Anne Isabella, the Berlin based designer and a nominated semi-finalist for this year's LVMH prize, a prestigious prize for young designers, has developed a keen eye for timeless style. Emphasising the eco-friendly and sustainable, Isabella, who was taught at Central Saint Martins before working with prominent fashion designers such as Jil Sander, Kenzo, and Courreges, has thrown herself into designing whole capsules.
From footwear to clothing and accessories, Isabella is comfortable employing her keen eye for design and patterns to a wide array of materials. The result is alchemic and varied, drawing on sentiments of nostalgia and modern luxury, while remaining grounded in the wearable and versatile.

Developing her practice slowly and intuitively during the pandemic, Isabella has sights set on a whole world of design, her cited influences serve to explain her embrace and engagement with the past, present, and future of fashion. Her latest capsule embraces the natural, tracing the visual elements of shells and taking note of earth tone pigments, the result is funky whilst also being quite sleek. Colourful stripes meet cut outs and culottes, fit for a runway while also remaining accessible. We can imagine the clothes hanging in our closets, friendly enough to pair with existing sweaters and tops. Anne Isabella is for cool girls, not only fit for the runway. Her inflection on the wearability of her designs, between the eco conscious production and the partnership with Rotaro, a company that allows borrowing of high fashion pieces, makes the brand uniquely exciting, fashion for a new age.
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Hi there, thank you for taking the time to speak today. Firstly, congrats on the LVMH semi finalist nomination, what does this accolade mean to you?
To be honest it felt quite humbling to be able to meet so many of the industry's greats. But it was also just a great experience to meet all the other designers and we got along really well, it felt like a small community.
Your work puts emphasis on sustainability, and eco and social consciousness in creation, what inspired this emphasis within your design?
I was starting to educate myself on zero waste and ways to reduce my personal consumption before I started the brand. As I was considering this in my personal life it made its way into my thinking about the brand. It’s something I feel really strongly about, but that I also have to admit is challenging. Whilst I am not always sure that I get it right, I think it’s important to work in a way that you are conscious of your impact.
Launching your brand amidst the pandemic, what challenges were there to surmount and alternatively, what ways did the pandemic influence your production?
I registered the brand about a month before the lock down in Berlin! Presenting the work digitally was quite tough as fashion is so tactile and I love working on little details. Then when you try to present that in a zoom call those details easily get lost especially with the dim lighting I had. So I ended up buying some super bright lights, which helped!
When I speak to other designers, I am aware that I work quite differently when it comes to production. I do everything remotely and don’t travel to deal with production. Having figured out a system during the pandemic, I realised it wasn't necessary for me and that we can still have a personal working relationship remotely.
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Can you describe a bit more in depth your latest capsule, which has drawn on work by artists Julio LeParc and Francisco Sobrino, what is the value in remaining open to a variety of influences?
Starting with a new collection is an opportunity to play. Research and developing ideas are my favourite parts of the process, so it’s quite important to me to take the time to dive into new sources. Each season emphasises different aspects depending on what sparks ideas. Eventually it also becomes about reacting to the research. Julio LeParc and Francisco Sobrino were part of an op-art group, and their work was based on reflections. I was interested in referencing different elements across the collection, whether it was about a particular structure, or the mirror earrings I worked on in collaboration with Inger Grubbe.
Your work is expansive, covering footwear, clothing, and accessories, do you approach designing these separate elements differently, or is your design process fairly standardised?
I would say I approach all designs in the same way, but the end result can feel quite different due to their final function. In many ways I can’t quite help it, and this is also why I was quite keen on working in fashion as it has so many dimensions. For the Spring /Summer 23 collection Gleam, my prints also made their way onto a tablecloth, so I don’t stop at accessories!
Your partnership with Rotaro, which allows users to borrow items for stints, is an interesting and impactful nod to the damaging cyclical nature of the fashion industry. What steps on the whole do you think the industry can take towards sustainability?
What they do at Rotaro is a really interesting approach. In trying to work sustainably, what I am missing at times is a helping hand in navigating the complexities and trade-offs involved, whether it is standards that I can follow or support on how to develop better practices.
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You cite instagram as a positive force for your brand creation, do you think it's a bit of a fickle tool for an artist or have you managed to use it as a means of promoting your brand?
What is great about Instagram is that it gives us all a platform. That said, I think it is sometimes difficult when the platform changes their algorithm or ways of functioning as it becomes quite apparent how dependent we are on it. For my personal experience it has mostly been a help.
You cite 60s and 70s fashion as underpinning your work, what is the allure of that era for you, what do you think is so timeless and interesting about that period of fashion?
From the 1960s I am quite attracted to the space age and mod influences. It is super graphic and I think it’s interesting how it is still a vision of the future that feels relevant today, so it’s interesting to play with past notions of the future. The 1970s have an interesting take on fashion which is almost anti-fashion, and I think it’s fun to mix these notions together. In any case it is two decades, and there is so much to dig into I haven’t run out of references yet. That said, I am not aiming to recreate the past, but merely use it as a source of inspiration.
Your look books are sleek and uncomplicated, do you endeavour to have the clothes speak for themselves, what sort of focus do you place on shoots, how do you select location and models?
My work is quite graphic and textured, so I often feel that creating a complicated location for the shoots could be a little distracting. I am quite into creating small details and I try to bring attention to those and create clear imagery so that you can see the work well. That said I like to work in little elements that hint at a feeling whether it be a pose or hairstyle or flooring. It is also important to me that the images feel warm. I usually shoot the collections in Berlin and we have been mainly shooting in studios and building the set we wanted to use there.
What sort of future collaborations or designs do you have in mind, looking ahead?
I am always super keen on collaborating on furniture, so this is something I would be quite open to.
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