Maria was born in Beijing, the capital of China. Her mother was a native aristocrat. Her father was an accomplished scholar with multiple areas of interest. The cultural background and erudition of her family members served to ignite the imaginative faculties of Maria’s impressionable childhood years. She became enraptured with the lore of ancient cultures. Maria had no training in the technical skills of pattern making and clothing construction. Her method of approach relied on both impulse of the moment and the serendipitous inspiration as the work progressed. She draped fabric directly on the body, sometimes using herself as the model. This technique followed the lead of Poiret who too had created garments by manipulating and draping. The results appeared uncontrived and wearable. Finally Maria founded her own label HVTEHINE at the age of 26.