The fashion world calls Michael Boris “The Master of Anonymous Luxury.” He’s never been the attention-seeking sort, preferring to pour his time, love, and energy into what he does so well—designing and crafting the kind of women’s wear that feels and looks so quietly stunning that it’s a mood-altering experience for wearer and observer alike.
Boris doesn’t remember a time when he didn’t love clothing. “At six years old, I knew I wanted to have a clothing store and do clothes, make clothing,” he says. “I always loved going into stores and looking at the clothes. So when I was six, my father was making me marionettes, and I was making clothing to go onto the marionettes that he made. It’s been in me for quite some time.”
Growing up in Poughkeepsie, in an era when public schools didn’t exactly offer fashion design tracks, he nonetheless had the support of family and friends as he dove deeper into what he already knew would be his life’s mission. “My parents encouraged me to express myself,” says Boris. “So as a teenager I bought myself a sewing machine and started just making things, figuring out how to put clothing together.”
It wasn’t long before he had a collection assembled, and he and some like-minded friends decided to hold their own fashion show at a local club. “It was a success,” he recalls happily. “There was a person in the audience who ran a store in Poughkeepsie called the Clothes Horse; he ordered the clothing right from the show, and that’s where it started.”
It led in relatively short order to his next endeavor, opening his first independent shop in Poughkeepsie. “I worked at the Clothes Horse for a while and ultimately decided that if this was what I was going to do, I needed to open my own shop,” Boris explains.
It was just three years after opening his Poughkeepsie shop that he opened his first New York City showroom, and the rest is history.
“My parents encouraged me to express myself. So as a teenager I bought myself a sewing machine and started just making things, figuring out how to put clothing together.” – Michael Boris
“So I just went ahead and did that, not really knowing, you know, what I was doing—I just did it.”
Many a 20-year-old who dives into business comes to regret it, but Boris had a gift and was already getting noticed. “It was a little overwhelming, because the success came really fast. Soon I was making clothes for all the ladies of Poughkeepsie, and soon after that, for the ladies of New York which was a completely different lifestyle.”
It was just three years after opening his Poughkeepsie shop that he opened his first New York City showroom, and the rest is history. “It’s always been just me going forward and making it happen,” he says. New York became where he lives and has a workroom. He’s had stores and showrooms in New York City, Rhinebeck NY, and San Francisco. He was a special event designer for 20 years with Neiman Marcus. His only current retail outlet, however, is in Hudson. “I love working in Hudson on weekends,” he says. “You should come see—people say it’s like coming into a museum to see beautiful artwork, which is always nice to hear.”
“I am absolutely still having fun. This is a labor of love.” – Michael Boris
Boris has never had any interest in becoming a celebrity designer, although it seems likely that we’d recognize some of the names of the women wearing his work. For him, it’s always been about the process and the beauty of the product. “I’m sort of erased from the fashion world,” he says. “I beat my own drum, always have. My clothing is designed and built to transcend time—that’s what I’ve been doing for a half century, making classic clothes that you can wear forever and making them so well that you can even wear them inside out.”
The lines are simple and sleek, exquisitely detailed without being in the least frilly—every angle is well-considered. “The look is simple, but the creation of the garment is actually complicated,” says Boris. “I love the challenge of making something for someone and knowing that it will work for them. You can be a size 2 or a size 22; I’m up to the challenge—you walk in, you are absolutely going to be taken care of in a very special way and made comfortable, and I will create something that’s beautiful on you, that fits you to perfection.”
A Manhattan store and showroom is coming, but many downstate clientele find that taking the train to Hudson for a fashion fix makes a lovely journey; others welcome him into their homes for private showings and fittings.
“It’s something of a dying art, and I’ve been able to do it for a half century now. And I’m so very lucky in the clients that I have, and in how kind and generous they’ve been to me over the years.” Maybe you’re curious about the world of couture; maybe it’s already your jam. Maybe there’s someone on your gift list who would love a special gift certificate.
Do stop in to the Warren Street showroom/boutique when you’re next in Hudson and bask in the joy of a happy master of his art at work.”
“I am absolutely still having fun,” he says. “This is a labor of love.”
michael bori s clothing
117 Warren Street, Hudson