Mira Mikati’s new ‘Happy House’ is a sunshine-filled sanctuary. There are even rainbow-coloured knitted handles on the door to welcome you in. "Well," she says, "I always feel like the experience has to start at the beginning and end at the end and the original door was a disaster! So, I was like what can we do with them?"

It is all "Very experimental!" The store has been made together with the UK-based Nigerian artist Yinka Ilori, the first of her planned seasonal artist collaborations. "I’ve been obsessed with him for a while," explains Mikati. "He began with making chairs and then it started getting bigger for him. I would see all of these patterns and playgrounds that he did. And then he did the Dulwich Pavilion and I was like, ‘Oh my god, it is going so fast for him and I hope he will still come and do my store.’"

"But I think he did because I went to his studio quite a while back and he is very nice and would send me patterns because I am colour obsessed and he is too."

Mikati is sat on one of Ilori’s painted wooden chairs which are scattered around her new store in Chelsea. The walls and floor are painted in bright geometric colours, yellows, oranges, pinks, blues, greens, and there are kumquat trees growing in plant pots. The doormat reads ‘THIS IS OUR HAPPY PLACE’ and she has installed a Wild & the Moon juice bar (complete with her own pink blend called ‘Happy Juice’: dragon fruit, oat milk and blueberry ‘bubbles’). There is even a seesaw in the walled garden at the back of the store.

Mira Mikati on her seesaw. 

"Well, it needed to be vibrant!" she exclaims. "My favourite colour has always been yellow. It is the colour that always makes me happy. My mother told me that since I was three years old and I went to nursery they would always have to replenish the yellow paints and markers because I would use it all."

"I think it is maybe the mix of where I come from," she continues. "I’m Lebanese, grew up in Paris and moved to London, so I think that I kept the Mediterranean side, the sea, the blue sky, and brought it with me even if I didn’t live much in my own country."

This joyful exuberance is also visible in the clothes that Mikati makes: cotton shirts and floaty skirts with crochet, beading and embroidery. Floral prints and hand-drawn animals, houses and boats alongside words like ‘flowers’, ‘bloom’ and ‘ooh la la’.  They are unapologetically cheerful.

"And always with lots of storytelling," she explains. "But it starts somewhere completely different and then it evolves within the creative process. For this collection, I was meant to go on a safari to Africa and then we had to cancel it last minute… so I decided that I am just going to go ahead and have an imaginary safari through colours: a pink giraffe, an orange elephant and the words ‘here’s sunshine’, ‘bla bla bla’. They don’t always make sense, but they do to me. It is always happy words and checks, colours, stripes, and flowers, again and again. Flowers anywhere make it a happy place."

"And I wanted to try and have the same message of feeling happy when you wear the clothes as when you enter the space," Mikati continues. "It needs that magic and that is the challenge. I didn’t want it to have to be a space where you come to buy. That is why we also have little things that are not serious things. Just things that are fun."

"I wanted it to be like a playground for both adults and kids. We are all about playfulness and colours and happiness, so that you can come in and forget about everything that is happening outside. And honestly it works on me, even now in these quite challenging days. We just need to remember that there can be happiness."

Mira Mikati's Happy House is located at 172 Walton St, Chelsea, SW3 2JL.

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