Until recently, architecture was largely a man’s world. But together with Hadid and Kazuyo Sejima of SANAA—the Japanese firm behind the design of New York’s New Museum—Moussavi is one of a handful of women who have joined the trade’s elite band of world-class practitioners, with major commissions and prestigious academic posts. And she has done so on her own terms. In The Function of Form, she compares the impact of Gyrotonic exercises on the body with the fluid forms of contemporary architecture, and she draws similar parallels with the work of fashion designers Azzedine Alaïa, Miuccia Prada, and Hussein Chalayan, all of whom she admires for their innovations with shape and structure.
Antonelli remembers trekking around Venice with Moussavi in scorching heat four years ago when the two were members of the Architecture Biennale jury. “Farshid did so in platforms, balanced by a structured, deceptively sensuous Alaïa skirt and a Chalayan straw hat with aviator sunglasses built into the brim,” Antonelli says. “She was an eye-popping vision.” (Moussavi had persuaded Chalayan to make the hat for her trip after seeing it in his show.) “I often wear skirts, and I always wear heels,” Moussavi says. “The older I become, the more determined I am not to compromise the fact that I am a woman working in a male profession. I feel stronger and more confident by insisting on who I am.”