You might not know her name, but Misha Nonoo could be responsible, if the rumours are to be believed, for one of the most famous courtships of the modern age - the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. What’s undisputed is that the 33 year-old had a hand in the now-iconic image of the couple’s first official appearance at the Invictus Games in Toronto. She designed the (now prophetically-named) ‘Husband’ shirt that Meghan was wearing.
Nonoo's supremely well-connected, sitting in that sweet spot where the celebrity and society worlds intersect. Gwyneth Paltrow, Irina Shayk, Emma Watson and Alessandra Ambrosio have all graced the red carpet in her eveningwear. She also partied with Karlie Kloss at this year's Met Gala, and once holidayed with Princess Beatrice in Jordan.
Now, she’s poised to launch a month-long pop-up on Marylebone Lane from June 1, which will soon be followed by her first bricks-and-mortar store in New York, where she lives with her fiancé, Michael Hess, and her dog, Thatcher.
But why London instead of the Big Apple? Perhaps Thatcher gives the game away, but Nonoo is British. Her mother’s English, her father’s Iraqi and she went to secondary school in Surrey, of all places. Her accent, despite 10 years in New York, is impressively cut-glass. ‘It’s a bit of an affront, isn’t it?’ she laughs down the phone from her adopted country.
‘I go back to London every eight weeks or so and feel deeply connected to it,’ she says, adding, ‘I always bring back loads of Jammie Dodgers, Hobnobs and Digestive Thins.’ She also prefers M&S and Waitrose to Wholefoods, and would take Boots - ‘There’s nothing like a Boots’ - over CVS or Walgreens any day.
Back to the pop-up. What shoppers will find are the kind of minimal clothes that form, what Nonoo calls, a ‘foundational’ wardrobe. ‘Every woman, irrespective of their age or what sector they work in, has the same pain points in her day. It’s always about trying to squeeze so much in and not being able to get through it all,’ she says. Her solution is Easy 8, her capsule of the most hard-working pieces in a woman’s wardrobe, with prices starting from £65, that include the sleeveless ‘Flirt’ shirt, the black ‘Prose’ skirt and, of course, the ‘Husband’ shirt. The source of the latter’s popularity might be off-topic - ‘It’s certainly one of our most popular pieces,’ Nonoo says - but if you’re looking for smart workwear that isn’t a snooze, all eight are must-buys.
‘It feels like a home crowd,’ says Misha of the Marylebone Lane location. ‘As many years as I’ve lived in New York, I still feel like I’m a foreigner sometimes. It’s a very different culture.’
Her wardrobe might be print-free and purist, but what about her wedding dress? Will it be very ‘her’? ‘It’s so funny you should say that. I actually have no idea. The most important thing is that you start with your neckline and also what your skirt is going to look like, whether it’s going to be straight or full.’ As opposed to her collections, which factor in the needs of all kinds of women and have to pass a stringent 10-point test before being put into production, this dress is just for her. ‘That’s probably why I haven’t decided yet!’ she laughs, ‘I’ve got so many options!’ Maybe she’ll find time to drop by Frogmore Cottage for some pre-wedding advice next month...