Bootstrap Financing - Fall's Must-Have Accessory: Fashion designer Melissa May meets Marcel Proust

Fresh City Life asked Denver designer Melissa May to answer the Proust questionnaire -- and she tells us like she sees it.

In the weeks leading up to our fashion spectacle Frock Out, each of our twelve designers will be featured here with their responses to the infamous Proust Questionnaire. Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist, critic and essayist, believed that people must know and understand themselves before they can know or understand others. His clever and insightful answers to a list of subjective questions (a popular social entertainment at the time) illustrate how the questionnaire helps reveal to people their true selves and the inner personalities of those around them.

Melissa May draws inspiration from the Incroyables- a French Revolution-era subculture that dressed in wildly eccentric clothing as a way to celebrate individual freedom and to mock popular culture. Taking this tongue-in-cheek view of pop culture, Melissa creates garments that fuse together the worlds of elegant high fashion with rock 'n' roll and street styles.

Melissa goes under the microscope with the Proust Questionnaire:

What is your greatest fear?

To never accomplish my life goals.

What is your current state of mind?

Frustrated but still hopeful.

What is your favorite occupation?

Listening to music or watching fashion shows. I also like planning out future projects.

Who is your favorite fictional hero?

I love Tank Girl and Pippi Longstocking because they are stubborn, sassy, and can keep up with the boys.

What is your most treasured possession?

My men's-style shiny oxford shoes. But who knows what'd I'd say if I answered this tomorrow.

When and where are you happiest?

Backstage at a fashion show, watching models take to the runway wearing my designs.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Being too dependent on the help of others.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Unearned bravado, especially when coupled with ignorance.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I never have money so I can't really buy things, but I love junk food. Lately, days off feel like a huge luxury though.

What is your favorite journey?

Discovering new places by myself.

What do you consider the most over-rated virtue?

Honesty for honesty's sake.

On what occasion do you lie?

Usually when the truth makes an explanation too complicated. I might be doing it right now.

Which words or phrases do you most over-use?

"Um, like, sweet, dude." Any annoying filler words that just pop outwhile I'm thinking of the next part of the sentence.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I'd be less poor.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I have managed to coordinate fashion shows, photo shoots, a website, etc. all without having any money. Though its extremely hard, I've tried not to let the lack of money get in my way too much.

Where would you like to live?

Anywhere I can have the career I want.

What do you value most in your friends?

A great sense of humor.

How would you like to die?

Old and in my sleep after presenting my final collection.

If you were to die and come back as a person or an animal, what do you think it would be?

An opera singer.

If you could choose an object to come back as, what would you choose?

An object with the sole purpose of making people happy. Like a teddybear or a doll. Or a Swiss bank account.

What is your motto?

Quick, good, and cheap. Pick any two -- but you can never have all three.

Who has been the greatest influence on you?

Betsey Johnson and Alexander McQueen.

Get to know Melissa May and eleven other talented local designers at Frock Out. Tickets and info.

Written by Chris on October 19, 2010

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