The designer shares a laugh with a model during fittings. Credit: Natasha Jahangir
“I haven’t done laundry in two weeks, so I’m really reaching back into the archives now,” exclaims Misha Nonoo about her current look: an oversized white button-down with little gold sequined gym shorts from her Spring ’13 collection.
While this might sound like someone who doesn’t have a handle on the situation — Nonoo’s Spring ’15 fashion show is just five days away — there will be no all-nighters for her. The 28-year-old designer — one of the 10 up-and-coming brands inducted into the prestigious CFDA 2014-2016 Fashion Incubator program — has actually got things neatly put together (the outfit, by the way, is pretty chic, too).
In fact, there’s nothing but smiles and sweet “OMG, she’s so pretty” type chatter in her studio as models come in for casting during this countdown until the big day.
“As a team, we’ve become much more organized,” says the Bahrain-born, London-raised designer. “If I think back to this time last year, it was so down to the wire — everything was so stressful. And now, it’s just no longer as difficult.”
That’s impressive to hear, considering this season marks her most ambitious outing yet. A contemporary art buff, Nonoo collaborated with artist Dustin Yellin to integrate his three-dimensional sculptures onto her sleek short dresses and tailored jackets. She also teamed up with Aldo to create her first-ever line of shoes and handbags as part of the Aldo Rise program.
Yet the self-proclaimed punctuality freak is so on top of things that she has all the fabrics for pre-fall ’15 already ordered.
“It’s really about becoming more decisive,” she says. “As you become more and more clear about who your woman is, it becomes much easier to dress her every season.”
And it’s clear from the designer’s signature looks — soft tones and sheer panels mixed with menswear-inspired tailoring — that the Nonoo woman, while career-focused, isn’t afraid to embrace her femininity.
“There’s so many smart women out there, and there just aren’t so many smart clothes to wear,” says the designer, adding: “My woman’s on the go. And for her, it’s not so much about the trend, it’s about investing in pieces that are timeless.”
Kind of like that oversized white button-down from a few seasons ago.
Nonoo poses with one of Dustin Yellin's works of art. Credit: Shanita Sims
Art and fashion On collaborating with artist Dustin Yellin “For the past four of five seasons, I’ve been very much inspired by contemporary art,” says Nonoo. “My idea was to really integrate art and fashion. And to actually work alongside an artist in making sure that art was a primary component within the collection.” You can find Yellin’s prints on dresses and T-shirts in the spring line.
On collecting “We’re very serious about buying into things that have value,” says Nonoo, who is married to Alexander Gilkes, the co-founder of online auction site Paddle8. “So it’s not just an artist of the moment, but it’s really collecting things that will appreciate.”
Favorite art spots “I love going to Pace gallery, Gagosian and Dia: Beacon just outside the city,” she says.