Shadi Askari-Farhat, 41, is the founder and creative director of LA-based ready-to-wear and accessories brand, MISA, the name a combination of her daughters’ names, Milla and Sayeh (aged nine and eight). Celebrating Shadi’s own style, the MISA aesthetic is inspired by the global traveller – all floral prints, ruffles and breezy silhouettes with pom-pom and tassel trims adding to the bohemian vibe. “I believe my style is influenced and reflective of my own lifestyle and travels. I wake up every morning, see how I feel, and decide what I want to wear. If I can’t find it in my closet, I will design and create it.” Essentially effortless, she is motivated by the “sensual femininity of Brigitte Bardot, the elegance of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and the confidence and risk taking of Anna Dello Russo.”
An intriguing mix of luxury brands, and rare and vintage couture, Shadi says, “I’ve been collecting limited edition, runway collection, and special pieces forever, and I can’t stop,” she smiles, “I’m almost over 100.” Shadi’s wardrobe is built to compliment her own creations, with favoured designers including Gianvito Rossi for shoes, Hermès and Chanel for blazers, and Gucci for coats. “I have a weakness for Hermès and Chanel handbags,” she tells us. This passion developed when she was a girl, spending hours in her mother’s closet, “entertaining herself” amidst rails of clothes.
Shopping online (while her children are asleep) helps navigate around a hectic work schedule, and she’s a frequent clicker on Net-a-Porter, FarFetch and Bonpoint. When an in-store experience beckons, you’ll find her at Elyse Walker or sifting for vintage wears at Decades in LA. Shadi pays tribute to her Middle Eastern roots through purchasing art by regional artists to display in her LA and Utah residences. “I love to buy unique Middle Eastern art through my close friend, Dina Nasser-Khadivi of DNK Art Consulting, and one of my favorite pieces is from a Moroccan photographer, Lalla Essaydi.”
Channelling her own creative side means Shadi doesn’t believe in fashion disasters: “It’s all about confidence and happiness in what you’re wearing; the chicest looks are those that forgo the rules.” Despite coming from a conservative Iranian family, her father encouraged her independent and resilient mindset. “He once told me, ‘worrying is like paying interest on a debt you might never owe.’ It was the best advice I ever received. I never dwell on the past. I live in the moment, look forward, and always take risks.”
Shadi Askari-Farhat wears MISA dress, Aquazzura shoes, Hermès bracelets and jewellery, all Shadi’s own.
Photography: Ryan West. Words: Elaine Lloyd-Jones. Hair And Make-Up: Brendan Robertson at Stateartistsmgmt Using Kevin Aucoin And Kms.