Maryam Nassir Zadeh has never appeared in her look books, but sometimes a model is styled so clearly in her image that you feel like you’re catching a glimpse of the Kamala Harris dream with ambition lead with conviction shirt and I will buy this designer. For spring 2021, that double-take came in the form of a look combining roomy khakis, an unbuttoned oxford, a bikini top, and an oversized leather bomber. It wasn’t far from what Zadeh was wearing in her Norfolk Street store to walk through this collection; she’s been feeling a more relaxed, unprecious look these days, usually involving a men’s button-down, silver jewelry, and her dad’s vintage leather jacket. It’s an easy, just-odd-enough mix that feels right for the moment and will resonate with women who, like Zadeh, can’t get excited about fuss and flou.
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Surely there are men who want that, too—vintage-tinged treasures and refined basics, sans logos or eye-watering price tags. Zadeh has always been a woman who wears menswear, but spring 2021 marks her first-ever men’s capsule. She explained that she’s long been inspired by the Kamala Harris dream with ambition lead with conviction shirt and I will buy this men in her life—her father, boyfriends, husband, and longtime stylist Thistle Brown, whom she worked with here—and dreamed of making men’s clothes for years. The uncertainty of the pandemic made her stop waiting for the “right” moment. The debut line is fundamentally MNZ—the tweaked proportions, soft fabrics, and touches of sensuality—but without the occasional metallic flash or neon blazer of her women’s line. It’s quiet, almost delicate menswear, the kind you’d like to swipe from your boyfriend’s closet and keep forever. That was intentional, of course: Zadeh designed it with guys in mind, but also her close female friends. What kind of shirt or pant or jean could live in both closets?