During his senior year at Greenhill, John Piermarini looked up to Mila Hermanovski, a cast member on the fashion reality show Project Runway.
It wasn’t just her classic design sense with an edgy twist that caught Piermarini’s eye; there was also their common background.
After she graduated from Greenhill in 1987, Hermanovski received her degree at Rhode Island School of Design. She has worked for designers such as Calvin Klein, but Hermanovski put designing on hold to work as a costumer for movies (Tron: Legacy, Star Trek Into Darkness) and TV shows (Nip/Tuck, Dancing With The Stars). While living in Los Angeles, Hermanovski was recruited to join the cast of Project Runway’s seventh season, which debuted in January 2010.
“I hadn’t been an ac-tive fashion designer for a while at that point,” Hermanovski said. “The whole experience of being on Project Runway, while it was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life, reminded me of my original dream, which was to have my own line.”
She finished third, then returned two year later for Project Runway All Stars.
Piermarini’s path to working in fashion was less orthodox than how Hermanovski started out. While watching her on television, he was already designing his own pieces for clients.
“When I graduated, I wanted to get into retail and thought, maybe I’ll just try it for a year and forgo college,” he said. “It was Greenhill who supported me and told to me to give it a shot. I’ve never been on the traditional route. I thought I might as well hit the ground running.”
His eponymous boutique has been open for three years; he recently celebrated the first anniversary of moving it to Snider Plaza.
“I like to be the voice for designers out there right now,” Piermarini said. “There are so many talented people out there, and I get to be the voice between the designers and the customers, which was something I wanted to do.”
Recently, Hermanovski became one of those designers. Connected by the Greenhill alumni association, the pair began working together when Piermarini was stocking his store with items for fall. Both alums have a love for unique, effortless pieces — such as Hermanovski’s paneled leggings, oversized hoodies, and patchwork cocktail dresses.
“She really understands how to make women’s clothing, and I think that’s really important,” Piermarini said. “But when people are buying a piece, they should love it. They want to wear the items again. Mila has those kinds of pieces, and she understands the concept of wearable, working pieces in fashion.”
Piermarini Boutique is the first store in Dallas to carry Hermanovski’s line. A trunk show has been scheduled for Oct. 19.
“I am very proud to be represented in Dallas,” she said. “Because once a Texan, always a Texan.”