Raul Rodriguez’s event production business, 2r Productions, has evolved over the past 17 years, from his first job in his late teens as director of student events at FIU to its current incarnation as a full-blown service company with its own furniture rental, carpentry and set-building divisions. Today, he also owns Lavish Event Rentals, which also materialized in a most natural way: When Rodriguez found himself struggling to source out various items he wanted to use for specific events, he would have them made, then ended up storing them. “Eventually I had a 12,000-square-foot warehouse full of things, so it just made sense to rent them out,” he says. “That part of the business has exploded.” And so has 2r, which specializes in the luxury corporate market; masterminds and generates events all over the country and abroad; and counts among its blue-chip clients Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co., a roster that started with Cartier about 10 years ago. All this suits Rodriguez perfectly, given that both professionally and personally he is “huge” into fashion—at an impressive 6 feet 4 inches, he can’t fit into “the little French guy” labels, but he is a devotee of Tom Ford and Dolce & Gabbana. Still, as much as he enjoys cutting a sharp figure, Rodriguez also gets high on breaking a sweat. “I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie,” he confesses. “I’m into zip-lining, paddleboarding, rock climbing… I like to go to Vegas and rent dune buggies and ride around in the desert.” He laughs: “If I’m in Miami for three weeks straight, that’s a long time.”
Cheryl Herger & Anna Deskins
When Cheryl Herger and Anna Deskins met at a trade show, they struck up an instant friendship. Deskins, who had owned several boutiques, including Cabana locations in The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach and New York City, had her own clothing line; Herger was a visual merchandiser who had also had her own collection, CH. “Everyone said we must be sisters because we literally look like twins,” says Deskins, laughing. “We really do.” They’re not sisters, but they’re the partners in style behind the Frankie Boutique in Sunset Harbour, a shop named for the quintessential ’80s tune “Frankie Say Relax” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. “We’re both very chill,” adds Herger, explaining the moniker’s genesis. It’s a mindset that extends to the boutique’s inventory as well. Deskins and Herger select clothing and accessories (from brands like House of Harlow, Acacia, Cynthia Vincent and American Retro) that can transition easily from morning mommy duties to afternoon lunch to a casual evening out. This mantra also applies to the shop owners’ own fashion proclivities. “When it comes to my personal style, I’m very casual,” says Herger. “I can’t live without my Rag & Bone jeans and Enza Costa T-shirts, but I mix that up with a Proenza Schouler bag. That’s the trick.” That, and a bargain or two. Despite having first pick at designer goods on a daily basis, the two women still get giddy when it comes to treasure hunting and sales. “I recently found a Chloé bag that was 70 percent off,” adds Herger, as Deskins laughs in the background. “Seventy percent off! That was a good day.”
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