In Justify Your Designs new designers display their favorite piece, and explain why you need it in your closet. Today, we’re checking in with Anna Coroneo who is showing off the red version of her Mary dress. You can learn more about her here:

Explain to me why I need this item in my closet:

The Mary dress is the quintessential elegant cocktail dress. It is classic and timeless. Suitable for many occasions, this dress is the ultimate investment piece for any chic wardrobe.  The refined simplicity in the construction of the fitted bodice and double tiered peplum skirt, make this dress very easy to wear and to accessorize.

The Mary dress is made of a soft and textured silk shantung, granting an air of luxurious quality. It is also easy to travel with and is available in rich and vibrant colors including a punchy red, lavender and black.

For ladies who like to look polished with an added charm of flirtatious fun, The Mary Dress will always put a smile on your face and take you dancing until the dawn!

It looks a lot like another dress which I already have. Why is yours so much better?:

This dress is particularly special to me, as it was inspired by a dress that my grandmother, Mary Souris, made for my mother almost thirty years ago. Not only is this dress of extremely high quality in construction and design, The Mary Dress has a soul!

My grandmother, taught me how to sew and is one of my biggest inspirations. She has been designing and making exquisite dresses since she was ten years old. Now, at eighty-two, she is still designing and making dresses on the rare occasion. For Christmas last year in Sydney, my grandmother agreed to make me a dress to wear for New Year’s Eve. I wanted a red dress (as it’s good luck to wear red on New Year’s Eve), and I quickly sketched up a few ideas. Using her traditional methods learned from Technical Dress Making College in Australia, my grandmother took my measurements and together we brought the dress to life within a matter of days!

It’s definitely one of my favorite dresses and one that I will treasure always. Consequently, I adapted this dress and included it in my new collection. I love telling people the story behind it, as it gives so much more substance to the dress!

Perhaps you are a charlatan. What’s your background and qualifications?:

Haha!! Oh I’ve definitely done a few hard yards to get here, and I definitely have many more miles ahead!

I’m originally from Sydney, Australia, where I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Design at COFA (College of Fine Arts). Here, I majored in textile design and graphics. I’ve also studied at Central Saint Martins in London and at Parsons, The New School, here in New York, where I am based now.

I’ve interned for various creative companies both in Sydney and in New York. These include Sass and Bide, Eskimo, Hussy and Theory. I’ve also been lucky enough to have worked directly for some of the most luminous names in the Fashion industry, including Glenda Bailey, Editor in Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, USA and Ann Watson, formerly, Fashion Director and Vice President of Henri Bendel.

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and started my fashion label in 2001, where I began by selling my designs at the Bondi Beach markets in Sydney. From there, I was snapped up by buyers and stocked in various boutiques throughout Australia.

My fashion designs today continue along my initial concept of marrying a relaxed Sydney beach-chic vibe with the fast and vivacious energy of NYC.

I also love to paint! I exhibit my artwork with the Art Focus gallery in Sydney and New York. Often I translate my artworks into prints for my collections. My new collection also features digital prints on silks based from my artworks , which are really proving to be popular! I’m also developing my prints for textiles for the home and wallpapers.

I also love to keep my finger on the pulse by contributing articles to Zink magazine, in New York and

Will it look as good if I’m a size 14 as it will if I’m a size 2? Be honest.:

Yes! I can confidently say that this dress is suitable for women who have various body shapes. The full circle skirt is very flattering for many figures, and one can go out and order a big steak frites, without having to suck it in or suffocate! As Coco Chanel eloquently once said, “Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress”.

Will I have to live off Ramen noodles for a month to afford it?:

No. This dress is affordable. For any inquiries please contact:

Will my relatives in rural Iowa think I’m a freak if I show up to our family reunion in this?:

Absolutely not! One of my most stylish and elegant friends, Leslie Nielson is from Iowa, and she’s a huge fan of this dress and the collection!