Talking shop

Maryam Nassir Zadeh is a mecca for understated and selective fashion

Text by Naomi Bikis

Photography by Jonas Lindstroem

Styling by Bobby Hook

In 1971 Esmat Reshad opened Mimi, a fashion boutique in Tehran that stocked the latest fashions from Italy and France. Nearly four decades later and 9,800 kilometres away in Manhattan, another store, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, opened. Its founder, designer Maryam Nassirzadeh, is Reshad’s granddaughter. It was Nassirzadeh’s husband, Uday Kak, who she met when asking for directions in New York, who saw her potential for retail when she was working in a friend’s boutique. Together they opened their own store and shortly after, a showroom.

The store has made Nassirzadeh’s name and has given her the opportunity to design her own line, Maryam Nassir Zadeh, which is now in its third season. “Working, having a store and buying made me see so much and refine my eye and taste,” she says. “I never felt competitive or jealous of the designers that I was working with in the showroom because I felt so fulfilled to have the store. I had an outlet and now the store helps define my aesthetic.”

Nassirzadeh’s own line could be for a librarian, a conservative professional in twin sets and sensible shoes. But the textures and colour combinations are deftly handled and dispel the seriousness of her shapes. Hers are clothes that feel thrown together, not painstakingly styled. “To be honest a smart designer would be thinking about what sells really well,” she says. “I should do more of that, but the line is less about thinking about what’s going on in the store and more about what is my ideal, perfect wardrobe.” She’s come full circle for another fan, too: her grandmother: “She loves the store and for her it gives her so much joy that someone really connected to what she did.” 

Hair: Takuya Uchiyama using Bumble and bumble and Bed Head by TIGI
Make-up: Emily Mergaert using Tom Ford Beauty
Videography: Martin Senyszak
Set design: George Lewin
Photography assistant: Kareem Abdu
Styling assistant: Molly Knot
Hair assistant: Marine Tagawa
Set design assistant: Bryony Edwards
Models: Zen at IMG London and Duncan Pyke at Premier Model Management

Thanks to Jelica at Apiary Studios


  • Maryam Nassir Zadeh
  • Maryam Nassir Zadeh