What's Next from Fashion Icon, Maggie Coulombe?


When you speak with Maggie Coulombe – Maui’s Leader in Fashion Forward Couture -- you will find that she is as versatile, imaginative, and free flowing as the outfits she designs. Her ideas are limitless. And, because she has been unafraid thus far in her career to push any boundary, the successes continue to mount.

These days she is looking ahead to women who are 50 and older with her focus on clothing that will create lasting memories for anyone who wears them.

“I want to go with my designs where women want to go,” she says. “I want my clothes to build memories so that when you buy a dress you know what wine you want to drink or what book you want to read while wearing it. Today nothing stays in the mind long enough with younger people. They just don’t know the word anticipation anymore. So when I make the next dress, I want people to say ‘Oh my god, Maggie Coulombe is making a new memory or theme or postcard so that I can relive a moment in my life.’”

With this she hopes to create longevity or more specifically a “lifestyle” that will be an enduring part of any woman’s wardrobe. Her approach is a reflection of personal experiences and an appreciation of why today’s older women are so strong. After having lived some of the different stages of life, she understands how the passing of the childbearing years, the romances, and on or off marriages can affect their mentalities. And how now, perhaps, they might be mulling over future men or an empty nest or even how it could all be over tomorrow.

So she wonders, what is it that they need today? What would it take to outfit such a woman for an entire 24 hours? And what can she create for the lifestyle they crave through her signature luxury line?

Maggie’s answer is to go back to the basics with clean and simple pieces like white shirts, black skirts, and clothes with more function. Perhaps she’ll even re-invent the one-piece bathing suit with the built-in bra. Overall she’s dreaming of elegant and timeless pieces, not so unlike the more structured clothing of the 1950’s or ‘60’s and the days of the Rat Pack. (Think Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. as well as Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall and Katherine Hepburn.)

Today her dramatic off-the-shoulder silks that drape the body with plunging necklines and backs are what built her career. As did her Erte-esque penchant for feathers and fur over silks and wool. These ensembles will always be her nom de marque. But she will now expand her collection with classic sweaters, tailored suits, and a private line of Maggie Coulombe shoes and handbags.

She admits, in part, that she’s nervous about this new direction because she’s at an awkward crossroad in deciding the future of her business. On one hand, she’s needs to determine whether or not to take it from a boutique mindset to mass production. And on the other, she wonders if she should make it even simpler and create only for those people that she wants to create for, just as she used to do.

It’s an uncomfortable situation, she says, that forces her to keep everything in perspective and to not take anything for granted. She explains, “I have success because of my designs but the difference now is corporate. I like the challenge it brings but I also love my life. What started off as a hobby that I loved to do, became a business. Sometimes it’s scary but it all has to do with integrity and believing in your self. My father always said that you have to have the ability to adapt and believe in what you want to do. The balance is in the compromise you make between your integrity and society.”

Moving forward, Maggie’s strategy is to improve upon her already oh-so-impressive list of international clientele. And from all her hard work, continue to woo the hearts of many a Hollywood starlet and of the clients that line her runways from New York to Vancouver. She will also focus a little more on the affection of women from around the islands, especially those on Maui, who have supported her throughout the years. And lastly she plans to stay right here.

“It’s a good home base,” she says of Maui. “It offers the perfect amount of isolation to keep me focused. Also, it’s the only luxury market in the resort world where there’s still a lot of room for fashion…and it’s only getting better.”

Which, when you think about it, is sort of like Maggie…and fine wine…and women 50 and older who are only improving with age.

To follow Maggie Coulombe’s latest trends, feel free to stop by her retail shop at Whaler’s Village located at 2435 Kaanapali Parkway on Maui’s west side or go online at www.maggiecoulombe.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest and Twitter. To talk to a representative, call (808)-344-6672 or send an E-mail to info@maggiecoulombe.com.

Written by Elaine Gallant, May 2013