Rainbow Stripes, Emoji & Cartoonish Designs: This Designer Just Gets Us

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If you're into eye-catching, playful designs — and we're not just talking a hint of color and print every now and then, we mean cartoons, vibrant graphics, and oversized emoji — designer Mira Mikati might just become your new best friend. But don't mistake her for someone who creates novelty pieces. In fact, she's just as adored for her impeccably tailored ready-to-wear as she is for the vivid patterns and slogans that adorn them.

Owner of Beirut-based luxury boutique Plum Concept, Mikati began her eponymous line a few years ago, born from a capsule collection she designed in 2014 for French heritage brand Façonnable. After an overwhelming response to the limited-edition collaboration, she expanded her brand into a full collection that now has global reach. But doing that ain't easy. Below, Mikati opens up about just how she did it.

oes the interior aesthetic of your home reflect your sartorial style and your own designs?
"It totally does. My home is quite minimal, with neutral colors to bear the colorful and happy art, the vivid flowers, and the bits and pieces hunted on my various travels. My collections have minimal and simple shapes to bear the different embroideries, prints, and inspiration. Both worlds are all about the balance and right dosage to create a good harmony."
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Art is often a central theme to your collections, but what was the inspiration and starting point for spring/summer 2016?
"[This season] is about a girl who goes on a fantasy road trip from San Francisco to Sedona and Santa Fe to end up in New York City. She loses her suitcase and buys pieces in every city, including the bomber jackets in collaboration with NYC-based artist KAWS."

You're a Lebanese designer based in London. Does the Middle East inform your designs at all?
"I'm Lebanese-born, Paris-raised, and London-based. I feel that in my designs, the colors and travel inspirations come from my Lebanese origins, the cool-yet-elegant comes from my French side, and the quirkiness and fun from my London base. What I love about London fashion the most is that it's unique and daring."
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You started out as a buyer. Did that role give you extra insight as a designer?
"I still buy for Plum, which helps me a lot as a designer. Firstly, it constantly opens my eyes to what’s going on everywhere. Secondly, it gives me that balance between the real world of the consumer and the need from a buyer's point of view, together with the dream and the fantasy from a designer’s perspective."

Who would you love to see in your pieces? How would you describe the Mira Mikati girl?
"A girl that likes to have fun, dares to wear color, who likes to be different, and doesn't take life too seriously. I love seeing young girls wearing my pieces and am always happily surprised to see older women wearing them, as well. It would be such a dream to have Iris Apfel wear something one day."

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