Monday, December 20, 2010

Meet Misha Nonoo

How one Bahrain-born New York-based designer is transforming a wardrobe staple into a coveted item

Fashion week can be a daunting experience for any upstart designer. Standing out is no easy task amongst dozens of labels and countless shows, vying for the attention of editors and buyers alike. Yet one of the most memorable collections of the Spring 2011 New York season took place at Celadon & Celery, a Midtown flower shop not known for hosting fashion presentations. Deciding to re-launch her label in economically challenging times, pushed Misha Nonoo to come up with innovative ways to promote her line. “I literally wanted buyers and the press to take a break from the hectic Fashion Week schedule and smell the roses,” confided the designer.

For the last two seasons Misha was better known as the other half of cult label Nonoo-Lyons, which she designed together with close friend Deborah Lyons. Their Fall/Winter 2009 collection landed them a mention in W Magazine as one of the years’ break-out designers.

Since launching her label, Misha has built her following around one particular item of clothing: The Jacket. The Spring 2011 season marked Nonoo’s solo début, for which she presented thirteen artfully tailored jackets made from the finest silks, tweeds, Irish linens and washed leather. “I have always been an advocate of the jacket as an important staple of every woman’s wardrobe. I want to continue designing with the same aesthetic and attention to craftsmanship in mind,” explained the designer who cut her teeth at some of Paris’ most notable house’ before landing in New York. The result, are perfectly fitted jackets that come with unique hand crafted details.

“It’s important to have a balance between craftsmanship and innovation. I think there is a new generation of women who crave wardrobe staples that come with a twist,” explained Nonoo, who spent her childhood growing up between London and Bahrain. The exotic sites of Manama’s old souk and the hip street styles of London have inevitably shaped Misha’s design sensibilities.

Surprisingly, Nonoo’s personal style is fairly consistent in a business where designers are constantly reinventing themselves each season. “Having a well edited wardrobe makes life much easier when one is constantly on the go. I have an eclectic mix of separates that I live in and top off with my jackets or coats,” explained the jet setting designer who will present her Fall collection in New York this coming February.

Working out of her West Village studio, Nonoo’s entire collection is produced in the heart of New York’s garment district. Cut from luxurious French and Italian fabrics, her pieces are often finished with interesting details, such as a gray wool cashmere cape embellished with hand-made metal “staples,” crafted in a Brooklyn atelier.

Already a favorite amongst editors, her line has been picked up by fashion forward retailers such as Browns in London and the Art of Living store in Riyadh.

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