Anne Fontaine: Meet the Maker Q&A

Fashion

Talking exclusively to French designer Anne Fontaine, we discover the craftsmanship behind the brand’s iconic white shirt, re-embroidered lace and the foundations of its universal feminine designs encompassing its Maison de Couture.

Bicester Village

Anne Fontaine Q&A Fall/SS18

 

What inspired the classic white shirt that is a staple of your brand?

I wanted this piece, which usually belongs to the masculine wardrobe, to become an essential for women! White shirts have a timeless elegance; it’s an item that every woman can play with to create her own identity and express her own creativity. Nothing is sexier than a woman in a white shirt.

 

You’ve created a unique range of designs with ample amounts of versatility in every piece. What are your favourites from the spring/summer 2018 collection?

My favourite thing from this season would be my line of luxury accessories that complement the staple themes throughout this spring/summer 2018 collection. The intricate detailing of bows, stripes, studs, and florals recreate the experiences of my travels. The collection includes handbags, collars, shoes, belts and cufflinks, which complete the wardrobe of the modern woman on-the-go.

 

What has made you so passionate about design? Is there a crucial moment in your life that inspired ‘The White Shirt’?

In fact, the story of Anne Fontaine is a love story. It is how the encounter with my husband has permitted us to create our Maison de Couture. When we met, he was already in the fashion industry. He had inherited a garment factory that created men's shirts in Brittany, a region of France.
Unfortunately, that business was slowing down but my husband had grown very attached to his factory. I felt I wanted to give the garments a second life and change the French savoir-faire. I had the idea to create a women's white shirt! At first, we worked for several other brands. Then, we finally had the opportunity to launch our own brand. We opened the doors to our first store on Rue des Saints-Pères in Paris. 
Since then we have always worked together. I am currently in charge of style, design and garment creation. My husband takes part in the brand development and marketing side. Today, Anne Fontaine has 80 stores worldwide, 450 multi-brand clients, and a subsidiary in both the USA and China.

 

From beginning to end, what is your favourite moment in the creation process?

I am always excited to launch a new collection. I really do like all the steps of the creation process although my favourite one is when I'm working with fabric and drape it on the model or myself. It can be said that it is the specific moment the design comes to life. 

 

Which trends are being enhanced this season?

Elegance, strength and grace are all key elements of fashion that seem to transcend both time and trends. My spring/summer 2018 collection is an exploration into my love and passion for nature. Each new style has been thoughtfully curated and inspired by my travels throughout the world. In this new collection we take a journey to my native Brazil and take a jaunt to the seaside to the beaches of Normandy.

The influence of Latin style in the spring/summer 2018 collection is shown through tropical floral prints, jewelled emeralds, deep reds, conquistador-style jackets and openwork skirts. The Latin influence is deep, rich, colourful and even flavourful in the way it captures a certain spirit synonymous of São Paulo. At the heart of every new style in this collection is a true understanding and devotion to Latin culture.

The influence of luxurious seaside getaways in the new collection is shown through nautical stripes, breezy, summer silhouettes and new colours of pastels, muted sand and blues from sky to navy. The new striped pieces lend the classical styling of nautical fashion in updated and effortless silhouettes. The colours of muted sand are reminiscent of the sandy beaches and the creamy pastel shades casts us off to new style horizons.

Travel to Honfleur to the atelier to discover the craftsmanship and explore the updated details of classic styles. Exaggerated ruffles and voluminous flounces play off the delicate lace and intricate embroidery to create an androgynous balance.

 

After nature, what is your biggest inspiration? Where did you get your ideas for the trends for this season?

The 2018 Fall-Winter collection is inspired by my fondness for Paris and Morocco. By combining my passion for nature and my love of art, I have created a collection of bold and enchanting ensembles inspired by one of my favorite cities, Marrakesh. I channeled my dedication towards the preservation of the environment along with inspiration from my travels to create a vibrant color palate. The enriching hues of Garden Green and Purple Grape represent the collection’s ode to nature. My use of masculine tailored silhouettes gives the collection sophistication, while contrasting feminine fabrics such as lace give it seduction. The combination of these two elements is a representation of the liberation of women. By drawing from the culture and art of Marrakesh, I have created an aesthetic with jacquard motifs and embroidered details. Follow me on my journey through Marrakesh this Fall-Winter and see my inspirational art of living come to life.

 

It seems that you are very devoted to nature, how do you foresee the future of our environment?

When I was younger I was always committed to my country's environmental cause. I really liked being an activist and helping NGOs as frequently as I could. During my life I had many opportunities to grow in a different direction. However, now that my company has reached maturity, I feel that it's time for me to demonstrate how I can leave my children and my children’s children a healthy planet.

That's why I created the Anne Fontaine Foundation in 2011. The aim of the Anne Fontaine Foundation is to contribute to the reforestation and protection of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest – the Mata Atlântica – by raising awareness of environmental issues through art and fashion. The Foundation aims to educate the public by organising artistic events in different schools involving sculptors, painters and photographers. The foundation works and supports reforestation programmes implemented by local NGOs.

I would like my three girls to be able to know this forest and to respect others while respecting nature and themselves. Future generations are the key to sustainability on earth.

 

Discover the iconic style at the Anne Fontaine boutique at Bicester Village.

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