How did you discover ANNA QUAN, and what were your first impressions of the label?
Well, Anna found us, I think?! She had some shirts that had been made off-shore and the buttons were all wrong, so she asked us to replace them all quickly so she could make her delivery deadline, which we did. It was very early days for her brand, but it was exciting to see what she was doing as she was winning awards and garnering accolades right from the beginning. From there, we worked on sampling her next couple of collections, which kept getting better and better.
How would you describe Anna’s signature aesthetic, and what elements of the label are you personally drawn to?
There is a sharp tailored - almost menswear - aesthetic to it, which I love. You can sell me anything tailored. And I love a shirting stripe.
From an established Maker’s perspective (with 20+ business experience), what are the label’s defining pieces?
Every smart dresser should have at least ten Anna Quan shirts in her wardrobe. They are the perfect foundations for so many differing looks and ways of wearing them. Its only upwards from there.
ANNA QUAN is renowned for introducing elevated (and sometimes unexpected) detailing to each collection. Which detailing elements do you believe have become synonymous with the label?
I love the draped elements mixed against the tailoring. It has infinite potential from both a design perspective and for a customer’s ability to mix and match multiple looks over time, as they build their own collections of Anna’s pieces.
Each ANNA QUAN collection is underpinned by a timeless (neutral) colour palette. Comment on the versatility of this directive, and on the label’s considered pops of colour.
Its smart! It allows the Anna Quan wearer to build on their wardrobe and combine pieces from earlier collections with the latest and greatest. Layer upon layer it grows. Even the pop colours are classics, so you can’t lose.
Talk to a memorable conversation or moment that you have shared with Anna.
Anna and I robbed a bank once.
It was a daring midday raid and it was like we were two of the Charlies Angels. Anna was Lucy Liu in a fitted black Anna Quan jacket with matching slouchy pants and the highest of Christian Louboutin gold stiletto’s, which made her as tall as me. I was a male Cameron Diaz in a black Prada suit and matching loafers and we both had a bottle each and glasses of Dom Perignon champagne in our hands as it all happened. We didn’t have a Drew Barrymore sidekick at the time, but we both had our darkest of darkest oversized sunglasses on, so no one would know who we were.
Once we asked for all their cash, the bank tellers actually handed over all the money quite happily as we took crystal glasses out of the bags and poured champagne for them and the other customers as well who were all so sick of waiting in line. Who doesn’t love a glass of Dom Perignon? The Bank Manager, who was also really lovely about it all, said it was all insured anyway, so go for it. We left him the champagne bottles to finish off.
We both said thank you to everyone for remaining calm, clinked our glass in a toast and calmly left. One of the other customers asked if we wanted the champagne glass back on the way out, but we let her keep it. She said ‘thanks for the bubbles! I’ve never had Dom before!” Then we stood outside the bank with our black Botega Veneta leather bags absolutely stuffed with cash falling out everywhere while we waited for the Uber getaway car to arrive. It was the longest four minutes EVER, watching the little car drive around our screens like it was in a pac-man game. Once we were safely away in the Camry, we talked about how it was going to pay for Anna’s production that season – she was so relieved - and I bought a 1982 Mercedes Benz 420SL in black with a cream leather interior. No one gave chase and it was the single most stylish heist in history.
How do you believe that the label has evolved during the last 10 years, and what do you admire most about this evolution?
Anna is growing her brand with consideration and care which is how brands with any chance of longevity are going to have to do it. She is making space in the market for her beautiful tailoring and I think this will be the key to her future success. As long as she doesn’t have to rob another bank.
This indepth discussion continues the celebration of ANNA QUAN's milestone 10 year anniversary, along with the release of never before seen content, an unveiling of our logo rebrand, and an updated take on the label's most iconic shirt, the White Anne Shirt.