What I Know About Style

mania mia

Mania Mia


Sisters-in-law Anoosheh Omidi and Katya Shestakova are founders of fashion boutique Mania Mia. Recently joined by creative consultant Julia Gordina, the girls talk ethical fashion, vintage frocks and plans for the season

What makes Mania Mia Fulham’s best kept secret?

Anoosheh: We are strong on organic and sustainable labels – some of them are stocked exclusively at Mania Mia. The place has a personal story; everything from the art on the walls to the clothes and the sort of tea we serve reflects our tastes. We are always on the lookout for new names and quality craftsmanship. It’s great to see that customers share our tastes.

Julia: It all comes together in a unique ambience of the store that doubles up as an art gallery and events space. This concept is very new for south-west London and we are regularly hosting designer pop-up shops, art exhibitions and themed evenings. There is always something going on here.

You currently have an exhibition at the boutique – how did this collaboration come about?

A: The artist Caryl Stockham and I see the same osteopath – that’s where I first saw her paintings and fell in love with them. I loved her use of colour. She has a large body of work completed over the years in all these wonderful locations she’s travelled to; Bermuda, Italy, India. When I met Caryl I liked her even more and understood the work better.

What are you most proud of and why?

A: We’ve learned a lot about sustainable fashion and lifestyle and tried to apply this knowledge in our daily lives. It’s very possible to be stylish and green – and I’m proud that we are spreading the message.

Katya: I’m most proud of our big family and beautiful children. Anoosheh and I live and work together, and we have three generations of the family living together under one roof – it’s an amazing experience for all of us.

Can you tell us about these design workshops you’re planning?

J: We are really inspired by designers and makers in London. There is such variety of talented people in all fields of craft and design. The scope we’re looking at is really exciting: embroidery, crochet, perfume, lingerie, millinery, jewellery, etc – all the things you can learn to make yourself.

A: The designers we’re working with are thrilled with the idea – soon you’ll be able to learn how to make jewellery with designer Amma Gyan and take part in a millinery masterclass with Uma Thuran, who has previously worked with Stephen Jones. We’re planning a series of talks – for example, a talk on cashmere and natural fibers by Magaschoni New York.

K: It fits with an idea that we are more than a retail business: what we are really trying to do is to build a community. That’s why we are always serving tea in the shop – it’s good for conversations. We really value these relationships and workshops will be another opportunity for people to meet in a fun atmosphere.

Where is the best place to source vintage clothing/material and what has been your single best find so far?

J: I can’t share all my secrets, but I’d say Fridays on Portobello Road and Sundays around Brick Lane are great for vintage shopping in London. Not everyone likes markets, so if you like your vintage restored and ready to wear – head straight to boutiques. I like Virginia in Notting Hill and Circa Vintage in Fulham. My most treasured vintage finds are a fully beaded 1920s flapper dress, ’70s velvet Biba jacket and a structured ’80s Balmain dress.

What is your favorite fashion era and why?

K: The ’70s! At heart I’m a hippie who loves maxi dresses, boho style, tousled hair with flowers and ribbons.

A: My era would be fifties: Dior’s New Look, big skirts, floral motifs. I like feminine dresses that show your shape.

J: I’m a vintage afficionado, I love all the decades. My top three would be the sophisticated elegance and decadence of the ’20s, feminine shapes of the ’50s and free-spirited mix of colours and textures that was the seventies.

How would you describe your personal style?

K: Being pregnant I’m not sure I have that much style going on at the moment! Generally I’m all about relaxed shapes, natural fabrics, a combination of bright and earthy colours. I adore whimsical accessories and quirky details for daily wear, but can do classy and refined for special occasions.

A: Always feminine. I like fitted shapes and a cropped, fitted jacket is my must-have item. I like draping, statement scarves and shawls. I love heels and would wear them everyday if I could!

J: Feminine, bohemian with a slight retro feel. I’m made of florals, pastels, tea dresses, silk, lace and all things nice.

You source contemporary designers as well – where do you look to find the freshest new talent?

A: We try to visit smaller trade shows that represent young designers and niche brands in the UK, France, Scandinavia and Italy. We are obsessed with finding small makers online and in markets around the country. And somehow over time we attract people with similar style and design aesthetic.

J: For example, one of our big discoveries is leather jewellery with semi-precious stones handmade by Amma Gyan. She was talent scouted by Jigsaw a year after we started working with her and has done a special collection for Jigsaw stores. We are so proud of her!

Do you collect anything?

A: I collect vintage hats and vintage handbags – clutch bags, especially. I have a Chistian Dior bag in burgundy leather – it’s just perfect. I was probably 15 when I got it!

K: I have a big collection of rings – I buy them everywhere on my travels. I come from Ural Mountains in Russia, where stones are belived to have magic and healing properties. This season I’ve discovered Didi Colley jewellery with Indian gems – stones are beautifully coloured and I’m wearing my rings all the time.

J: My collection of vintage frocks and accessories is ever expanding. And of course shoes, so many pairs of shoes.

Have you come across any vintage fashion items that need to stay firmly in the past?

A: Yes! I think out of all the mistakes fashion has made over the years, polyester is the worst. I’m all for natural fabrics.

K: If only padded shoulders could stay firmly in the past – there’s really no need for them.

J: I love prints and always look out for nice floral, tropical or abstract ones for my vintage collection. But some ’80s prints can hurt your eyes – these are to be worn as fancy dress.

Any guilty pleasures?

Anoosheh: Made in Chelsea, The Only Way is Essex, lots of sleep and way too many hours spent at beauticians!

Katya: Sweets, chocolates, ’90s pop music.

Julia: Fresh lemonade and expensive shoes.

Mania Mia, 307 New King’s Road, Fulham, London, SW6; maniamialondon.tumblr.com

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