fashion envy

Closet Pique :: Maria Orozova of The Mod Studio and Fab is the New Black

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Photo by Jessica Pages
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Photo by Jessica Pages
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Photo by Jessica Pages
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Photo by Jessica Pages
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Photo by Jessica Pages
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Photo by Jessica Pages
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Photo by Jessica Pages
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Photo by Jessica Pages
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Photo by Jessica Pages
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Photo by Jessica Pages

Maria's tenacity and enviable composure have yielded a great deal of success at a relatively young age. But don't tell her that. "My pet peeve is when someone says: 'For your age, you've done x, y, or z.' I don't look at myself as an age. I'm doing what I think I can do."

And what she's done is a lot: Born in Bulgaria under communist rule, Orozova moved to the United States at 12-years-old, speaking absolutely no English. Her parents, both engineers, taught her and her sister that if they expected to succeed, they'd have to work hard, much like their effort to move their girls to a country of greater opportunity.

After living in Florida and Mississippi, Maria made her way to Austin where she ultimately started her own graphic design business, The Mod Studio, by the age of 25-year-old.

Along the journey, Orozova, now 30, developed a strong sense of self, both internally and externally speaking. Most recently having launched Fab is the New Black, she matches her business acumen with elegant style.

Take one look around the home Orozova shares with her husband, Scott, and you'll see she ascribes to the "investment" theory when it comes to fashion: Spend a lot a few times for key pieces that will last years.

The Robert Rodriguez dress (left) was one that Orozova picked up "because I realized people wouldn't wear it based on the hanger."

She explains she seeks out items that are hard to visualize off the rack because fewer people will put in the effort to try them on — ultimately meaning fewer people will own them.


Prettily displayed on a white vanity, the jewelry box and mirror set came from Orozova's employees at the Mod Studio. 

"I always say that I like to go to thrift stores, but I never do! I never find myself there," she laughs. 

"My employees are really awesome and got me this vintage box and mirror along with a vintage Glamour magazine from 1967 for Christmas."


Orozova has a hefty collection of rings, from fun baubles to significant statements. 

Included in her collection are rings from Austin-based Limbo Jewelry (far left), a ring for her 30th birthday (third from left), and her husband's grandmother's ring (third from right).

"The most that I would ever wear is my watch and my [wedding] ring and one ring, necklace or earrings. I do take things off as i walk out the door," she says in reference to Coco Chanel's famous quote: "When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on."


"These two pieces were the first two pieces I splurged on," she says of the cream Dolce & Gabbana coat, picked up in Italy, and the lamb skin Chloe bag (left).

For her wedding day, Orozova bought herself the same cobalt blue Manolo Blahniks Carrie Bradshaw wore in Sex and the City movie for her own wedding (right).

The pom-pom on the shoe nestled against the vibrant heel is a clip on accessory by the company Bandeau.


Coming in a close second to her shoe collection is Orozova's collection of chic statement sunglasses. 

Among her favorites is the Dior Extreme Cat's Eye, another item that seemed over the top at first glance, but just right after she tried it on.



Where does Orozova find the inspiration to put her best foot forward every day, especially in a town as laid back as Austin? 

"In Bulgaria, just like in the rest of Europe, you would dress up. It wouldn't matter if it was cold, my mom would put on her panty hose, polish her boots, put on her nail polish and lipstick. I definitely picked that up from my mom," she says.

Moreover, "My grandmother was a seamstress and my grandfather worked for the Bulgarian theater, so he created all of the costumes. I saw all of the possibilities of the different fabrics and everything that could done."


When Orozova met her husband, her world quite literally opened up. 

"Even though I'm from Europe, we weren't allowed to travel outside of Bulgaria," she explains of the strict communist rules she grew up within.

On her dresser she keeps a photo of the two's wedding (he proposed in Africa) as well as a watercolor painting from Egypt.


Because she went to school in Mississippi, Orozova often found herself in New Orleans, a city she calls "a second home."

Her favorite art gallery in the French Quarter is that of Todd White, and she finally bought her first painting a year ago.

"It's called 'Girl Party Reunion,' and I love it because it's so exaggerated, but I have a friend that fits every one of those girls. A good friend."


Similar to how she assesses a fashion piece, she and her husband chose their 1921 bungalow because of the potential they saw in its unique details.

"We wanted to keep it traditional with eclectic elements, like Restoration Hardware meets Z Gallery," she says. "I modify a lot of things."

And owing to that discerning eye and strong since of conviction, she's created a very warm home with pops of color and intrigue throughout, just like her enviable wardrobe.