MISHA NONOO AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR
In astrology, they say that age 29 is the year of the Saturn Return. If you believe in that sort of thing, the Saturn Return marks a specific era in your life—which happens every 30 years or so—that’s made for self-reflection. For those who take it to heart, 29 to 30 is a moment of transition when you finally, truly become a grown-up.
Misha Nonoo, who turns 30 at the end of this year, is most definitely experiencing her Saturn Return, whether she subscribes to the idea or not. When asked at a preview, she said she wasn’t particularly familiar with it. But she is most certainly familiar with the artist Tracey Emin, whose Fall 2014 show at London’s White Cube gallery was the starting point for Nonoo’s latest collection. Titled The Last Great Adventure Is You, the exhibition examined, in the simplest terms, Emin’s life as an artist. “As I’m approaching my 30s, there is an expectation, a pressure. It can be overwhelming,” Nonoo said. “The most important thing is to feel comfortable. You have to really know who you are.”
For Nonoo, that meant a Fall collection that felt authentic to who she is as a person and a designer. “It was a homecoming for me,” she said. She got her start making blazers, so it’s no surprise that the tailoring here was strong, including a crepe double-breasted minidress, a gray wool coatdress decorated on one side with the season’s signature squiggling print, and a belted jacket in navy brushed alpaca. White shirting, which has been a part of Nonoo’s story for several seasons now, was updated with elongated cuffs and back buttons. There was a youthful elegance to it all, from the tiered ribbon slipdress—worn over a sheer black turtleneck—to the school-uniform-inspired pinafore in navy herringbone. (Decoda, the string ensemble that played live at the runway show, was the right choice of music, too.)
Nonoo designs at the advanced contemporary price point, although her sensibility often feels more designer. This season in particular, though, the clothes looked more expensive than they are—especially the knits, most of which will be priced far under $500. One complaint: The single cable coming down the front of a sleeveless turtleneck sweater bulked out too much to be flattering. But all in all, the collection was impressive. These are pieces that Nonoo will wear with pride, and many others will, too. “You have to start with yourself,” she said. For this designer, that’s a smart philosophy.