Vincenzo Grillo
Interview

Nausheen Shah

10.09.14

Designer, stylist, fashion editor, travel writer, street style star – New York-based Nausheen Shah does it all. Shah first made a name for herself in the fashion industry designing for Catherine Malandrino, Mario Moya and serving as the collection director at Zac Posen. In 2011, she made her editorial debut with the launch of “A Shah’s Life,” a personal blog featuring her stylish insight on everything from the latest trends to home décor. Shah is now a fashion and luxury travel contributor for the New York Post, Marie Claire, L’Officiel and Bergdorf Goodman.

Interview

What brings your wardrobe together?

Shoes. I’m crazy for shoes, like most girls. I definitely gravitate towards newly purchased items, but then it becomes more of a layering process. I start mixing and matching and un-matching until I feel that I created the right palate.  Sometimes it’s quite simple and other times it is complex depending on my mood.

How do you choose your shoes?

First on the weather, then the occasion. I basically buy and own two types of shoes – artistic and basic. At the moment, I love a good pump especially in suede or pony hair. Those types of skins make colors pop in such a vibrant, rich way. I am naturally attracted to them. Then my eye looks toward editorial shoes – not the one that everyone will have, but the one most won’t or are tough to obtain. It is my way of acquiring art.

Is there a particular designer you prefer?

Since I studied tailoring, I am drawn to designers who really understand fit and composition. I adore Haider Ackerman, Dries van Noten, and Junya Watanabe. Their fit and design are impeccable.

What about for shoes?

Some women think toe cleavage is sexy, I think showing off the arch on the inside of your foot is the ultimate attraction.

Gianvito Rossi is my #1 – not many understand craftsmanship and design the way he does, but he did grow up in his father’s (Sergio Rossi) factory after all. Gianvito makes a woman feel feminine and sensual, but never vulgar.

Otherwise my go to shoe designers include Casadei for the Blade Pumps, Pierre Hardy and Alaia. Tom Ford can still design a killer heel as well.

When did you start catching the attention of street photographers?

That’s a good question – I have no idea. I did my first Paris Fashion Week in 2011 when I was just a stylist. I dressed in a way that I felt was respectful for the designers and a celebration of their newest collection. Originally being a designer and Collection Director for Zac Posen, I understand all the mind churning and sleepless nights that go into those 7-12 minutes. Maybe I was naive, but I was unaware that photographers snapped attendees (and the people who pretended to be attendees). So let’s just say from then on, I learned about the fashion week culture very quickly.

Were you surprised by all the attention?

Yes of course – it’s weird for a lack of a better term. I was just dressing in the manner that I normally dress. My main concern was making it to the shows on time (I am always late) and growing in my career. I realized after that first season in Paris season that I wanted to shift my career from design to the editorial side. Not because of the street style photographers, but because I would work with a vast number of designers instead of focusing on one.  Therefore, with my tailoring background it was easy to describe collections and write reviews. Fortunately, Olivia [Palermo] was the first to ask me to be a fashion editor for her site and that’s just how I started. Organically I started writing for many other publications such as New York Post, Marie Claire, L’Officiel and Bergdorf Goodman. So now I attend the whole fashion circuit – New York, London, Milan and Paris.

Do you miss designing?

I love designing – I do miss it, but right now I am in the right place. I am inspired by artists and their imaginations. I find it completely humbling to write about designers making an impact on the industry today. Plus it’s exciting to discover new talent. It’s a never ending treasure hunt.

Where are you contributing most now?

Mostly to the New York Post Alexa, MarieClaire.com and L’Officiel Mexico. I am also launching a new travel section with Bergdorf Goodman coming out in November.

How did your love of travel come about? Did you use to travel often as a child?

I would have to say it stems from my father. He traveled constantly and collected stickers for his suitcase from every city he visited. I always looked up to him. My family road tripped often around the U.S. and would travel to Pakistan every other year while I was growing up . When I was 19 years old, I took my first big trip to London and Greece and I was officially addicted to travel after that. I later studied abroad in Seville, Spain and Florence, Italy which were both life changing for me. I have always made it a point to travel since then – it’s oxygen to me.

Where were you born?

Sheboygan, Wisconsin, born and raised. I had very strict parents who kept me on a tight leash growing up, so I didn’t go far often. Which probably explains why I can’t still for very long now. I travel about 50% of the year – mostly for work.

Does your travel writing focus on fashion?

It’s a combination. I love to cook and I love to eat, so I naturally search out the buzziest restaurants where ever I go as well as where is the new hot spot, which bar is serving the best concoctions, which hotels are providing the best service and innovative interior design. It has always been a genuine curiosity of mine. I believe food presentation, culture, interior design and fashion all go hand in hand. They all reflect one another.

Then Andy Wang, the Travel Editor of the NY Post at the time, asked me to contribute because I was traveling more than most travel writers he knew. Et voila! I became a travel writer. Of course I find a way to overlap fashion and travel especially during fashion month. When I am in London, Milan and Paris, I try to discover the new hotels and restaurants, then do my shows, interview designers, etc.. And yes, It can be a little overwhelming.

On top of all this you still manage to keep up with your own site?

Yes. Unfortunately, it has been a bit neglected. But I am working on completely revamping it.

Do you feature pieces that you have done for other publications on your site?

Yes. My site has turned into more of a diary of the work I’m doing than a personal blog. When I’m contributing to the New York Post or Marie Claire, I upload or link my articles so my guests are able to access my work in one place. Again – its a work in progress.

Do all of your friends think that you live the life and if they could only have a piece of it?

I think many believe that I have the ideal job and honestly I wouldn’t change anything, I love what I do. But along with all that comes high stress levels because I work for myself. There are up and down months and sometimes it can be a struggle, but I love what I do and the punches keep me on my toes.

I will be the first to say that I am fortunate. My job is not work for me. Fashion and travel feed my soul. I would do it all for free…shhh, don’t tell my editors.

What’s your favorite part?

Every single second.