Interview by Deanna Lopes
Photo credit - J1S Photography
Cee and Ana model their own designs
Published in the Summer 2014 issue of Triangle Style
Brooklyn-based designers Ana and Cee aren’t afraid to push boundaries when designing for the bold, strong women who wear their clothes. The edgy style of their line ANARKH has caught on with fashion lovers across the Triangle who appreciate their originality and attention to detail. While showcasing their latest collection at CT Weekends in Cameron Village, Ana and Cee discussed their inspiration and explained the interesting way their creative styles come together to create ANARKH.
How would you describe ANARKH?
Ana: ANARKH means fate in Ancient Greek according to Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo. It’s also an abbreviation of my first, middle and last names.
Cee: ANARKH is European style meets American sensibility. Its taking what we like best about styles around the world and melding them together into beautiful pieces that are comfortable and wearable.
A: The feel and look of ANARKH are based upon two very important women in my life. One of them is a lady going to Paris to be fitted for a Balenciaga gown while Cristobal was still alive. Her style, even at that time, was pushing the limits, even if it was a gown. She had that spunk and attitude. The other woman is my mother, who was a big fan of Vivienne Westwood, the 80’s and loved to break rules. The mix of those two influence what we do right now.
We don’t want women to wear our garments once and never again, so we try to play with our designs and make it so that once piece can be worn many different ways. Change your shoes and lipstick and you can go from work during the day to a party in the evening. We love our sweatpants but that’s not what we want to be in all the time, so we try to create the feel of it. Its comfort first and foremost, then everything else just has to look fabulous.
How did you meet and start ANARKH?
A: We met in 2004 while we were briefly working for a French designer in New York and we became friends. We both loved fashion, but it had nothing to do with our friendship. Cee started wearing the clothes that I was making for two seasons and she looked fantastic in them. She had the attitude, the look and everything that goes with it. Cee is also an artist in her own way, as an accessories designer. We began working together when I needed some bags and she created this amazing design for my collection. We started ANARKH in 2007. A department store in New York carried our Spring/Summer line and it just took off and became very successful.
How do your design aesthetics work together?
C: We influence each other in exciting ways because our ideas come from very different starting points and then they start coming together, and mixing and playing around. We feed off of each other’s aesthetics and we definitely have very different approaches to design, but we feel that they go together really well. We are still surprising each other after ten years!
A: I’m in a fantasy and she’s in reality. Her reality and connection with nature links with the fantasy world inside my head and that becomes ANARKH. It’s like a surrealist painting that you look at and have to interpret for your self. You look at a garment and it’s up to you how you’re going to wear it and how you’re going to approach it. We love seeing the different ways ladies put together an outfit using our pieces and interpreting them their own ways with whatever they have.
Where do you find your inspiration?
A: In a moment, I can see something and know exactly what the collection is going to be. The inspiration behind anything we do always starts with art, in any form. Usually just one element will come through. Maybe it becomes a print that we do, or a shape, or silhouette. A lot of times it’s what I’m watching. I was obsessed with Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones when I was working on the Spring/Summer 2014 collection.
C: I love geometry and nature. I’m sort of obsessed with macro photography and I always want to get as close as possible. I love seeing things from a centimeter away because it totally changes what you’re looking at and it throws off your sense of familiarity. I like looking at everyday scenes or objects and trying to see them in a different way.
What type of woman do you design for?
A: One with an attitude. We do not dress for a certain age, body type or style. We dress an attitude, one that’s daring and fun.
C: Bold, strong women who aren’t afraid. They know their style and they know what they like.
A: It doesn’t mean that they’re harsh and that they’re in control of everything, but its just women who have inner strength. They dress for each other, and those are the women we like.
How is ANARKH different from other designer brands?
A: Well first of all, other brands don’t have us. Second of all, it’s all made in New York, and that’s ones thing we’re proud of. It is a big deal for our clients too, that we are trying to bring business back to New York and the US.
Our goal is to dress a real woman, not a model on the runway or in a picture, even though we have to do that sometimes. We have to create garments that will look fabulous on beautiful young models as well as real people who are all different shapes, sizes and ages.
It’s like retouching for a photographer. The body needs to be perfected by clothes.
Click here to find out where you can shop ANARKH!