David Meister - Fashion Designer Encyclopedia

American designer

Born: 23 February 1962 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Education: Bachelor of Design, magna cum laude, University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, 1985. Career: Assistant Designer, Danskin 1986-88; designer, Silk Studio, Macy's Corporate Private Label, 1988-91; designer, Oleg Cassini Silk, 1992-93; designer, evening wear for Laundry, 1993; joined with ENC, a division of Kellwood Industries, to create a signature evening wear collection, 1998; introduced day dresses into his David Meister line, 2001. Address: 1307 East Temple Avenue, City of Industry, CA 91746; Showroom: 214 West 39th Street, Suite 203, New York, NY 10018.




"Market Basket," in WWD, 29 December 1998.

"SOS: Working the Next Wave," in WWD, 13 April 1999.

Williamson, Rusty, "The Party Meister," in WWD, 19 May 1999.

Hall, Len, "Running Hot and Cold on the Millennium," in WWD, 20July 1999.

Turk, Rose-Marie, and Eric Wilson, "In Day Dress Revival, a Starring Role for L.A.," in WWD, 31 August 1999.

Wilson, Eric, "For Evening Vendors, the End Isn't Near," in WWD, 23 November 1999.

Haber, Holly, and Rusty Williamson, "Stores Foresee a Strong Summer," in WWD, 12 January 2000.

Wilson, Eric, and Rusty Williamson, "The Ups and Downs of Building a Dress Line," in WWD, 7 March 2000.

David Meister: jersey backless gown with rusching and front slit. © Gale Group.
David Meister: jersey backless gown with rusching and front slit.
© Gale Group.

Greenberg, Julee, "Eveningwear's Next Millennium," in WWD, 22August 2000.

McCants, Leonard, "New Day for Meister," in WWD, 22 August 2000.

Greenberg, Julee, and Leonard McCants, "Dollars and Dresses: TheLadies are Back and Sales Are Stirring," in WWD, 9 January 2001.


My collection is clean, modern, glamorous and sexy. It compliments the needs of today's woman and her lifestyle.

—David Meister


David Meister understands many things. He understands fabrics and the way they flow over the female figure. He understands that a young heart might reside in a mature body. He is aware of the need for good, contemporary dresses for day and evening with price tags less than the national debt. He knows versatility is important. He understands what women want.

The M Collection by David Meister debuted for fall 1999. The 32-piece holiday and resort line included dresses and a wide range of evening separates. The sweater sets, multiple silhouettes in skirts and pants, tanks and novelty shirts, permit tremendous flexibility in evening dress. "The spectrum of styles shows that we're not addressing an age group but a state of mind. Women who appreciate fashion, but don't like fickle trends and those who love opulence but don't want to look over-the-top, will appreciate my line. It's a 21st century mind-set."

Meister's garments are feminine and elegant and cut with strong, clean, sexy silhouettes. Blatantly revisiting eras of glam and glitz with beading and sequins, his first collection offered the perfect attire for the modern siren. Fabrics ranged from simple matte jersey and crêpe to crinkled silks and organza. Outerwear included luxurious faux fur wraps. Stepping outside the usual black for evening, his palette included lilac, moss, dusty gold, ivory, peach and gray. Pegged as "a young designer to watch," the launch was an unqualified success, far outselling expectations.

A 12-year veteran of the fashion industry, Meister previously worked for Danskin, Macy's Corporate, and Oleg Cassini Silk. He spent the next six years at Podell Industries' Laundry Division building the social occasion and bridal area. In the fall of 1998, ENC, a division of Kellwood Industries, approached him about creating a signature evening collection. M by David Meister was introduced to the market in March 1999.

In his second year of business, Meister added a day dress line, "taking the next step in his desire to dress women while the sun is shining." Though he admits eveningwear is his first love, the new collection presented the opportunity to branch out. More tailored than his soft evening styles, the line is clean and modern. He plans to eventually expand to about 60 looks, but the premiere was primarily dresses and two-piece outfits with sweaters and skirts.

Maintaining his signature spare lines, Meister's spring 2001 day collection offered garments in linen, linen tweed, denim, and cotton. Some of the print dresses have a bold 1960s feel with strong graphic elements. His contemporary day dresses fill a void left by collections that have become too young, and the public response has been outstanding. Nieman Marcus' Gerald Barnes said, "The line is pretty and clean and on target," and Beverly Rice at Jacobsen's added, "The collection is very versatile and well made. The styling is updated and the fabrics are great. David Meister represents the fashion leadership and value that we love." Meister commented, "I want to take it as far as we possibly can. Hopefully with the success of the day dress line, I will be able to do sportswear. So you're dressing the same customer from day to evening to sportswear." His spring 2001 evening collection included little crêpe "classic cocktail" selections that were flying out the door, and his evening wear has continued to sell well.

David Meister has met a very difficult challenge: he has managed to understand women want well-made, beautiful clothing that show them at their best. They want garments that will be right for social occasions and versatile enough to be worn more than once, with a silhouette that will enhance a good figure, but with enough forgiveness to help conceal imperfections. Women want to feel pretty and feminine and sexy, at an affordable price. Not only does Meister understand, he delivers.

A native of Ohio, David Meister is well spoken and personable. He graduated magna cum laude from the fashion design program at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. A serious and committed student, Meister excelled academically and artistically. Remembered fondly by his professors, he retains his humility and approachability. In a competitive and fickle industry, it's refreshing to see that nice guys don't always finish last.

—Christina Lindholm

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