MARYAM NASSIR ZADEH COMES FULL CIRCLE
by: Mia Kim
August 15, 2012
Since opening its stately glass doors in 2008, Maryam Nassir Zadeh has become a favorite destination for those seeking an out of the ordinary retail experience. This sun-filled store on the Lower East Side could be considered a gallery of contemporary fashion and unusual objects given the exceptional focus on visual display. Among potted plants and quartz clusters is a carefully selected assortment of clothing and accessories from the likes of Cosmic Wonder Light Source, Dieppa Restrepo and Véronique Leroy. Owner Maryam Nassir Zadeh has cultivated a niche with artful ease and a discerning eye. She’s already established a sales showroom and an in-house ready-to-wear label is next on her growing list of eponymous pursuits. The WILD talks to this well-traveled arbiter of taste about the past, present and future.
As you’re from Los Angeles, how did you end up in New York?
I ended up in New York in 2006 to persue a fashion studies course at Parsons. In my early twenties, I went to school at RISD in Providence, RI and spent a lot of time in New York at that time. I always knew I would live in New York at some point.
So what inspired you to open up shop? Was it something you had always wanted to do?
My husband, Uday, inspired the idea of opening the shop. I was working at one of my best friend’s boutiques, Narnia, and Uday would come visit me. He had this clear vision that I needed to have my own store and he wanted it to be our project together. It was not something I always wanted to do — before the shop I was designing and styling. I always pictured pursuing either of those further. After some focus and some years I’m now integrating designing and styling more regularly into our brand, which makes our project more whole. I appreciate when you can let go of an idea and then it comes back to you full circle.
Everything in Maryam Nassir Zadeh feels so carefully selected and thoughtfully displayed, from the clothes on the racks to the crystals and succulents scattered on the floor. How do you go about creating that special environment, which in turn becomes an experience for the customer?
I’m attracted to textures, surfaces and products I find beautiful, so the selection is very intuitive and I like to mix it with objects or materials I would want to own or display in our house. This gathering of clothing and accessories happens seasonally, while the objects are acquired on my travels off-season and get diffused into the space. What I’m attracted to is authentic and personally handpicked. Display is also an intuitive process that is a good visual exercise for me, which I aim to keep moving and changing often as I do. The display is coming from a personal place, so hopefully that is reflected.
Since you always have some unique travel finds for sale, where is your favorite to visit?
I would say my favorite place to visit, I haven’t been to yet. I love the places we travel to but it’s more based on where we have family, which is Mexico and also India. Those two countries are where we get most of our travel finds on a regular basis but we also love visiting flea markets. Our favorite is Brimfield, Massachusetts, where we have found many of our favorite things for the home. We hope to travel to the Mediterranean, we are dying to visit Morocco and also want to spend extensive time in Italy and Spain.
Who are some designers you admire?
The designers I admire most are Phoebe Philo, Miuccia Prada and Consuelo Castiglioni.
In addition to the store you also have a showroom and a private label of footwear. Are there any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?
Actually our private label of footwear hasn’t quite launched. We are planning to launch a line of ready-to-wear and footwear some time in 2013. We have produced some traditional style sandals in Mexico, but our collection is yet to launch.
What is your WILD Wish?
My WILD wish is to live between Los Angeles and New York comfortably, have a good following with our collection and to open a second location in L.A.!!!
For more on Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s store please click here.