Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s clothing seems to perfectly encapsulate the current mood in New York City as fashion week returns for the first (semi) normal season since the pandemic began. It’s hopeful, but somewhat reserved, colourful but not too over the top, flirty but fun.
Of course, the above has always been what the brand, which was launched almost a decade ago, has been about. Since its launch in 2012, three years after her eponymous store was opened, Zadeh has cultivated a loyal following of women—and more recently, men—who turn to her for wearable pieces with a difference. They’re minimal, but never boring. Chic, but not cold.
For her runway return (her first since 2019), Zadeh took guests to her home: to the Lower East Side store she opened in 2008, long before the area once again became one of the city’s coolest haunts. Surprisingly, it’s the first time Zadeh has used the space—long known for stocking the best brands well ahead of its time (MNZ was one of the first New York stores to sell Jacquemus and Eckhaus Latta)—for a show location.
Zadeh wrote on her show notes that this season is about ‘authenticity, family and community.’ A way of thanking those who’ve supported her business and vision through this turbulent time. This was illustrated in her casting: Zadeh has often cast friends and muses in her shows, this time her husband, Uday Kak, joined them. There also were brand regulars Paloma Elsesser, Susan Cianciolo, and Lili Sumner.
Models styled in bikinis—now a brand signature—see-through vests, knee-high boots and PVC wedges walked from the open-plan store outside onto the bustling city pavement as a live band performed for the masked crowd. Longtime fans will notice slight alterations on returning fabrics and styles—’some old loves, some new loves’, as Zadeh put it—while others will take note of the expanding menswear collection on offer.
Notably, this season marks the first time both womenswear and menswear were shown on the MNZ runway with topless male models dispersed throughout the diverse lineup. (Though online, there’s no gender split between the garments).
Fashion month might’ve only just begun, but already it’s clear MNZ knows what’s to come—and what we’ll be wearing while tackling it.