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Designer Hayley Paige, 26, whose eponymous collection is exclusive to Now & Forever Bridal Boutique, was in town for a trunk show and girl talk. She’s the youngest in the JLM Couture stable and a Cornell grad—in pre-med and fashion design—who cut her teeth at Jill Stuart, Marchesa and Melissa Sweet, so we had to know more. 3701 Kirby Drive, 713.218.0369

California-born Paige puts her personality into designs like the Kiki, which has an ombré peplum skirt.

Dresses to Thrill

Why study medicine and fashion? My mom is an interior designer and my dad is a general surgeon.

Why did fashion win? I was studying for a mid-term in a Cornell chemistry lab at 4am, and followed it up with an all-nighter in the design lab, finishing a wedding dress. It was very clear I was much happier designing dresses than solving carbon equations. I was attracted to the emotion value in both professions, but recognized a nurturing connection to my creative talent through design. I got gown happy!

Describe your aesthetic. I love to accent a woman’s form, and I like to do a lot with the backs. That’s my thing. I like a crisscross back, laser-cut work, Swiss dot—textured details. I’m not big on bling, but twinkle.

For whom do you design? The girl who doesn’t take herself too seriously, but who also has a sense of self. She’s adventurous, vivacious and always believes that something wonderful is about to happen.

Who would you most like to dress? Pippa Middleton, of course! I understood her sister’s choice to go refined and traditional, but I would put Pippa in something a little more va-va-voom and statement-making.

If you married tomorrow, what gown? I would create a little love child, combining the crystalized sheer illusion corset back from Gianna (spring 2012) and the trickling petal detail from Babs (fall 2012), and finish it off with pink-to-ivory ombré.

How’s Houston? It’s been a very welcoming experience, and I love the weather! Vo and Kim [from N&F] took me to a chic Japanese hot spot. I knew Texas was known for Tex-Mex, but I had no idea the sushi was just as top-notch!