Maria Cornejo

The Power Of Independence. Maria Cornejo on 25 Years of Zero. 

By Editor-At-Large Jamie Rosen.

From archival reissues to a brand new book, Maria Cornejo is celebrating 25 years of her women-led and independent brand. “We are marking this milestone with a series of events and celebrations throughout the whole year,” she says. While looking back on career highlights (dressing Michelle Obama several times, including a custom-designed suit she wore during the 2009 Presidential Campaign) and to future freedom, she is also taking the time to memorialize two and a half decades in business.

To recapture the energy of the past 25 years, she and her ex-husband and collaborator Mark Borthwick shot creatives of all ages in re-editions of Zero Maria Cornejo archive pieces. “Over two days in February, we shot everyone with a limited window of time and wanted to convey a sense of joy and creativity after three years of the pandemic,” says Cornejo. The results are “Back to Zero” (Dashwood Books), a new tome which contains interviews with a cadre of fashionable friends, including Chloë Sevigny, Nicole Phelps, Francesca Sorrenti, Sunrise Ruffalo, Ilya Chaiken, Zora Sicher, Hanna Frolova, Madjeen Isaac, Brooke Williams, Alice Waese, Mia Enell, Silvina Arismendi, Ariel Steinbach, Bella Guinness, Jo-kel Cornejo Borthwick and Borthwick himself.

Of course, the book and the current collection feature the foil dress, which has been with Zero since the very beginning. “We do a version of this style almost every season,” she says. “It’s incredibly versatile and can be worn as a dress or with pants and remains a perennial favorite for effortless essentials.”

What hasn’t changed is the customer, as the vision for the wearer has always been someone who is moved to a timelessness, ease, and modern take on luxury. “These clothes are for real women no matter what size or shape,” she says. “And that hasn’t changed.”

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