Margee Minier – fashion designer, fashion illustrator, master embroiderer, seamstress, creator of découpage art, charcoal portrait artist, silk and wood painter, French teacher and translator, world traveler and mother . . .
For this multifaceted artist, it all began at the age of 7 when Margee’s mother, Antoinette, taught her how to sew on an antique, non-electrified, pedal sewing machine.
At age 10, Margee was designing ‘Twiggy’ inspired polka dot mini skirts. At 12, she was cutting up batik Indian blankets to make ponchos and long, flowing ‘maxi’ skirts. By age 15, Margee was sewing in a dress factory, designed and sewed her first wedding gown, and in her ‘spare’ time taught herself to embroider. Her passion for embroidery developed and weekends were spent on the beach embroidering jean jackets for all her friends.
At the age of 16, Margee was (already) accepted into The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. There, she graduated Magna Cum Laude, earning her degree in Couture Fashion Design at the mere age of 19.
Before embarking on a 30+ year international career which has spanned the oceans, Margee designed for several New York fashion houses and her designs appeared in the New York Times magazine and Macy’s windows. During this time, being bilingual in French and English, Margee was sent several times to Paris to see the Couture fashion shows and sketch the emerging trends from the streets and boutiques. It was then, in her early 20’s, that she was offered the job as an International Fashion Advisor for the Wool Bureau and Saks Fifth Avenue. She immediately moved to Paris, became a member of the ‘Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne’, wrote and illustrated fashion trend reports from Paris and London, organized fashion shows for the ‘Salon de Prêt-à-Porter Féminin’, worked with textile dyers and weavers to create color spectrums and fiber and fabric trends up to two years in advance and worked to promote Paris trends all over the world. In Paris, Margee met and worked with Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Ungaro to name just a few and was invited to their private couture shows. She became a fashion journalist and international fashion correspondent for the Litchfield County Times newspaper in Connecticut.
At 26, Margee was sent to China and Hong Kong where she worked for six weeks lecturing and promoting Paris fashion, the versatile properties of wool, taught fashion design at the Eliza Couture School of Fashion design in Taiwan and was interviewed (with a translator!) for a chinese fashion magazine.
While living in Paris, Margee also became a voracious charcoal portrait artist and began painting orchards on silk, fantasy moons on wood sculptures and harlequins and Pierrots in watercolor.
In January 1984, Margee had the opportunity to continue her fashion career on the island of Tahiti in French Polynesia (in the South Pacific). There in Tahiti, Margee opens her first fashion boutique ‘La Boutique Margee’ where she designs for an international clientele. Her designs appear in newspapers and magazines around the world and she has several television appearances. Although Margee organized many fashion shows in Paris, it was in Tahiti in September 1985 that she has her first ‘completely designed by her’ spectacular fashion show with 68 original designs. In Tahiti, Margee’s designs were mostly inspired by Paris high fashion and sparkling evening wear but she also combined this influence with her exquisite tropical surroundings, hand painting hibiscus & bird of paradise flowers on kimonos and evening bags.
After a few years in Tahiti, Margee travels to Connecticut for the birth of her first son, Florian, who was born on her 30th birthday. Nearly three years later, her second son Mikaël was born (just) a few days before her mother’s 60th birthday.
In the countryside of Connecticut Margee purchased her home where she converted an old horse barn into her design room and opened her ‘Atelier Margétoile’ in 1987. There for the last 30+ years, while raising her sons, Margee’s designing has evolved into her art, creating unique, one of a kind wearable art pieces for a private clientele in France, New York, New England and Tahiti. She creates collage bags, patchwork inspired pillows, unusual window treatments, teaches fashion design, runs an alteration business, and designs one of a kind jewelry.
During Margee’s years in Europe, she collected a vast amount of antique laces, buttons, linens, evening bags, vintage dresses and turn of the (last) century jackets. Today she uses bits and pieces from her antique collection mixed with newer tapestries, brocades & jacquards, upholstery fabrics, bouclés or any fabric with an unusual weave or texture to create her wearable art and strengthen the garments.
Margee has always been inspired by the magical and the whimsical. The stars, moon and sun have always appeared in her designs. As a little girl at night she would climb out of her bedroom window and lie on the roof of her house mesmerized by the stars, waiting for and counting shooting stars. As a teenager, she would get up early, bicycle to watch the sunrise, be fascinated by Mercury & Venus, 'the morning star', bicycle to the best spot to watch and photograph the sunset and she would sleep under the stars at the beach. At FIT, Margee was the president of the Astronomy Club and organized trips to the nearby planetariums. Her label ‘Margétoile’ is a combination of ‘Margee’ and ‘étoile’, the French word for star.
Margee’s father, Peter Bosco, was a French professor and linguist. He spoke seven languages fluently and spoke to her in French from the time she was born. One of her most tender childhood memories is when she was 6 years old her father taught her to say ‘I love you’ in ten languages. Although she was born in New York, Margee remembers her childhood as being immersed in a world of languages and European culture. She feels so thankful to her father for the gift of the French language which she lives, breathes and cherishes every day of her life. In addition to all her design work, Margee has worked as a freelance French translator for over 30 years in the fashion industry, music industry at MIDEM, in television, publishing, for historic art centers, and in product labeling for both France and Canada.
Margee also created a method of teaching French to children called ‘French Fantastique’. She teaches the French language and culture through the arts, music, impressionism, fashion, make-up, jewelry, science and history. She taught French to children in Montessori schools for 30+ years and teaches advanced placement (AP) French to high school juniors and seniors. She also teaches an art appreciation class which she created called ‘Impressionistic Art Through the Eyes of a Child’ to children ages 7 - 12.
Born into a family of linguists, authors, classically trained musicians, a numismatist, a Harvard MBA, Margee decided to go her own way and embraced the gentle needle arts. She feels deeply connected to her grandmother who was a doll maker and whose sewing machine is still in use in Margee’s design room. Today, Margee’s ’Atlier Margétoile’ is where she continues to design and create and serve her private clientele. Each piece is a work of art composed of elements that are rare and ‘introuvable’ treasures that once used in a garment will never be found again. Each garment and collage bag is unique and hand made. Margee’s goal is that while wearing one of her creations, you will feel enveloped in the tender love which went into the making of the garment.
Margee, who has been vegetarian for 45 years, who has lived, worked and traveled in more than twenty countries, who shares her life between France, New York, New England and Tahiti, currently participates in Sustainable Fashion Conferences at FIT and around the world. She teaches Sustainable Fashion to her fashion design students and in recent years on the university level where she mentors and was the guest of honor in Tokyo, Japan at the prestigious Bunka Fashion College, ESMOD Tokyo, and at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Art et de Design de Nancy, in France. Margee dreams of and will continue to work to promote cultural understanding, non-violence and world peace.