Across from me were Miraslava Duma and Sofia Sanchez de Betak typing away frantically on their phones. I took my place, and shortly after so did she - a lady with hella cool surfer chick vibes, and a warm smiling face framed by soft beachy balayage curls, and notoriously known for making arguably some of the happiest clothes in the world.
We exchanged introductions, business cards, Instagram handles, and just like that the show began - Pierpaolo Piccioli’s first solo collection at Valentino without Maria Grazia Chiuri. The collection was great, and I walked away with a new, wonderful friend.
This past season, Mira joined me to mark the launch of my capsule collection with Tbilisi based label NDUO. We invited our nearest and dearest for an intimate dinner at Caviar Kaspia, and that’s when we really got to know each other better. Dressed in a head to toe glorious blue sequin jumpsuit, I couldn’t help but keep thinking to myself how COOL this woman was. Store owner, and founder of her own whimsical namesake label, Mira Mikati truly is a walking, talking example of a person you’d imagine to star in your favorite childhood fantasy novel (or movie).
So here you have it, probably one of my favorite “digs” to date, the delightful Mira Mikati.
AB: Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
MM: I was born in Beirut and moved to Paris at the age of six where I grew up and completed my studies.
AB: How was your childhood?
MM: Happy, despite the war at the time. My parents always surrounded us with so much love that despite moving schools and countries and having to make new friends, the move to Paris was smooth, and my love for change and the new city was unconditional.
AB: Earliest fashion memory?
MM: My mom’s friend was a knitwear designer based in Rome, and at 6 years of age, I remember her giving my mom some sweaters. I was very curious to understand how this lady made a sweater from scratch. My mom explained how it was done, and since that day it was clear what I wanted to be when I grew older.
AB: Childhood heroes/ dream?
MM: Peter Pan. I was madly in love with him, and would dream that he would kidnap me in the middle of the night for a trip to Neverland, but of course bring back home right before the sun would rise.
AB: When did you know you wanted to become a designer?
MM: When I was 6 after meeting the knitwear designer. I still have drawings from when I was a child which say, “When I grow up, I will be a fashion designer.”
AB: How did you start that journey?
MM: When I was in Paris, and still at school, I took evening classes at a particular fashion school, and Saturday classes at another one. It was determination I guess. I was 15 at the time, and was juggling between school and fashion. I found a way to make it work.
AB: What’s your usual day to day routine like?
MM: I usually wake up at 6:30am, and have a matcha latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Then I go boxing or running which is very important for me as it balances my mind and helps me to avoid getting stressed. After my morning exercise, I head home, have breakfast with my kids, and take the youngest to school. That’s when my workday begins. I usually answer my emails from home because once I hit the studio I find it impossible to find a peaceful moment to do so. I usually try to be back home by 7pm at the latest in order to catch up with my kids and husband. Family time is important to me.
AB: Favorite color?
AB: Favorite food?
MM: Chocolate and candy.
AB: Pet peeves?
MM: When you can hear someone eating crisps or cereals.
AB: Lol. That’s funny.
AB: How did your brand come to be?
MM: I was invited to design a capsule collection for Parisian label Façonnable in 2012. After the collection turned out to be a sellout success I started the journey of creating my own independent brand.
AB: Tell us a little bit about your design process?
When I get an idea or am inspired by something, I will look for sources or ways to further develop those ideas into a proper collection. It always changes from start to finish, but somehow I always manage to stick to that original idea of theme that popped into my mind at the start of it all.
AB: What’s the toughest part about being a designer?
MM: As a designer you put out what is personal to you, they are your thoughts, ideas, and inspirations. It is scary to put yourself out there in that way as you always hope people will love what you create, which may not always be the case.
AB: Some of your favorite pieces you’ve ever designed?
MM: The Darcel and the Kaws bomber + the ‘Smile’ coat that Beyonce wore.
AB: You also own a very cool concept store in Beirut, how do you juggle the hats of a retailer and designer?
MM: It’s definitely a bit chaotic to juggle both, especially during Paris Fashion Week. I have to balance between the presentation of my own collection as well as attending other shows as a buyer for Plum. When PFW is over however, it does ease up a bit. With buying, I am lucky as its very quick for me. I know what I like and what I don’t like, and can make up my mind quite easily which helps with moving things along faster. I fly to Beirut about every 6 weeks to see how things are at Plum.
AB: Which do you prefer?
MM: As much as I love buying for Plum, I have to say I prefer being a designer. Its where I can express myself the most and bring some fun and light into the world.
AB: Who is the Mira Mikati woman?
MM: The Mira Makati woman is a super busy woman who balances family, work and travel. Despite this, she still knows how to have fun, is free spirited and not afraid to be herself. She doesn’t take herself too seriously, and wants to enjoy life!
AB: I like her!
AB: The best piece of advice someone ever gave you?
MM: Be yourself everyone else is taken.
AB: If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you want to be?
MM: In Indonesia, surfing everyday.
AB: If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be?
MM: Make the world a universally happy place for everyone, 24/7.
AB: First thing you do in the morning?
I brush my teeth.
AB: Last thing you do at night?
MM: I brush my teeth
AB: Every time I interact with your brand, you take me away somewhere. There’s a big element of fantasy. Is that intentional or just an extension of who you are?
MM: That is both intentional and part of who I am. All my collections are a reflection of my own little world that I live in, and it is great that I can share that with the world.
AB: One cool fact about you no one knows?
MM: I surf, yet I’m a very poor swimmer.
AB: What does the future hold for Mira Mikati?
MM: A menswear collection, an online store, and establishing a brick and mortar.