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Style Crush: Nilda Martin

Image courtesy of BOLDFACERS.If a stranger asked me to describe Nilda Martin of PHI DESIGN GROUP, it would probably be an incoherent stream of gushing admiration: creative genius, friend, wife, mother, inspiration, bad-ass, angel sent from heaven...you catch my drift. Nilda and her firm are the wizards behind production and design for events such as AFH's Greatest Party On Earth, where they are able to transform spaces into total sensorial experiences, attending to every aesthetic detail. Nilda was a clear choice as an NB Style Crush; everything about her look seems as effortless as it is showstopping, thoughtful as it is unexpected. Not to mention the girl is gorgeous. Usually I get to see her decked out in event-wear without a stitch of makeup, and even though she doesn't need it, she leaves that job to me. Fine with me though, if it means more face time (i.e. gigglefits) with one of Boston's true creative minds.

I asked her about the look pictured. "H&M halter dress from 6 years ago... I LOVE leopard print, usually accessories, especially shoes, belts and my fashion MacGyver piece, my Louis Vuitton leopard scarf that I can make into anything - halter, wrap, belt. I loved the print and the fabric was good quality, so I went for it. I always feel happy and sexy in this dress. It really is the one thing I own that captures my personality perfectly. Jewelry is always so important. Most stuff I have has been given to me by my grandmother who is a jewelry designer... gold bangles are hers, rings are hers and also always wear the first ring my boy gave me - a simple diamond eternity band. I have on Devon Page McCleary's ivory bead bracelet. I obviously love to layer."

After the jump, more on Nilda's signature style, shopping tips, fashion icons, and beauty secrets.

Describe your style. My style is Latina Chic... I grew up with women that loved to dress well and celebrated the female body. Instead of buying a lot of little things, I was taught to save and buy really well made, special pieces. As a result, I have quite a collection of shoes, dresses, jewelry that I love. The unifying factor is great fit. Find a tailor who you love and everything looks custom, even H&M. During the day, I mostly wear black and I usually have on a black tank top, jeans, black pants or pencil skirt, and what my business partner calls "cha-cha" heels or my silver adidas hightops. At night, I play more and wear almost exclusively dresses. Summertime is color and prints. Cooler weather warrants gorgeous fabrics, Chantilly lace, silks, glamorous black dresses, fitted tuxedo with fun shoes and jewelry. Probably not too PC but, like any good latina, I always have on gold hoops, my wedding bands and lots of bangles.

What are you into right now? My company is a design consulting firm so I am consistently on the hunt for anything design related - art, fashion, jewelry, furniture, lighting. We specialize in custom work so being inspired is a constant state of being. I recently was in Brooklyn and loved the effortlessness of people's style. Great and interesting boutiques and designers there. I travel often to check out new things and see what people, especially young people are wearing and creating. Girls who are born and bred in the city are always fearless. I love that attitude.

I saw Tara Donovan's exhibit at the ICA over a year ago and still talking about it. She uses everyday manufactured materials such as Scotch tape, Styrofoam cups, and drinking straws to create large scale sculptures that often have a biomorphic quality. Her sculptures must be assembled and disassembled carefully, which sometimes involves an extremely tedious process. With regards to her artistic process, Donovan explained that she chooses the material before she decides what can be done with it. She noted in an interview that she thinks "in terms of infinity, of [the materials] expanding." AMAZING.

I love Karl Lagerfeld, Dolce & Gabanna, Narciso Rodriguez, Collette Dinnigan and anything by Alexander Wang--his T collections have inspired a new level of obsession. Also...Must Dance. Any and all music. Salsa. Hip Hop. Slick Rick. Aretha.

Where do you shop? I am always on the hunt. Looc, Barneys, Louis, H&M, Jean Therapy, and J. Crew (their Minnie and Pixie pants are an essential in black--buy several pairs). In NYC... Barneys, Bird, Zoe (Brooklyn), Jeffrey, Some Odd Rubies (vintage). I love little boutiques and love to support them.

What's your inspiration when shopping on the cheap? Guidelines? Shopping on the cheap is easy. Wait for sales at your favorite expensive retailers and work with a tailor to get the fit right or go to places like H&M and try new trends for fun. I bought a jumpsuit there last year that I love. I wear a lot of black so the quality of the material is really important. Fit is most important and material can't look cheap. Cheap is definitely easier in the summer. I swear by Old Navy bathing suits.

What are your "musts" when you shop? I buy black tank tops constantly and am always looking for new ones. They go with everything.

Fashion icons? My grandmother, my daughter, Sophia Loren, Diane von Furstenberg, Halston.

Beauty secrets? Sex (can I say that?), anything by Fresh, drinking water, sunscreen, Cetaphil + sugar, good habits (wash and moisturize).

So there you have it folks, an inside look at one of my favorite human beings on the planet. Join me in style-crushing on Nilda tomorrow, Tuesday June 22nd, at PHI's first in a series of photo shows at 1409 Washington Street in the South End from 6:00-9:00 pm.

Reader Comments (2)

I'm kiiinda in love with Nilda... she is one of my favorite people ever!! :)
06.21.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
thank god for you for introducing me to her!
06.21.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeannie

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