Even in an oversaturated celebrity culture, we know their names: Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Gwen Stefani, Carrie Underwood, Kylie Minogue, Lily Collins and many more.

What you might not know about each of the aforementioned larger-than-life talents is their connection to a gifted Montrealer named Mikael Derderian, founder and creative director of MIKAEL D, a refreshingly modern luxury fashion house where elevated glamour, superior fabrics, impeccable craftsmanship, and incomparable design are the guiding forces.

In a twist of fate worthy of its own celluloid telling, the visionary creator, born of a Canadian-Armenian father and Lebanese mother (who ran their own fashion label for children in Beirut), eventually escaped the rigors of war to make a home in Canada, where the now-established designer graduated with a marketing and business degree before experiencing a direction-changing epiphany that design was the destiny.

Celine in Mikael D.

Accordingly, he returned to school and secured a degree in fashion design from the internationally revered Lasalle College, and then went on to work with a number of highly respected fashion houses across the globe, broadening his experience and skill sets until taking the leap of faith and launching his own private label, MIKAEL D, in 2016.

The rest, as they say, is his-story, as his spectacular feats of design, worthy of main stages and ruby carpets everywhere (and everywear!), captured imaginations in every postal code, ultimately culminating in Michael’s status as a sought-after designer to the stars, with exclusive collections currently available at high prestige department stores worldwide like Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Printemps. .

Even more exciting: The Montrealer has recently returned to the pivotal city that initiated the journey nine years ago to open a spectacular 7,000-square-foot showroom, his first in Canada, following other locations in Doha, Beirut, New York and China. Decorated in his signature modern glam aesthetic, the designer now offers lucky Montrealers and visitors to the city alike his beloved custom couture designs, a ready-to-wear collection, and, drum roll please, the opportunity to rent his next-level creations for the best of the Party City’s social seasons, replete with an as yet unexperienced added touch in world rental: the ability to customize dresses and gowns for individual needs. Cost effective- ness and sustainability were goals he feels he has proudly achieved with this latest expansion and initiative.

Mariah in Mikael D. Photography courtesy of Mikael D.

Mikael D in Conversation with Longtime Collaborator and Friend, Catwalk King Hans Koechling

H: Hey Mikael, what fun to catch up and celebrate your success, collaborating with you on yet another year of numerous high-profile projects and shows.

When working together, it’s all in the details, from the casting, the music, the staging of the show, the lighting, the styling, hair & make-up, the model movement, stage direction—there are so many creative aspects of planning the show, taking nothing for granted and taking it to the next level when producing any of your shows.

For me it’s orchestrating the show, the moment everyone is in their seats, the room goes dark, the music takes over and the show is about to begin, as I am excited tocue to start the show, privileged to know what’s about to walk down the runway.

What is your favourite part of planning your show?

M: Hans, you make the feeling of planning a show a truly amazing and very rewarding experience… it’s hard to describe it in words… it is a momentary sensation of ecstasy and the ultimate feeling of personal achievement… I truly love working very closely with you and your production team at “The image is…” to provide the guests with a never-before-seen concept, that is both enticing and stimulating for the senses, making every single show we do together an unforgettable fashion experience.

H: From when you started to design to where you are today, the incredible journey to build your company, the work and phenomenal talent has paved your way. What is your approach, your vision, the research, craftsmanship, fabrics, beading, colors, style and fit—what drives your creativity and what inspires you the most when designing a gown or collection?

M: My creativity is fueled by a fusion of influences: from art, nature, architecture, to cultural diversity and technological innovation. I’d find inspiration in the intricate patterns of a flower petal, the bold lines of a skyscraper, the vibrant colors of a bustling market in Doha, or even the graceful movements of dancers in a Russian Ballet.

Me and you have always discussed how each gown or collection tells a unique story, blending elements of tradition and modernity, fantasy, and reality, creating pieces that resonate with emotion and captivate the imagination. This is the foundation of every fashion show and photo shoot we work on together and what resonates with me long after with the incredible moments and beautiful images we create.

Ultimately though, my goal is to craft garments that not only adorn the body but also elevate the spirit, leaving an everlasting impression on the person wearing it, as she steps out of her door, captivating all who glimpse at her with her incredible allure.

H: With every one of your shows a standing ovation, your designs are worn by the most sought-after A-list celebrities and red carpets worldwide, what celebrity dress story stands out to you most?

M: I am proud to say that I have dressed many A List celebrities over the years, but my true magical experience lies with Mariah Carey, who you are also a fan of (wink!) . I have been working with her for over 8 years and she is truly one of the most genuine artists I have ever worked with… and one of my first celebrity supporters. We work with her and her stylist Wilfredo Rosado on a personal basis … to create experiences that transcend beyond the shows and red-carpet appearances. Our story together lies not only in the admiration it garners from the audience and the fans (Lambs), as well as the media, but also in the personal connection between the designs and Mariah Carey herself. The dresses I make for her become more than just garments; they become a symbol of empowerment, elegance, and artistic expression.

H: Your couture gowns have made many bride’s dreams come true. What does luxury mean to you?

M: Luxury to me goes beyond material opulence; it’s about the experience we create in our productions together, the craftsmanship, and the emotion it evokes. It’s that feeling of being transported to another realm, where every detail is meticulously curated to delight and inspire the wearer. Luxury is about exclusivity, yes, but it’s also about authenticity and innovation. It’s the embodiment of elegance, quality, and timelessness, leaving a lasting impression that transcends mere possessions.

H: As we are both constantly travelling, with your life and long hours spent on planes, how do you find time to relax, rest up or deal with jet lag? How do you unwind and reenergize?  What is your favorite city and why?

M: Unwinding for me involves diving into my hobbies like photography or exploring new music and dancing the night away. Sometimes, it’s also just taking a leisurely trip to the countryside and immersing myself in nature or going to the beach on a beautiful sunny day. Reenergizing, on the other hand, often involves engaging in creative pursuits like sketching or brainstorming new ideas.

As for my favorite cities, well it might seem like a cliché but…  I love London, with its rich history, cultural heritage, and eclectic ambiance, captivating to the senses. I am also drawn to the vibrant energy of New York City, or even the laid-back charm of island life in Agya Napa, Cyprus…. Each city has its own truly unique allure…

H: What is your favorite cocktail, or meal?

M: You can never go wrong with a refreshing Mojito! As for meals, a perfectly cooked steak with truffle butter or a plate of sushi crafted by Matsuhisa. What are some of your favorites Hans?

H: After a long day, I like to chill with a dirty vodka martini, with extra olives, and there is nothing like the best Schnitzel and good company at Borchardt in Berlin.

What is something you can’t live without? Do you have a treasured possession?

M: I have to say that it is my cashmere hooded sweater… The sweater brings me a lot of happiness, joy and comfort every time I slip into it, and this is why it is always on me, or close to me, when I am on long plane trips or when I travel for business, It’s the soft warmth enveloping me, providing a sense of comfort and security amidst the vastness of information.

H: I can’t do without my black cashmere scarf, it’s like the one item I travel and live with where I go.

What’s next, what are your plans? (Montreal Atelier & Showroom, Cannes, Ready To Wear Collection, Paris Couture Show, etc.)

M: MIKAEL D is currently undergoing many exciting ventures and an expansion plan, starting with our most recent soft opening that we worked together on with you Hans and the team at “The image is…” This was the official launching platform for the project with a fashion show announcing the opening of our Canadian headquarters and offices in Montreal, as well as an atelier that will be used as a working space for design creation, along with showroom space for private client sales.

Our new showroom will provide direct customer sales whether bespoke couture or custom-made gowns as well as rental service on luxury evening and bridal wear.

The goal of this new project is also to initiate a brand expansion from Canada into the global market as well as the creation of sub-collections with eveningwear and wedding wear garments, developed and sold at an attractive price point.

We have also just participated with celebrity showrooms at the Cannes Film Festival and will be working on showing our couture FW 24/25 collection in Paris this July, as well as potentially dressing Mariah Carey for her Vegas show and the upcoming Christmas events.

So many exciting things … but many have to remain hush hush.

H: Wonderful catching up with you my friend—but just look at the time—let’s get started, everyone! First looks—on with the show!

By Jenn Campbell

Montreal-based luxury lifestyle social magazine. for lovers of: parties, solid fashion, fine eats, sexy escapes, the best in fitness and health trends, motivating quotage, good pop and other culture, celebrity fabulousness and the whole luxury lifestyle landscape in general.

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