I was instantly attracted to the Mishmaoul collection when we stumbled across the temporary pop-up store in the souk in Beirut. The neon-ness and cool Arabic pop-art designs have an exotic appeal and caught my eye in the narrow dusty alleyway of the Lebanese shopping mall.
Designer Rana Salam intends to provide “a feast for the eyes”. She creatively blends and promotes cultures in her quirky collection illustrating her vision of the Middle East: fun, individual with a sense of narrative and storytelling. Although the range can only be seen in the flesh in the Middle East, Rana is London based and very much promoting her products here.
Mishmaoul has an eclectic mix of cushions, jewellery, prints, wallpaper, home-ware and other accessories, each piece is innovative and inimitable. I would love to have my own little flat decorated entirely with these items, I adore it all and feel the products work particularly well when shown together. The pop-up boutique shop I first visited thrilled me: vibrant colours and an overwhelming mix of beautifully arranged items… thoughtful and aesthetically scrumptious.
Alas, when I returned to Beirut a few months later, the pop-up was gone and my beloved Mishmaoul no longer housed at the souk. I did not have time to visit the studio space, but next time I travel to Lebanon it will be top of my to do list. Instead I have browsed the website for hours and was delighted to discover that Mishmaoul ship all over the world… making my dream of owning a few products suddenly possible.
A couple of emails later and I am the proud owner of a funky iphone cover (I don’t own an iphone but couldn’t resist buying the case!), a few of the neon-tastic pretty notebooks tied in ribbon and two of the new tea towels. The products have a real energy and sense of fun and whatever the medium, Rana’s passion for her home city’s street culture. The pieces aren’t super cheap but are affordable with a tea towel costing $20 and notebooks a mere few dollars each.
You can see Rana’s wonderful work at Comptoir Libanais, my favourite Lebanese Lunch outlet near work that I reviewed only a few months ago. It seems the best of Beirut is arriving in Britain and I couldn’t be happier. Hopefully one day soon I will see the Mishmaoul collection in its natural habitat, but for now I will cherish the few pieces of the range I own.