MANHATTAN - A Long Island designer is making it big on the runway.
With every sketch and every stitch, Cristina Ottaviano's passion for fashion is bursting at the seams.
At just 28 years old Ottaviano, who grew up in Brookville, has a label to call of her own.
"The whole process is exciting, very gratifying, being creative, being an artist, being able to create something you think is beautiful," says Ottaviano.
Her one-of-a-kind dresses have caught the eyes of celebrities, including Hollywood actress Danielle Panabaker to swimsuit model Daniela Lopez. Actress Constance Wu, from the comedy series "Fresh Off the Boat," also wore a dress that Ottaviano designed and hand-painted.
Growing up on Long Island, Ottaviano would get inspiration for her designs from places in her community such as the Planting Fields Arboretum in Brookville. But it's in her West Village studio in New York City that her dresses come to life.
Before celebrities were dressed in her timeless pieces, the Brookville native grew up simply making dresses for her Barbie dolls. Ottaviano says it was her Spanish-born great grandmother who sparked her love for fashion.
She designed her very first dress while attending the Fashion Institute of Technology. She did apprenticeships with world-renowned designers like the late Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs. Later, she joined the design team at Marchesa.
In 2014, when she was just 26 years old, she created her own line.
"Being a businesswoman is also challenging in Manhattan, where it's very competitive," says Ottaviano.
It takes Ottaviano and her team up to a month to design and create just one evening gown. But, she says that it is the label that means the most.
"You almost get emotional because it's a reflection of me as an artist," she says.
Some of her evening gowns can be found at Jimmy's in Westhampton. Prices for her dresses start around $2,000.