Rainbow-licious, Skittles-coloured and a little bit cheeky – Mira Mikati’s spring/summer 2016 collection has our vote for the most Intagram-able clothes for this season. “For me, the biggest compliment is if I’m wearing something from my collection and someone smiles because of it,” says Mikati, inside her pop-up space in central London. “We have to be surrounded by happiness!”
While her cartoon-like, eye-catching graphics might mislead you to think of Mikati as a novelty designer, the intricate hand crochet and embroidery, as well as the sharply tailored outerwear will tell you otherwise. Now only in its second season, the brand has already secured fans in Beyoncé and Rihanna, and stocked in Nordstrom, Moda Operandi and Barneys.
Before the opening of her two-day pop-up on Hanover Street today, we caught up with the happy-go-lucky designer for a quick-fire round of Q&A.
Your spring/summer 2016 collection is all rainbows and cacti galore! What was the inspiration?
It’s based on a fantasy road trip starting from San Francisco, going to Santa Fe and Sedona, and then ending up in New York. I was envisioning a woman on this road trip,who buys souvenirs and clothes everywhere she goes. I collaborated with the artist KAWS [Brian Donnelly] for this collection, which was my dream come true – he did the graphics.
You often collaborate with artists. Who are your favourites?
I love Takashi Murakami, KAWS, Murakami’s student Mr., and Yoshimoto Nara. Their works are all playful and joyful, with positive messages and words.
Lots of Japanese artists in the mix! Which city would you love to live in?
Tokyo. For me, it’s like New York in ten years time. I love the attention to detail and the food is great – the sushi in particular.
Where do you go to for sushi in London then?
I love the funny phrases embroidered onto the spring/summer 2016 pieces. What is your favourite quote?
Never grow up. Growing up is a trap. Peter Pan is the other man in my life. One thing he says is never to put a boy to sleep because it means he is losing one day of his youth.
There’s a strong childhood theme running through your collections. What was your own childhood like?
Being from Lebanon, I had to escape from the war. But I never think of the bad days – just the happy ones. I guess thinking this way has its ups and downs but funnily enough, my brain forgets all the bad things. I can’t even watch the news – I’m sensitive and it affects me too much.
You founded the Beirut boutique Plum Concept and were a buyer before starting out in fashion design. Has this affected your approach to designing a fashion line?
Buying clothes for the boutique definitely made me wake up to what’s going on in the world of fashion and what people want to wear. But I feel the clothes I design are so different because I don’t really follow trends and it’s just about my mood. In London, I just feel when I’m on trains, everyone is in black and navy and looking sad.
Do you have any fashion pet peeves?
When everybody dresses the same. I’ll go to a party and it’s like people are wearing a uniform. Oh, I also don’t like when people wear hair clips in public! I find them really ugly. And really body-hugging skirts, even if the girl is well built.
Then what is your go-to party outfit?
A jumpsuit. You can wear a jumpsuit and go to a huge wedding or you can wear it during the day. I’d rather be underdressed than overdressed. You can never go wrong with a jumpsuit – it’s a safe bet.
You have children of your own. Any favourite TV shows you all watch as a family?
I watch Modern Family every night with the kids. I love Gloria, the fun girl!
What’s your spirit animal?
How do you feel about Beyoncé being a fan of your clothing?
I saw her on a road trip once, in a desert hotel in the middle of nowhere. I was so amazed. I wanted to thank her for wearing my coat but I didn’t say anything!
Who else would you love to dress?
Pharrell. I love his style – so experimental yet balanced.
Mira Mikati’s spring/summer 2016 collection pop-up is open today and tomorrow at 10 Hanover Street, W1S 1YF.
Interview by Jainnie Cho