Dutch designer Anne de Grijff started her first atelier in an old chewing gum factory with two artists and a product designer, but decided to move her studio to a space in the center of Amsterdam at the Rozengracht. She also teaches at the Rietveld Art Academy, so this workspace makes it easier for her to switch locations.
She studied at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, though ‘fashion’ and wearability are not her starting points. It sets off with an idea and then develops into a shape and a wearable product. For Anne it is more important to work with the distinctive properties of a fabric and she likes to see how a garment moves, or takes a certain posture. Volumes and pleats are her signature -her A/W ’12 collection has strong horizontal and vertical pleats, colour only shows by folding or layering the fabric in a certain way- as is the manipulation of the materials she works with: “For me it is pleasant to be able to calculate and understand the process from the uncontrolled to the controlled.”
Teaching at Rietveld also contributes to her growth as a designer. She says: “Fashion is not a major in the first year, it’s merely a direction to specialize in at a later stage, so the students are autonomous and original, which is very inspiring.
De Grijff is one of these non-conformist designers, who are guided by originality and the unexpected, like well known designers as Martin Margiela (in his early years), Ann Demeulemeester, Yohji Yamamoto or Raf Simons. But she is also realistic and has the ambition to stand at the helm of her own ‘maison’: “I would like to hear people say ‘It’s an Anne de Grijff’, and expand my label with a menswear collection and accessories.”.
Shoes and Jazz
She has an obsession for shoes, and owns about 50 pairs in different price ranges. Yet, Anne likes her shoes to be experimental and different (like the Margiela’s with the camel toe). Sometimes she buys them just to add to the collection as they were pieces of art: “I don’t buy so much clothes, I usually wear my own designs. Though, shoes give my designs a new dimension.”
Something else she has a passion for is jazz music: “Especially the vintage kind, like John Coltrane or Thelonious Monk. Altered with some Radiohead and Portishead.”
Instead of hitting the clubs, she’d rather enjoy a live jazz performance. To relax, Anne likes strolling down the waterside, take a long walk to the office, or practice some yoga.
•Sprmrkt, Rozengracht 191
•Van Ravenstein, Keizersgracht 359
•Ennu, Cornelis Schuytstraat 15
•Margreet Oltshoorn, Witte de Withstraat 5, Rotterdam. Anne: “She’s like my alter ego! When I held my showroom in Paris she put on the whole collection and it fitted her perfectly!”
•Cobra, Klein Lombardije 2, Den Bosch
•RA, Kloosterstraat 13, Antwerpen
Going out (for the live jazz sessions)
NEL, Amstelveld 12
Coffee Company, Nieuwmarkt or Nes
The steel installation where she displays her designs is somewhat unusual. She tells us: “My collection was sold at RA in Antwerp around Christmas, and for the occasion they’ve asked me to make a specific ‘display’ for my designs, a bit shaped like a house. Our intern at Zoo magazine was from Antwerp and created the installation. We took it back from Antwerp to Amsterdam, but when we wanted to move it into the office at first it didn’t fit through a door or window, and we had to leave it at the Rietveld. We had to demount it first before we could move it.”
© The Digitalistas.com
Interview: Karine Bloem
Photography: Elisah Jacobs