Meghan Markle’s designer pal Misha Nonoo – the woman believed to have set the former actress up on her first date with Prince Harry – has opened up about her own wedding plans, as she prepares to head down the aisle in a matter of months.
The sustainability-focused 31-year-old, whose clothes have been worn umpteen times by her close friend Meghan, is currently designing her own wedding dress for her upcoming nuptials to energy entrepreneur Mikey Hess – a process that she admits has been incredibly ‘stressful’ and ‘challenging’.
‘When you’re doing a couture piece, it’s extremely difficult,’ Misha told DailyMail.com. ‘I think so much about my collection as pieces that are going to work on so many women. But when you think about one piece that’s going to be worn by one person for one night, you have endless options of what you can do and I find that quite hard, having no parameters whatsoever.’
Designer: Misha Nonoo, 31, said she has no plans to design a bridal line in the future, despite currently creating her own wedding gown for upcoming nuptials
Out and about: As Meghan jetted into New York for the US Open, it was thought she may be staying with her close friend Misha, pictured strolling through SoHo on Monday
Saying yes to the dress: Misha, pictured with fiance Mikey Hess, said that designing her own wedding gown has been a ‘lengthy’ but special process
The Bahrain-born, London-raised designer has been engaged to the entrepreneur since February 2019.
Misha, who spoke to DailyMail.com at her new SoHo pop-up in New York City, added that crafting her own gown for the big day has been an ‘interesting process’ – and worlds apart from her day-to-day duties as a womenswear designer who creates pieces that her clients can wear every day in rotation.
‘I think about the length, the fabrication, I think about the durability and all these different things that will work on every woman.’
In contrast, she’s aware that designing a unique dress for her big day requires a different approach.
‘It’s been a very interesting process. Designing a couture piece is lengthy but there’s also something extremely special about the idea of something that you’ll treasure and keep forever,’ she added.
My dress is very minimal but more traditional… Hopefully people like it!
‘It’s been challenging because lots of people weigh in and they’re like, “Well you have great shoulders, why don’t you show them off,” but also, “Oh wouldn’t you look beautiful with a long sleeve,”’ she said.
Misha, who leans towards pared-back and toned-down silhouettes in muted colors, said that the dress has ended up far more traditional than what she initially visualized.
‘It’s still very minimal but more traditional,’ she teased. ‘Hopefully people like it! It’s not just [about] pleasing yourself. When I get dressed every morning, I please myself. I encourage other women to do the same; to look good for themselves so they can go about their daily life.’
‘But with a wedding dress you’re hoping, obviously, you want your husband-to-be to think you look beautiful but you also want your family and his family to think you look great too.’
Despite the fact that numerous women wear her white pleated-leg crepe jumpsuit to say ‘I Do’ – and it has also been sported by Irina Shayk, Emma Watson and Bella Hadid – Misha said she has no plans to ever expand into designing wedding dresses.
When asked if creating a range for other minimally leaning brides would ever be on the agenda for her eponymous label, Misha laughed and said that it’s a firm no.
‘It’s very stressful. It’s not something I ever wanted to get into, but I always knew I would design my own dress,’ she clarified.
Wedding ready: Misha, pictured with oil heir and entrepreneur Mikey at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, is currently designing the gown for her own nuptials
Besties: Meghan Markle, pictured, is an avid supporter of Misha’s designs – even enlisting the designer to collaborate on her upcoming project for the Smart Works charity
However, pursuing a maternity wear collection in the future is an avenue she may consider.
‘Maybe. Never say never,’ Misha said. ‘Obviously I don’t really know what maternity would be like yet, but I’m fascinated by what is out there now and how women don’t really want to invest in that part of their wardrobe because it’s for such a short period of time that they wear those clothes for.’
‘But if you don’t want to have fast fashion, if you want something that’s better quality or sustainable, then how are you dressing?’
‘So I wouldn’t say no to that, it would just depend on the experience that I have personally as so much of the collection does.’
Glimpse: Meghan teased the release of the Smart Works collection, which Misha helped design, in behind-the-scenes snaps
While Misha has spent the last ‘several months’ working on her wedding gown, she has simultaneously collaborated on the designs for Meghan’s clothing collection for the initiative Smart Works.
The Duchess of Sussex, 38, is expected to unveil the range which supports the charity’s efforts to help disadvantaged and unemployed women get interview-ready later this week.
For now, details of the project remain under strict embargo.
The duo have been close friends since meeting at an event several years previously, and Meghan notably joined Misha at a November 2015 CFDA event in a metallic dress by the designer – one that instantly sold out.
For her first public appearance with Prince Harry in September 2017, Meghan also donned the best-selling white ‘the Husband’ shirt, $185, by Misha’s label.
In an self-penned article for her guest-edited September issue of British Vogue, Meghan revealed that she reached out to Misha to collaborate on a capsule collection that offered classic workwear options for women, including blouses, trousers, blazers, dresses and bags.
While Misha previously showed as part of the traditional New York Fashion Week show schedule, her commitment to sustainability has seen her redefine her approach.
Misha designs her wares based on her logic: a capsule wardrobe comprised of no-fuss, quality staples that can be worn cohesively: ‘My own needs,’ as she puts it.
Best seller: For her first public appearance with Harry, Meghan wore a classic white shirt by Misha’s eponymous label
Jumpsuit: Designer Misha, left, is joined by model Bella Hadid, wearing the Magdalena jumpsuit, at the 2015 CFDA Awards
In 2015, she made the then-groundbreaking decision to unveil her Spring Summer 2016 collection via Instagram, uploading look book-style videos to an account set up specifically for the show.
‘People were a little shy around whether they or not they would endorse it,’ she said of the move to showcase solely through social media.
‘Industry people weren’t really sure if they agreed with not doing a New York Fashion Week show, but then after they saw how successful it was in terms of impressions, shares and visibility that we gained. I think it’s become a tactic that people have employed more and more.’
Sustainable: Eco-conscious fashion fan Emma Watson has also worn Misha’s Magdalena jumpsuit – as have many brides
At the time, the clothes were also photographed on Instagram’s head of fashion Eva Chen and Audrey Gelman, founder of The Wing.
Misha notably chooses to work with a certain collective of women who are accomplished in their own fields, rather than traditional influencer marketing and utilizing social media stars.
Recently featured personalities on the brand’s Instagram include Claire Wasserman, the founder of the Ladies Get Paid network, fashion editor and Milk Makeup co-founder Zanna Roberts Rassi and Pocket Sun, founding partner of a female-led millennial venture capital firm.
‘We like to work with people who are in my mind, substantive, and thinking about things in the same way that we think about things,’ she agreed.
‘With the women that we showcase on our Instagram account, maybe they’ve less than 5,000 followers – maybe they don’t even have Instagram, it’s not about that – it’s about what they’re doing, and that we appreciate it and we want to highlight it and showcase it.’
The white walls of Misha Nonoo’s New York pop-up in SoHo, which is open until the end of the year, feature motivational slogans like ‘A girl’s favorite position is CEO’ and ‘Know your worth, then add tax’.
Helping to fill out the 2,300-square-foot space are products from other women-owned brands The Laundress, Sarah Flint, Bee & Kin and Negative Underwear.
From its inception in 2011, female empowerment is central to everything Misha’s brand stands for.
‘I honestly think it comes from growing up in the Middle East and seeing the way that women dress so differently there,’ Misha said.
Baby shower: Misha was pictured attending pal Meghan’s New York baby shower at The Mark Hotel earlier this year during a snowy blizzard
Vacay: Before Meghan deleted her personal account, there were plenty of photos of her enjoying quality time with Misha, right, such as this photo from a vacation to Spain
‘A lot of women covered up, their male counterparts didn’t have to have any particular uniform like they did. I didn’t look at it like that then, but now I look at it and think it influenced me from a very young age, thinking about how women appeared, wanting to empower women. I think it should just always be a woman’s choice how she looks.’
While she’s grateful for her celebrity fans (Meghan helped put ‘the Husband’ shirt on the map after all, and influential women like Gwyneth Paltrow to Sarah Jessica Parker have given her clothes the nod of approval), Misha said that she gets the most enjoyment out of randomly seeing a stylish woman on the street wearing her designs.
‘I think that anyone that endorses our values on their platforms is obviously really meaningful,’ she said.
‘The thing about celebrities that’s great is that they have a platform and they can share your values and that’s exciting, allowing you to reach a greater audience. But the woman in the street, the woman that has bought and paid for the clothes when you don’t know her… that means what you’re doing is working.’
‘I really get such a kick out seeing a woman in the street that I don’t know [in my designs] and it happens all the time. I feel so blessed.’
‘I have such imposter syndrome that I’ll be looking at someone, in what is clearly my piece of clothing, but I will gasp and say, ‘Is she wearing a knock off of my clothing? Is it somebody else’s?!’ And that is really exciting because I don’t know this person, but that’s really meaningful.’
While she used to, quite literally, chase women to excitedly tell them that she was the designer responsible for their garment, she’s had to reevaluate that approach.
‘I got a few weird reactions when I did it! I once chased a woman down the street saying, ‘You’re wearing my skirt!’
‘I normally get a better reception when I’ve got Thatcher [my dog] with me so I don’t look so insane. I don’t do it as much, it hasn’t been so well received,’ she laughed.
Misha Nonoo’s New York pop-up store is open until the end of the year at 130 Greene Street, SoHo