The Stylish, Transatlantic Life of Misha Nonoo

By Christine Ajudua  •  April 30, 2019


Between her monthly pond-hopping habit and her high-profile clients and friends (who could forget when a certain Meghan wore a certain Husband Shirt before a certain royal engagement?), Misha Nonoo is clearly on the move. So it’s only natural that the Bahrain-born, London-raised, Paris-educated New Yorker would design clothing to go with her. “I needed clothes that I could wear on a red-eye flight from New York to go straight into a morning meeting in London if necessary,” she says. To wit: Her popular “Create Your 8” kits feature eight staple pieces that can be mixed and matched into 22 different outfits while leaving plenty of room in your carry-on.

And they’re designed to last. “I strongly believe that sustainability is no longer just a way for designers to differentiate themselves from the mass market—it’s become a necessity,” says Nonoo, who eschews both Fashion Week (“it’s incredibly wasteful”) and inventory (“more often than not, this ends up in landfill”). Instead, as one of the first designers to show her collections exclusively via social media—“I wanted to be able to deliver my products to my customers when I debuted them, not six months afterwards,” she says—with each order created on demand by a female-run factory in China, she’s quietly changing the fashion game, aiming to empower women while “offering slow fashion fast.”

Here, the ethical, chic, and well-traveled Nonoo responds to our Rosewood Questionnaire. Read on for her transatlantic address book, too.

Misha Nonoo’s Rosewood Questionnaire

Who’s your ideal travel companion, real-life or fictional?

My dog, Thatcher.

Tell us about a time you were completely lost.

The first time I visited Beijing—the most beautiful place to be lost though. I got on the subway because I always think the best way to see a city is on foot. Only when I was down on the train platform did I realize that there were no signs in English and no other tourists or English speakers to ask for directions. I decided to stick with the plan and ended up getting truly lost. But I emerged feeling like a local after a few wrong turns and missed stops!

What’s the one thing you never travel without?

My Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Mask. It’s a life-saver for jet-lagged skin! I’m also obsessed with my Away suitcase.

What’s the one place in the world on the top of your wish list?

I’m dying to go to New Zealand to see all its natural beauty in person.

What’s a place that you’re ashamed to admit you haven’t been?

Israel. I’m Jewish and a big history buff, so I’ve been longing to go.

If you could only visit one destination for the remainder of your life, what would it be?

London. But I would miss the beach!

What’s a place that’s touristy but worth it?

Washington Square Park in New York City. Even though it’s always packed with people, it’s my favorite place to take Thatcher for a walk and there’s always something interesting going on.

Do you have a favorite museum?

Probably Tate Modern in London.

Where was your very first trip, and how old were you?

I actually grew up in Bahrain and lived there for the first 10 years of my life, spending time in the British countryside in the summers. It was fascinating, and definitely gave me the travel bug from an early age.

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive in a new destination?

Freshen up, then head out to find a great place for local food.

“The best adventures are the ones that happen unplanned.”

 

What’s the first thing you do when you return home from a trip?

Give my dog a cuddle. She’s always so excited to see me; it’s the best welcome home.

Are you a travel planner or an ad libber?

Depends on my mood. I’m a meticulous planner when it comes to the traveling and hotel, but once I’m in a new place I love just exploring and seeing where you end up.

What has been your most embarrassing travel faux pas?

In the days before I’d designed the “Create Your 8” kit I used to be a serious over-packer. I used to be that person with a huge suitcase on a short weekend.

Has a destination ever inspired your work?

All the time! More than anything, the classic elegance and unparalleled skill of English tailoring has had a big influence on my designs.

If you came back to life as another city, what city would you be?

Venice—a combination of chic and traditional.

What is your greatest travel extravagance?

Our cashmere sweaters are the coziest companions for a long-haul flight.

Where’s the one fictional place you wish you could visit?

The Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz.

Sum up your travel philosophy in one word.

Curious.

What do you like most about traveling?

Getting out of my comfort zone and broadening my horizons. It’s one of the greatest luxuries in life.

Misha Nonoo’s London

 

“I’m rarely in London long enough for a day of shopping, but if I’m in the area and get a spare moment, Marylebone High Street is my go-to. It has some beautiful stores”—see the travel-inspired Daunt Books (dauntbooks.co.uk) among them—“and [the organic, farm-to-table] Daylesford (daylesford.com) is around the corner to top it off with a cup of tea.

“Nothing beats a walk in Regent’s Park—the rose garden is my favorite place—even if the weather’s cold. In the summer, a picnic is always fun, but be prepared for the world and his wife to be there too.” royalparks.org.uk

“It’s always a treat if I get to go to the River Café for lunch,” Nonoo says of the famed Italian restaurant by the Thames. “The food is delicious, the service impeccable, and the interiors gorgeous.rivercafe.co.uk

“I love going to Kettner’s Townhouse with friends before dinner. The atmosphere in their Champagne Bar is so much fun, especially later on in the evening when there’s a live pianist and lots of awful singing!” kettnerstownhouse.com

“I always try and sneak in a visit to the Tate Modern to see the latest exhibitions.” Currently on display: a retrospective of Austria’s late, great Franz West (see large-scale, interactive papier-mâché sculptures) plus text-based installations by American artist Jenny Holzer. tate.org.uk

Where to Stay in London

Misha Nonoo’s New York

 

I start every day by meditating for at least 10 minutes. It makes a world of difference. Whenever I’m looking to expand my practice or experiment with new methods, I head to MNDFL. The Greenwich Village location is just around the corner from my home, and they do amazing sound bath sessions.mndflmeditation.com

“Having gone to university in Paris, I adore eating at Lucien—it’s such an authentic rendition of a French bistro, tucked away in the East Village. Their steak frites is delicious.luciennyc.com

Whenever I’m craving a quintessentially New York experience, I love going to Minetta Tavern for a cocktail. The walls are covered in caricatures and remind you of all the incredible talent NYC has fostered over the years!minettatavernny.com

Russ & Daughters is famous for their shop on East Houston Street, where they sell the most delicious smoked salmon and freshly baked bagels. I also love their café on Orchard Street.russanddaughters.com

For a modern art lover like myself, the Whitney Museum is the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon. They They [just had] an incredible Warhol exhibition.” Up next? The Whitney Biennial (May 17 – Sept. 22)—the country’s longest running exhibition highlighting the latest in contemporary American art. whitney.org

Where to Stay in New York

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Uncover our musings on travel, art, fashion, and culture from the legendary personalities who embody the spirit of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.