While it's nevertheless an impressive accomplishment for any designer, it's not exactly rare for fashion labels to regularly dress top supermodels like Gigi Hadid and Jourdan Dunn and celebrities including Ariana Grande and Jennifer Lopez; But how many can say that they did before the age of 27? Our guess: not many. However, Michelle Aznavorian of Misha can. Here, the Australian designer behind your new go-to party pieces shares her success story in her own words, what goes into her design process and why she loves being based in Melbourne.
Your brand is global, but your studio is in Australia. What’s your favorite thing about being based there?
Australia is my home, so I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. My family is here, who I am very close to. I do travel a lot, and I know that being based so far away from fashion capitals such as New York, Paris, London and Milan could be seen as a disadvantage; however Australia has definitely made its mark on the fashion industry in terms of high-profile exports and becoming known for creating need-to-know brands. It’s a supportive industry over here, and I also think being Australian gives me an edge and a point of difference that other international labels don’t have.
What does it mean for your pieces to be carried at INTERMIX?
I’m so excited to be carried at Intermix. I’ve been a longtime fan and to now be involved with the business, I’m really looking forward to Misha being showcased to a new market.
What is your design process like?
I start with a detailed mood board with everything that inspires me: colors, fabrics, shapes, architecture, new faces, old faces, trends, themes. This often sets the tone for how the collection will go. Being an Australian brand, I also have to be mindful to design for both hemispheres.
Did you always know you wanted to establish a career in fashion?
Fashion was always a part of my childhood. Coming from an Italian/Armenian background, my sister and I were always immaculately dressed as little girls, with beautiful dresses, Italian shoes, international brands and top quality fabrics. My mum liked to dress us up, so I think I was destined to be a lover of fashion. I’ve always been passionate about business and making people happy through fashion.
You were 19 when you launched your eBay store, and had completed studies at the Melbourne School of Fashion by 22. How did you manage that?
When I started my eBay business, my mum used to drive me around to different vintage shops in Melbourne to buy clothes and accessories. I would scour the racks looking for hidden gems and things that other people would normally miss. I loved being able to create unique and fashionable outfits for my customers, and ultimately make a living out of it!
What are some of your signature fabrics or silhouettes that you gravitate towards?
Misha has always been about sleek shapes that are flattering to the female form, so the figure-hugging bodycon dress is a core style each season. I love working with fabrics that sculpt the body, so women of all shapes and sizes can feel confident and sexy.
Bella Hadid has walked in your runway show, and your designs have been spotted on an impressive list of supermodels. What has it been like to work with these women?
These women are an inspiration to me, so to be able see my designs on the likes of Adriana [Lima], Jasmine [Tookes], Stella [Maxwell] and Jourdan [Dunn] is a dream come true. To be able to work alongside supermodels of this caliber is truly an honor. Bella Hadid was the first big name I worked with, and it was so great to not only shoot with her for our Resort '16 campaign but to then spend time with her when she came to Sydney to walk in our show. She’s so lovely, and very hardworking.
Is there a signature piece that is quintessentially “Misha”?
The Kimberlia Gold Sequin Dress. It's a classic show-stopper that is sure to turn heads.
Who would you describe is your muse or the “Misha” girl?|
I think I’ll always see Bella [Hadid] as the Misha girl. I love her timeless look and classic style mixed with a raw edginess. My designs for Misha are the same: There’s inspiration from multiple fashion eras, and I always design ‘high-fashion with a sexy edge’.