Nicole Farhi is of Algerian descent having been born in Nice to Turkish parents on July 25, 1946. She was originally a sculptor before she entered the fashion industry. She married playwright David Hare in 1992 after they got romantically involved while designing costumes for his play Murmuring Judges. The London based Nicole Farhi is now called Lady Hare. Nicole is Morris Farhi’s cousin who is a well known writer and human rights activist. The designer has built a reputation in the fashion industry for her Mediterranean influenced designs inspired Jean Moreau, Francoise Hardy and Francoise Sagan which have been incorporated in both her menswear and women’s wear lines which feel very cozy; like wearing a sheepskin coat over a silk dress. She is also known for designing costumes for movies like The Leading Man, A Midwinter’s Tale and Circus.
Nicole studied fashion in the late 1960s in Paris before she moved to London in 1973. Upon graduation she worked as a freelancer at Jean Charles de Castelbajac and Agnès B. However, Nicole’s illustrious career took off in the seventies when she started working with Stephen Marks for his label French Connection. They soon fell for each other and got married. In 1982, Nicole launched her eponymous label, Nicole Farhi with assistance provided by Stephen Marks. The collection became tremendously successful for its laid back style and well cut tailoring. The success of her first label led to the launch of her menswear label called Nicole Farhi for Men in 1989. In 1994, her first flagship store opened on Bond Street with a restaurant in the basement. Quite soon, the Nicole Farhi Home Collection was launched in 1998. In 1999, Nicole Farhi went international with the opening of her first flagship store in New York. A concept store named 202 was opened in New York in 2002 which was an amalgamation of all the aspects of Farhi’s business for instance home ware, clothing lines and ‘all day’ bras.
In 2007, Nicole received an honorary CBE by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II for serving the British fashion industry for more than three decades. She also signed a declaration of the Independent Jewish Voices for an open and critical debate on Israel along with criticizing the unconditional support of some Jewish organizations to Israel. Farhi launched her two signature fragrances for men and women in 2009 along with her e-commerce website. Nicole’s company experienced growing pains in 2010 when it was acquired by Open Gate Capital, a global private equity firm for five million pounds; which allowed the company to the next level of expansion. The company launched an eyewear collection in 2011 drawing its inspiration from the timeless fashion icons like Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot.
She also received a Legion D’Honneur from France for her outstanding work throughout her career in 2010. In July 2011, Nicole announced the closing of her flagship store located on Bond Street because it was being shifted on to Conduit Street where the designer would have a new five floor flagship store. Farhi’s love for art is constantly fuelled by her regular visits to India and the Far East in search of inspiration and materials for her collections. Nicole Farhi is now found at home most of the times sculpting in the studio of her Hampstead residence.