Miahatami, going at 500 per hour

In her fashion collections Iranian designer Narguess Hatami expresses the – strong – bond between her present in Italy and the ancient and fascinating heritage of her homeland Persia. Straddling these two atmospheres and moving between past and present the fashion designer, who was born in Teheran in 1981, has given rise to a label, Miahatami, and achieved her childhood passion: sewing and making beautiful garments.

The proof that her dream held promise can be observed in the rainbow of shades, patterns and geometries that adorn her every design, while still looking fresh and contemporary. Here's what she had to tell Lancia.

What are you working on at the moment?
Right now I'm on a train headed for Rome, where I'll be for the next few days during Altaroma: it'll be my second fashion show and I'm very excited. I also have many other fashion projects in the pipeline...

Speaking of dreams: what have you yet to achieve?
My greatest aspiration is definitely to leave a mark, to be able to write a small part of the story of fashion with my garments, which are like children to me. I'd very much like to inspire artists and designers with creations that will be remembered. I know, I might not win an award for the most modest answers, but if we're talking about dreams, then I aim high. 

In a game of make-believe: if you could live a day in the life of another creative person, who would it be and why?
I'd choose, without hesitation, Wes Anderson! I love his unique way of thinking about and perceiving things. I'd be thrilled at the chance to spend a day with him.

What are your main goals as a fashion designer?
I'd be happy for icons of femininity throughout the world to wear my creations.

What are the primary changes you've noticed in the field of fashion in the past few years?
Fashion is a form of art that, by definition, changes according to the tastes of those conceiving it and, even more so, those experiencing it. That is certain. The primary change in my opinion is the manner in which it is perceived and experienced by the final user: I'm not just referring to the transformation of the fashion industry (fast fashion and such), but also and above all to the attitude of the client, who is first and foremost looking for a buying experience. The client is now mainly informed through new communication channels: which is where the magical world of social networks comes in, with bloggers, influencers and sharing platforms that not only allow you to immediately present pieces and collection - cutting down the traditional timeframe of fashion - but also and even more so to radically modify the 'tone of voice' of fashion itself. From what was essentially vertical communication it has shifted to a language that is accessible to everyone.

Was there a turning point in your career and if so, why?
It was working with Marco Morosini: this is the only time where I distanced myself from the world of prêt-à-porter. In doing so I gained a more insightful and complete look into fashion, and I become aware of the fact that anything is possible if you have courage and passion. This experience pushed me to constantly study and learn, so that I can come to a deeper and better understanding. It also put me on the path to the present.

Which of your projects are you most proud of and why?
Miahatami: I worked on it, believed in it, and to this day am constantly engaged in it. Seeing that what I wanted to communicate through my creations is being acknowledged by clients fills me with joy and satisfaction.

What do you think about fashion designers who try to be trendy?
Personally I don't think being 'trendy' is something you can choose or calculate: I think it's something innate, it's part of the nature itself of a person. If that's not the case, then it's forced and counterproductive. I prefer to work on my own identity.

What are your biggest sources of inspiration?
Iran, no doubt. It's a magical country with so much to explore: culture, art, architecture, flavors. Unfortunately the world knows very little of the real Iran and this is my way of allowing others to discover my homeland.

Describe a typical workday.
I rely heavily on intuition. I think to create and work well you have to have the right inspiration. My creations, for example, remain the same from the drawing to the manufacturing of the garment. I rarely change anything in the course of the project. That's because I only work when I'm really inspired. That being said, if we take a typical day in which I'm inspired, I won't stop until I've got on paper everything I have in my head. I don't tend to the clock.

How would you define your style?
A mix and match of cultures. My clients would say it's refined. I don't want it to be ethnic, that's not my objective. Though my latest collection deliberately has more ethnic elements in it, but that's just this case.

What is your greatest talent?
I'm quite funny: I'm really good at telling jokes!

What are the main challenges in your line of work?
A huge amount of competition: there are many young and talented fashion designers and keeping up is always difficult. Nowadays it's not enough to have a product, you have to have four solid pillars: style, as in product; production, as in supplying clients and the relationship with clients; commercial, which means finding the right stores for the product you offer; and communication. If you're missing any of these, the project won't remain afloat.

Can you reveal some of your go-to places?
I love restaurant Carlo e Camilla in Segheria in Milan: good food, a great atmosphere, very welcoming. I also adore Officina della bistecca del macellaio Cecchini in Panzano di Chianti: a real experience that should be tried at least once in life.

Your favorite city?
I'm in love with Paris, I find Milan is perfect to live in, but Teheran has a special place in my heart. Once you discover its magic, which does not reveal itself immediately, no other place in the world is like it.

How would you describe your home?
It's like my collections: a mix of different worlds and styles. My husband Michele and I love vintage objects and flea markets. We're always looking for new pieces. So we've ended up with a combination of modern furniture, objects from the 60s, furnishings from Iran...

Your fashion icon?
It's hard to say, because I change icon with every season. Right now it's Shirin Neshat, because of her strong personal style.

Is there a motto you live by?
Live and let live. And also: aim for a thousand to reach 500.

Interview by Marzia Nicolini



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