Continuing her process of rediscovery, Zadeh went through the archives stored at her parent’s house as she designed fall 2023. Now, for spring 2024, she seems exactly where she wants to be, in the middle between what has been and what will be.
“When I first started designing in my early twenties, I made a lot of mistakes; when something worked, I felt, ‘Oh wow, I know what people want. When I have the instinct, I go for it.’ And I kept changing things all the time,” she said on a walk-through. “And then I realized, the older I got, that consumers don’t want you to change so fast. People want you to stick.”
Nassir Zadeh named the collection Rush because it was shot and styled post-haste after being released from customs last minute, meaning that she had to cede control to some extent and go with the flow, working within the time available and with the pieces at hand. In this age of dress-to-impress selfies and ’fit pics, Zadeh’s aesthetic of spontaneity (the lookbook was styled, however hurriedly) reminds us that playing with fashion just for the sake of it still delivers a rush.
One of the heroes of this lineup is a wrap that can be worn as a skirt or a dress that was inspired by a cover-up Zadeh’s mother wore in the ’90s. It’s essentially an easy-peasy scarf-topped skirt that you self-tie. It’s vacation-ready but also has that lived-in Lower East Side cool with which Zadeh’s work has become synonymous. “What I’ve been trying to achieve for so long is this sensibility which I look for a lot…when a garment has spirit in it and it has lightness and delicacy in the way that it’s made.” The MNZ difference is that there is nothing precious about this airy sensibility.
By choice—and circumstance—Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s spring collection is framed by her changing relationship with time. The designer seems to be going through a restless period, one that began with her spring 2023 collection, which she collaged from her textile archive, sometimes using no-sew techniques, into not-for-sale experiments. There might not be much of a market for skirts that don’t make a full circle around the waist, but the sense of spontaneity—of the notion of fashion as basic coverings—was exciting.
Based on this observation, the new collection is a blend of remixes (like a cardigan brought back from the brand’s first season) and new pieces. How Zadeh imbues a covetable air of throwaway-chic to “little nothings” pieces like semi-sheer knits, a silk tunic, and ribbed melange tanks remains a mystery, but that she does so is an established fact.