When I ask what some of the challenges have been in the recent months of developing her collection, she reveals “the beading!”. For the Joyce work, it hasn’t been as experimental as usual but more of a production line, she reflects. “All the beading seemed doable, but in retrospect, sitting in the studio in your house in Nottingham or in my front room, beading for the past however many months just wasn’t ideal. Thank god I had friends helping me out, as it can get lonely sometimes!” We then speak about how easy it is to take for granted the creative environment of school, “at Saint martins you get there at 8.30 and your mates are there and you have a coffee and a laugh. There’s drama, but that’s all the stuff that keeps you going!” Her frank honesty and unassuming nature is precisely what makes her so charming and appealing: I liken her to more of an artist than a designer, a notion supported by the creative potential of her work, all of which stand alone as beautiful objects in their own right.
This idea of design as art rings particularly true within the Melissa exhibition, where the kimono’s are suspended, showing off all the intricacy. “They’d never been displayed like that before” she tells me. Originally Milli intended to curate it herself, but given the demands of the Joyce collection, and not living in London, it was just not feasible. Ruby, who runs a consultancy business, took the time out of her schedule to organise it “she’s been my guardian angel!” For the event, a selection of Melissa shoes have been customised by Milli, which will go into the the archives, as she is an embassador for the brand: the benefits of which include getting 6 pairs of shoes a season. Within the exhibition itself, an element of interaction has been created: enabling customers to make their own origami hearts and pin up wishes on the wall. So what does Milbo herself wish herself for the future? “Once the Joyce collection is finished and this exhibition is done, I really need to take some time and think about my next move. I want to progress my work and develop the brand, sourcing production and potentially developing more commercial goods, like t-shirts and sneakers.”