The Fashion Muse: Embracing Pragmatism and Femininity at Mehera Shaw for Fall

August 24, 2009

Minneapolis, MN, August 2009—Designers often say they’ve got a muse by their side when developing a new collection. But what inspiration should the muse offer in these uncertain times? Glamorous optimism? Tough Chic minimalism? Safe classics? While Donna Karan and Balenciaga may be defining a softly draped pragmatism in their silhouettes, others such as Zac Posen are off replaying the glamour of Hollywood circa 1940s with fanciful collections that are surely meant to counterbalance the economic realities. Ralph Lauren and Hermes have balanced sculpted classics with a bit of whimsy and adventure. Karl Lagerfeld found his muse in the warrior-esq power-woman of the eighties—all in an effort to strike the right mood in tough times. Still others, like Shari Keller who designs Mehera Shaw, and has an eponymous shop here in Minneapolis, engage their muses with the toughest of jobs: appeal to both the creativity and pragmatism of the feminine spirit.

This fall, Shari walks the fine balance between affordability, wearability and joie de vive. Her new fall collection is titled “Footpaths: The Silk Road to High Street”. The look? Bohemian Classicism: touches of nouveau classics woven together with folkloric elements from across the Orient. Styles range from sophisticated and smart, a la Audrey Hepburn, to contemporary artisan-wear akin to the tapestries of Etro and the heritage prints of Liberty of London.

Shari notes, “As always, I strive for wearability, comfort and femininity in this fall’s collection. In response to the times, I have found inspiration from lands along the Silk Road: trading centers rich in a mix of Oriental cultures where one can enjoy the play of the sensuous with the pragmatic. I use layer upon layer of richly patterned fabrics, subdued pastels mixed with saturated-tones in heavily quilted jackets, ruched skirts, and richly stitched tunics. I allude to Tolstoy’s Russia: reds, maroons, and teal blue together. I pair tassar silk and handloomed wool in neutral tones contrasted with earthy olive and burnt sienna.”

Shari uses only natural fibers in her collections. Her color palate includes a range of neutrals such as wheat, parchment, bark as well as iron, graphite, and warm grays as a more subtle, atmospheric response to the traditional black. She reworks traditional autumn colors in shades of soft reds, honey yellows, muted sienna shades and hints of sensual lavender. Saturated tones are also present in fall’s array: midnight and majolica blues mixed with warm olives give an air of refinement and much needed mystique to counterbalance the times.

“At Mehera Shaw, we see women looking for high-value styles: styles that are affordable, highly wearable, and yet decidedly feminine. It’s a look that transitions easily from work to socializing, can be dressed up or down and won’t go out of style quickly. Women also love a bit of creative expression, a touch of magic, to their overall look –achieved through richly colored scarves, accessories, and a few specialty pieces. Feminine expression is vital to maintaining a cheerful outlook during tough times.”

Owners Mark and Shari go one step further in their embrace of the pragmatic, creative feminine. They urge women to “be the change they want to see” in the philosophy of the late Indian social leader, Mahatma Gandhi. In practical terms, this means a vibrant, be-yourself form of feminine esprit coupled with a belief in grassroots buy local, buy independent, purchasing power. Shari comments, “Our customers support independent businesses and buying fair made wherever possible.”

Mehera Shaw is part of a growing trend of artisan-style, small businesses, i.e., businesses that develop a high quality product on a smaller scale and tailor it to local customer needs. The Kellers have also created a vertical business by designing and manufacturing their own product under fair trade working conditions. Mehera Shaw is located at 2004 Hennepin and on the web at

Upcoming Events: Look for Mehera Shaw during MN Fashion Week.“Feminine Fair” is the title for their upcoming in-house fashion show September 24, 7-9pm. “Meet the Designer,” a chat and in-house reception, will take place September 26, 1-4pm.

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Our styles are meant to give room to breath and move.  We use fine tailoring coupled with a relaxed, comfortable fit.

We use a fit guide for each of our styles to provide more information about the fit that was intended.

Slim Fit: a close fit to the body. Regular Fit: a comfortable, relaxed fit with room around the body. Generous Fit: a very loose fit (such as in our oversized blouses) with lots of room around the body for ease of movement.


h4XS/ 36

h4S/ 38


h4L/ 42



h435.5 inches/ 90 cm

h437.5 inches/95 cm

h439.5 inches/ 100 cm

h441.5 inches/ 105 cm

h444.5 inches. 113 cm

h44cm extra from body


h426 inches/ 66 cm

h428 inches/ 71 cm

h430 inches/ 76 cm

h432 inches/ 81 cm

h435 inches/ 89 cm


h4low waist

h428 inches/71 cm

h430 inches/76 cm

h432 inches/ 81 cm

h434 inches/ 86 cm

h437 inches/ 94 cm



h437 inches/ 94 cm

h439 inches/ 99 cm

h441 inches/ 104 cm

h443 inches/ 109 cm

h446 inches/ 1

h44cm extra from body


All garments have been washed several times during the printing/dyeing and manufacturing process.  

CARE for 100% cotton

We recommend cold water machine wash (up to 30 degrees celsius) with a bio detergent and either tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade for all of our 100% cotton garments/homewares (except for quilts).  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.  

Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Cold water wash and low heat drying or line drying in the shade will increase the life of the garment, prolong the vibrancy of the colors and reduce energy use. Shrinkage on all cottons is minimal, approximately 3%.

Garments/homewares are dyed or printed using AZO free, low-impact, pigment or reactive dyes unless otherwise noted.  These dyes are color-fast, but care should still be taken to wash with like colors to retain the vibrancy of the colors.

CARE for 100% cotton quilts

For quilts with cotton fill, we recommend spot or light surface cleaning only with a damp cloth and mild detergent.  Eco-friendly dry cleaning is also recommended. 

CARE for herbal/vegetable dye items

Vegetable dyes are not colorfast and are specifically marked in the product description.  We strongly recommend that all vegetable dye products be washed once before use in a cold water wash with minimal detergent.  Wash separately. Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  Iron on reverse side.  Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Please keep in mind that indigo dye does continually fade over time.  This is the nature of true indigo dye and is not a defect, but rather a sign of the 'living' nature of the dye.

CARE for silk and cotton/silk

For our silk and cotton silk garments/homewares, we also recommend gentle cycle machine wash cold water (up to 30 degrees celsius) or delicate hand washing to increase the life of the garment and reduce the environmental footprint from energy use, detergents and water wastage.  

Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.

Do not use bleach or stain remover.

Dry cleaning using an eco-friendly service is also recommended.

CARE for linen and cotton/linen

For our linen and cotton linen garments/homewares, we also recommend gentle cycle machine wash cold water (up to 30 degrees celsius) or delicate hand washing to increase the life of the garment and reduce the environmental footprint from energy use, detergents and water wastage.  

Tumble dry on low heat or line dry in shade.  

Iron on reverse side of garment following fabric settings.

Do not use bleach or stain remover.