Womenswear designer Misha Nonoo hasn’t missed a beat since launching her Nonoo collection of feminine coats and separates three and a half years ago. For Spring/Summer 2014, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist further explored the flirty skirts and dresses she has become known for, with a Mary Quant-meets-Studio 54 twist, slight Japanese influence, and a little help from contemporary art impresario Dustin Yellin. “This collection is about heritage and modernity—the idea of redefining familiar silhouettes with distinguishable details,” Nonoo says. “The look is either short, short, or long, long—all very youthful, summery, and carefree.”
We visited Nonoo at her CFDA Incubator studio in the heart of the garment district for an exclusive preview of her micro-minis, crop tops, and flowing trousers in pale mint, eggplant, and deep navy. A modern take on traditional Japanese obi belts suggests the idea of wrapping and unwrapping the female form; as Nonoo explains, “making it your own based on how you tie it. It’s about the individuality of the woman.” Other standouts include a Bianca Jagger-esque jumpsuit in ivory crêpe de chine, a navy nylon trench with a faint bombé back and subtle jet-colored Swarovski crystals, and an array of micro shift dresses in party-ready metallic bronze cotton knit and painterly prints derived from Dustin Yellin’s “Psychogeography” series of micro-collages, inlayed with glass and acrylic.
“There’s a great 3-D quality to his work,” notes Nonoo. “The many layers and details lend themselves to the clean silhouettes. It’s the perfect partnership.”
At the sprawling Red Hook studio where Yellin produces his oversize sculptures, the artist and Nonoo decided to play “Freaky Friday” and switch outfits. Yellin wore a shrunken kimono of double georgette with plenty of décolletage from the new collection (and purposely mismatched socks, a Yellin signature). Though Nonoo gamely wore the artist’s Rodriguez t-shirt, her cotton mini-skirt printed with a side-view detail of Yellin’s sculpture remained front and center.
“Femininity shouldn’t be masked. I shouldn’t have to dress like a boy to feel powerful!” Nonoo exclaims. “I embrace being a strong, smart woman.” Asked if wearing a dress was act of feminism, Yellin replies, “If skirts and dresses give men room to breathe down there,” he said gesturing south, then tapping his head, “maybe it can give us room to breathe up here.”
THE SPRING/SUMMER 2015 COLLECTION OF NONOO WILL SHOW ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5.