A Couple of Style Icons

by Debbie Bancroft Photographed by Mike Vitelli/
Friday, June 1, 2018

For this issue, I was thrilled when power couple Marcia and Richard Mishaan agreed to join me for drinks. How often do you find two partners who are equal parts chic, creative and elegant? Marcia, an artist, modeled for 10 years, before becoming an inveterate traveler, collector and tastemaker, as well as a mother and wife. Richard, a trained architect, has designed homes, hotels and furniture. Way back when, he was also a clothing designer. And yes—Marcia modeled for him.

While Richard is a fan of Givenchy, virtual design and interiors, Marcia is inspired by indigenous cultures and the great outdoors. Here they are, in all their stylish, complementary differences:

What was your first clue that you had style/design sense?

Richard: I was always an oddball, or maybe [I should say] stylish. When I was 11 years old, we moved to Florida and I demanded that I select colors and fabrics for my bedroom. The room was already somewhat paneled, and the color scheme was hunter green and navy blue. It was the beginning of a life in home design.

Marcia: I was always an athlete, so I was way ahead of my time with the athleisure look. However, on weekend nights my friend Brooke Wall and I would go dancing at the clubs, and I realized I had my own style.

What is your earliest memory of a favorite possession?

Richard: My first favorite object was a photograph by a Colombian artist and photographer named Hernán Díaz. He captured the beauty of the historic city of Cartagena, which was where we vacationed at the time. That translated to my obsession with collecting art.

Marcia: A summer blouse with cherry prints on it that my mom made. I wore it with a kilt to school.

What is the most offensive aesthetic affront? Who are the biggest offenders?

Richard: The gigantic skyscrapers casting a shadow on Central Park. There is a glitch in zoning laws that allow developers to build without height restrictions. That must be changed immediately.

Marcia: Exposed midriffs on men and women in the workplace, and while working out.

Who are your style icons and why?

Richard: I have many. I am a “more is more” kind of guy. Right now, I am obsessed with all of Hubert de Givenchy’s homes. He had the most exquisite taste, both in his city and country places. The classical architectural grounding set the stage for his collectible furniture and magnificent decorative arts.

Marcia: I appreciate indigenous cultures for their stylistic freedom of expression, which I find inspiring. I also admire Iris Apfel, who has her own bold freedom of self-expression. She has collected the most exquisite pieces from other cultures. She is an explorer and has an eye for these tribal forms of adornment that I love and find so interesting. Her collection of accessories makes me want to learn more about the places and peoples from which they came. I am also a fan of Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren. They were classical, chic and sexy in their own unique way that really expressed their essence. They were strong woman who embodied and owned their space and style.

How has the technological revolution impacted style and design?

Good news:

Richard: Some digital or technological advancement are amazing. Now, when you design a space, you can also present it in virtual reality to allow clients to walk around their home before you even break ground.

Marcia: I think it globalized different cultures, styles and values at a rapid pace. It made style and design accessible to everyone around the world. People could see outside their culture in a way it made the world smaller.

Bad news:

Richard: The bad part of digitalization is that information gets out there without being vetted, and that misinforms people. For example, clients look at the brochures for certain properties and take them at face value. The problem is that in a rendering, you can’t tell if it is scaled correctly, and often the furniture in the room would not fit if it was correctly drawn. Be careful, as things posted online can be misleading.

Marcia: My concerns are that Western brands and advertisements might dilute more indigenous and ancient cultures by emphasizing that a brand name is more appealing then something made by hand.

What is your favorite space?

Richard: Whoever first created the beach house is my idol. I love ours in Sagaponack. I love being out East and all that nature out there. But deep down I’m all about the great indoors. As soon as I get there I feel my chakras align. I am all zen and mindful. It’s perfection.

Marcia: Central Park. It’s a collaboration between nature and man-made design. The park is different for everyone, yet it connects all who visit in a profound way. It’s also a gift for all to enjoy.


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