Mansi Shah’s silk scarves are cooler than cool. They balance fun with elegance – bright, rich colours and bold, striking shapes with luxurious fabric and hand-rolled hems. Hang them, drape them, wear them on your heads, necks, wrists – whatever you like, New York-based Mansi Shah wants us to do as we wish with her products. “I put a lot of thought and love into what I make,’ says Mansi, “but I’m really interested in how people make these products their own.”
This attitude to design objects doesn’t stop there though, in fact, it is precisely what makes the digitally printed, silk scarves so striking in the first place; they come from a place of originality rather than trend. The eponymous brand’s designs are driven by instinct – drawing to find the line, form, colour, volume, texture and composition that feels right – and take inspiration from anywhere that might offer it. “The idea of play and alchemy is intrinsic in my process and creating a print is instinctive, seeking inspiration from movement and magic,” says Shah, who says she’s inspired by “Cy Twombly’s scribbles, Josef Albers’ color theory and visual music artists like Mary Ellen Bute, Walter Ruttmann, Norman McLaren, and James and John Whitney”.
As a result, Shah’s designs are truly unique. They’re full of energy and flare but subtle enough to wear any time; in bright and rich colours – cobalt blue, ruby red, emerald green, and midnight black, shades that almost clash but don’t; they’re dotted with wild patterns – sometimes fluid and at others times crisp; are decorated through various effects – brush stroke-like lines and lines that are more precise; and shapes almost jump off the page.
Photography: Mansi Shah