Anahide Saint André was born in 2012 from a passion for fashion and know-how that had been brewing for a long time. The brand offers luxury and high-end collections for women in exceptional fabrics.
How was this passion born?
Your first memory of creation?
When I was very young, I was drawn to handicrafts and the world of fashion. I really liked cutting papers, fabrics and all things that could be put together. I locked myself away for hours in my mom's little dressing room where I tried on her outfits, her shoes.
My first Dress? Made at the age of 8 on a crush with the brand new curtains in the living room used to make me a dress: an incredible fall, a nice pair of slaps as a bonus, patience and tenacity will more justly reward these first audacity.
How did you get into fashion?
I wanted to be a fashion designer, I studied market finance! Find the mistake! But my whole career has been built around this common thread: sewing, my Ikigai. I started with 7 years of audit in one of the big 5 in the Fashion and Luxury department where I dissected the accounts but also the organizations. Although not very creative, this experience taught me a lot and brought me expertise, rigor and an ability to adapt to any circumstance that still helps me today. I then joined Luxury groups on financial functions then gradually strategic and operational, ST Dupont, Chloé, Baccarat, universes where passion, excellence and know-how constitute the real capital of these companies. At that time, my numerous travels, particularly in Asia, revived in me this desire to create. I seized the opportunity at a somewhat complicated time in my life.
What excites you about fashion?
What interests me in fashion is not the show off side, but the construction of the models, the technical side and all the imagination around a collection. I like to design the lines, work on the details. Color and fabrics are also very important and the way to combine them is fascinating.
Why create your brand?
Creating your own brand is a bit daring, isn't it?
At the beginning of 2010, the desire to found my brand was growing. An emotional shock, the loss of a mentor definitely decided me to start: We only have one life in life, it is more beautiful when we live our dreams.
I seized an opportunity to get started, resumed training in a fashion and stylist school at ESMOD, then at the school of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne while preparing my project. My training in hand and my project presented, I started.
The big challenge is to start from scratch with a blank page, to give up a comfortable standard of living, to leave what we have built for 15 years. It is an effort for my family as well, which has supported me for a long time. It's a huge personal investment but so rewarding: not one day have I regretted this choice: To make your passion your job is an incredible opportunity: I never feel like I'm working. The future will reveal the rest...
What do you like most about your job?
First of all, my greatest pleasure is to come to my studio near Paris, early in the morning. I take my coffee, plan the day which revolves around many topics. What I like is the diversity of this job and the constant questioning, it changes all the time and it really suits me. From the outside, this job seems futile, but it requires great rigor, constant monitoring and an essential reactivity to move forward.
I spend a lot of time drawing, choosing my fabrics, the colors to develop, declining models is a path that is both exciting and painful: you have to choose.
What are your inspirations?
Your great source of inspiration?
Definitely, the Japanese culture: a world that I discovered in the 2000s. It was a key moment and since my job allows me to go there regularly. The history and art of this country, the cult of detail and attention, the harmonious balance of the landscapes in contrast to the bustle of the cities fascinates me. I love walking the streets of Tokyo, finding the little shops in Kyoto that reveal their secrets, the sweetness of life, the little houses. The IKI aesthetic is my powerful resource for the brand. It perfectly reflects my vision of fashion and things.
And the material?
Fabrics, shapes and textures are an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Associated with the know-how of my weavers, pleaters, embroiderers, ideas flow; Then begins a long process of combining shapes and colors guided by a strong theme of inspiration.
In my creations, the fabrics are at the heart of the product: Behind each weave, each print hides a discreet and at the same time so perceptible work of creative, coloristic and technical research which gives the fabric an exceptional character, an incredible drape. These materials allow us to produce beautiful, durable models that acquire a patina without being damaged. To preserve this material, we optimize the cut, and keep the scraps as part of our charitable projects.
What other things inspire you?
My travels, my meetings in Paris or on weekends, my photos feed me a lot. Architecture also inspires me to structure forms, define cuts.
On the sidelines of the world of fashion shows and trendy looks, I draw inspiration from my reading, always on the lookout I discover new concepts, artistic currents during design weeks which guide my creations. The know-how around the haute couture houses, the parades constitute an example for imagining and proposing technical solutions from related trades. I write down all my ideas, regularly enrich them point by point and define the common thread to design each creation by drawing from my fashion and travel diaries.
Present your collections
A timeless and durable wardrobe, destined to become the little favorites of your dressing room. Offering modular or reversible clothing is a game that slips into the collections: a technical and creative pleasure, and the desire to evolve your wardrobe without changing everything.
I think each model to become the favorite clothes of your closet and for a long time: The choice of our fabrics, the finishes of our clothes and the modular dresses mark this desire. Our permanents and in particular our modular or reversible pieces are designed to be kept and evolve your style without changing everything.
Creating luxury clothes: for us, it's an act of generosity: Each product signs the commitment of the stylist and his team. Our luxury is the beautiful, the well finished.
How do you organize your collections?
We produce our pieces in reasonable quantities, able to produce on demand or to measure a piece that is missing, in the available fabric of your choice. This approach allows us to limit the weight of stocks and
Our permanent fabrics allow you to coordinate your favorite pieces over the seasons. We also offer a range of services allowing you to maintain your clothes sustainably.
Our clothes require many hours of painstaking investment. Our small team is mobilized to meet these requirements: There is a lot of value: a job well done, a garment that remains perfect over time. It is also the desire to maintain our French know-how, to support employment in France. And finally the value only on average 2 to 3 times the price of a cheap dress, without holding and thrown in the year. Quality comes at a price but far superior durability.
Our collections are of high quality and go through the years without a wrinkle: Why downgrade them? No destocking or sales.
On the other hand, the loyalty of our customers, their contribution and their commitments are very precious. We reward it within the framework of a privileged and committed loyalty program. During the sales period, a % of the sale price is donated to an association as part of our “Fashion Heart” project.
Why a workshop?
The workshop was obvious from the start, I started on the 2nd floor of my house and was able to quickly set up my workshop in the Métiers d'Art activity hotel in the Potager du Dauphin in Meudon. In the workshop, heritage, the need for transmission is the sinews of war, the teams come together, help each other stimulated by the same passion and the excitement of giving the best of themselves for each model: this the spirit of sharing haute couture techniques, essential in this profession, comes naturally.
It is also a meeting, the pleasure of dressing our beautiful clients in our creations, of seeing them still wearing, proud, several years after their favorite dress; the feeling of having durably transmitted a part of us, of our passion.
The fashion Heart project?
Since its creation, our company has integrated a sustained commitment to charities carrying out important projects for me. This commitment, which is part of the “Fashion Heart” project, aims to support associations and organizations working for women's health and their dignity in the trials of life. These associations, recognized as being of public utility, are selected for their seriousness and their ethics as well as the values and commitment they share with the company.
This is a project that has been close to my heart since the beginning. The materials, I select them for their quality and the work carried out. Impossible to throw away such gems. From the beginning, we kept our scraps of fabric, classified by size, in order to reuse them for this project. In this context, we are committed to donating to partner associations (fight against cancer, prevention of women's heart attacks, help with the reintegration of women) either articles made with fabric scraps or all or part of the margin made on funds raised through the sale of those specific items. During the sales period, a % of the sale price is donated to a partner association.
What advice would you give to a young designer?
Never give up: Believe in your dreams and surround yourself with people who are both caring and sincere.