A CONVERSATION WITH ANNE VEST

Interview with Marlo Saalmink

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A layered composition of lushness.

The fall has set in, here in the North. Its arrival is immanent and always without any hesitation. What better way to counter these heavy skies, by looking ahead at those first rays of sun; swaying the streets covered in lighter layering, when spring comes. The recent Paris Femmes Fashion Week was filled with contrast, in texture, fabrics, colours and expressive silhouettes. As seemed rather traditional, most Spring Summer collections played with the essence of effeminate dressing, often through an appraisal of deconstruction, understatement and opulent daywear. Whereas, the North is known for many things, luxury is not being one of them, it was a pleasant surprise to encounter a designer celebrating the better things in life, through her selection of shearlings, lightweight fur, sleek leathers, breezy jersey and structured wools. We found a special Nordic atelier, working from traditional craftsmanship, pushing the boundaries of chic wardrobes. Meet Anne Vest.

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Anne, a pleasure speaking with you. As I always like to do, lets start with your humble beginnings, where did you grow up and how did you shape your path until now?

Well, I come from a very creative family, for whom it was only natural to start your own business. My surroundings of Jutland (West-Denmark) in the 70’s, when everything had to be homemade, meant that from an early age I managed to create my own clothes. My parents encouraged me to develop my creativity further across various artistic disciplines. Paris was also key in my journey. When you want to make high-end fashion, you need to have been in an environment where luxury is a part of everyday living. In Paris, I was able to work with the best craftsmen in the business in terms of leather and fur – people I still collaborate with today. As a designer, I rarely plan far ahead, but work very impulsively. ANNE VEST may in retro-perspective show a path, but nobody knows what future ANNE VEST collections may look like.

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You work from a very minimalistic colour composite. Could you depict what triggers you in whites, greys and most importantly the colour black?

Actually, I see much positivity and warmth in the colour black. So despite my palette being minimalistic and toned-coordinated, my universe and very stone-rock inspired designs all come from a curious place. I work passionately with shearling and leather so earthly tones come natural in each collection. Next to this, my rather calm state of mind, allows for crisp whites, subtle greys and of course blacks, to play important parts in the garments. Furthermore, feeling beautiful, in my opinion, erupts from the outlook you have on the world and I personally find curiosity is much sexier than self-confidence.

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When I saw the collection in Paris, what is striking is the interplay of textures and the opulent selection of fabrics and materials, could you describe this process to me?

When we close our eyes and run our fingers over natural materials, this evokes something animalistic in us, which has always inspired me in my work process. I find more possibilities in texture than color and the selection of fabrics support this tangible approach. I am to trigger the senses, which constitutes really luxury to me. This is from where the collections are released for me. Touch connecting with our sensory approach.

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Your design studio is based between Denmark and Istanbul. Two most opposing cities, could you elaborate on your creative process and the connection with the Turkish atelier?

Istanbul and Copenhagen are anti-poles in more way than one. Nesting in a more understated Nordic country, allows for Istanbul to feed me with another mentality and profound openness, which I love. The birth of a collection is a play-full time for me and in our atelier in Istanbul I am able to stretch this period far into the actual production – allowing styles to evolve quite late in the process. I always work very close with the manufactures on each style, since the craftsmanship is what I find most important.. A strength, I hope shines through in my silhouettes.

ANNE_VEST_SS15_3482Anne Vest embraces a clean, yet quite sensual silhouette. What did you feel and whom did you think of when designing this collection?

For each collection, I always work from a personal need. My designs are a one hundred percent reflection of what I would like to wear. The Nordic ambience combined with a more urban femininity is fundamental in my work process. Some of my designs may at first appear a bit androgynous or strict, however when worn the sensual feel is evident and ever-present.

Womenswear is all about tailoring, traditions and contemporary dialogues. Do you feel form follows function or can they co-exist? And hooking into this, what means utility in design to you?

Tailoring and the contemporary dialogue are important tools in fashion, if absent fashion looses its justification. Function will always challenge form, for me that predicament is the core of designing garments. Silhouette and the tribute to the feminine form are inevitable to any ANNE VEST style, and I think we have clearly shown their beautiful co-existence throughout our collections. The level of utility in design differs from market to market, and some silhouettes may co-exist easier with utility than others. This only makes designing so much more exciting.

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All images by: Hordur Ingason.

Fashion is also about a connection. How do you connect with your audience?

Personally, I would like to think that I connect to my audience on a creative level. My designs are for women that live a curious life and for whom personal expression is a natural part of their personality. As I do myself. Not to be considered shallow, but we use clothes to complete our appearance.

Lastly, if you could reach out to younger designers, trying to make their mark, what would you say to them?

Quite strictly: push hard – and stay original to your own concept. Making it is about eligibility, and that does not come without a sharp eye and persistency.

Thank you so much Anne, a pleasure catching up with you.

It was a pleasure!!

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