Misha Nonoo, Designer


"Tonight, I'm throwing a dinner party. I throw lots of them, actually. The whole process is kind of like chemistry, because you need to be aware of who you invite, which people will get along with each other, so you can get them to mingle. The first thing I do is light lots of candles—Byredo and Le Labo help set a certain ambience. Then I start cooking hours ahead of time because I love it, it’s like my 'me' time. I’ll often end up cooking for more than 12 hours and make sure we’re stocked with everything from gin and tequila and vodka for cocktails. I’ll usually have a tequila soda, but in the springtime, I especially love an Aperol spritz. I’ve always got options for everyone, though.

Before I designed, shopping was always about finding a piece that made me feel special but didn’t overwhelm. I think I was about 25 when I decided to start my own line. I had actually gone to business school, and I started designing as kind of a happy accident. I’d reached a point as a woman where I knew I wanted what I wore to feel like it was more about me and less about the pieces themselves, because I no longer felt like I needed to rely on those statement pieces that become a talking point in conversations. My collection reflects that––it’s more about the woman and less about the clothes, because it still shows the individual’s personality. I love a jumpsuit––it’s something that’s so easy to wear, comfortable and yet so sexy, which is great for going out. You really feel like yourself.

I like to put music on before I go out. I have this party playlist that really gets me in the mood. [Laughs] It’s like ‘70s French rock 'n' roll. And I like starting fresh, so I always shower and wash my face, even if I'd showered earlier in the day. My favorite facial cleanser is the white Erno Laszlo Bar because it doesn’t dry out my skin and it’s very gentle, which is great since I have really sensitive skin. Then I’ll do a face oil, an eye cream, and this Sonya Dakar Stem Cell Transformer on my face and neck. I’m lucky in that my skin responds well when I’m taking care of it. For my body, I love this brand called Marfa Soaps from Marfa, Texas. It’s ridiculous how good they smell.

Somehow, I always have suitcases under my eyes, so I use the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer to cover them up. Then, depending on the time of year, I’ll use either the Nars Copacabana or the MAC Strobe Cream on my cheekbones, my temples and under my brow bone. The Nars one is for the warmer months when I have more of a tan. And I love Charlotte Tilbury’s mascara––it’s really light and it feels like you have nothing on your eyes. I don’t like when mascara feels like it’s weighing down your lids. I don’t use it in black, actually, but in kind of a purple-y taupe color because I think it helps to bring out the green in my eyes. Then I’ll use a Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner in Chocolate Shimmer to line my lid, with a bit of powder on top to keep it in place. For lips, I love Nars' Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Mysterious Red. It’s a really good shade of red that you don’t need to blend with anything else, and it just works with my skin tone. In the past, I’ve never really strayed from a red lip, but recently I’ve been doing a full-on, deep berry color. It feels kind of ‘90s and that’s really different for me––a bit moodier. A lipstick can really transform you, and I’m all about that kind of efficiency.

I’ve been wearing the same blend of three Jo Malone fragrances since I was seventeen. I don’t even know the names at this point, but I just smudge three of them together to get an end result that’s really subtle. Depending on my mood I’ll sometimes layer one a bit more than another. In an ideal word, I’ve got a good 20 minutes to get ready––I’ll sit on my phone or answer emails up until the very last minute. [Laughs] If people aren’t coming over we might go to Casablanca, but honestly…my place is the best place."

—as told to ITG

Misha Nonoo photographed by Tom Newton at her home in New York on February 3, 2017.