With the mere mention of France, an image of high class chic comes to mind. Imagine now that your home is in the South of France just an hour away from Monaco. With the fashion capitals as your backyard,what more could a designer dream of for inspiration? Soshanna Ani grew up in France before making the move to get her Bachelors in Fashion Design in 2009 in England. Since then she has returned to her home and has let it's beauty drive her creative force into a unique line of couture evening wear, cocktail dresses, and wedding gowns. Each of her pieces are made to order for an individual customer. The message she hopes to spread to the fashion world is one of choice : "The message in my clothing is that a woman shouldn’t make excuses for fashion - if she wants to wear a couture gown to go shopping then she should.".
Soshanna's most recent collection "Marie Antoinette" is certainly eye catching. She hopes to expand her brand internationally and we can't wait to see it.
When did you know you wanted to be in the fashion industry?
I think I have always wanted to be a part of the fashion industry. As a child I loved making outfits for my dolls and other toys; of course, back then I used glue and tape to hold it together! I was also really into silk painting, which sparked my love for fashion even more. Once I started at university I discovered just how exciting the fashion industry could be and I knew I had to be a part of it!
How long have you been in the industry?
I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in July 2009, and have been working within the fashion industry since 2007. Throughout university I was commissioned to make garments for clients around Europe and in the last year I have had commissions from around the world.
What is your role in the industry?
I am predominantly a designer, but also cut patterns and make up garments. I focus on couture evening wear, cocktail dresses and wedding gowns, each bringing something different to the industry. I also have a sub-division of my company (Shhh! Couture) that focuses on providing couture latex garments and using latex to make garments that would normally be made with fabrics more associated with cocktail attire.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is exciting and unexpected; it is a way for people to say what they think without using words and to express their surroundings. It is something that appeals to people from all backgrounds, and it is something people around the world can get excited by.
What is your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from a variety of areas. I’m currently living in the south of France, which is one of the main inspirations for me. The colors, textures and scenery here is breathtaking. Being only an hour away from Monaco and Italy certainly helps; the drive alone is stimulating! I also get a lot of inspiration from fabrics - I have quite a collection!
Is there a theme or message in your clothing?
There is no ‘theme’ per se, but a continuous ‘thread’ throughout my collections is the use of luxurious materials, whether it’s a hand made trim, hundreds of Swarovski crystals or designer fabrics. The message in my clothing is that a woman shouldn’t make excuses for fashion - if she wants to wear a couture gown to go shopping then she should.
What makes your clothing/accessories unique?
What makes my clothing unique is the whole concept, from initial design ideas to the final garment being made. I design my garments with so much passion that I truly believe it is felt by the people who wear my clothing.
What is your target demographic?
My target demographic is not women between a certain age, but women with a ‘joie de vivre’ and a love for fashion. She could be 24 and going to a fashion show in New York or she could be 53 and celebrating her wedding anniversary in Paris. The women who wear my garments appreciate textures and movement in fabric, they want to make a statement with what they wear and they want to look fabulous.
Where can readers buy your clothing?
As my evening wear, cocktail dresses and wedding gowns are all hand made from start to finish, they are made to order for each customer. They are sold through my website (www.shoshanna-ani.com) after initial contact has been made and discussions of what you’re looking for have been had. Shhh! Couture is available to buy online through my website, as well as commissions for other bespoke latex garments.
What are the materials you work with, color, patterns, hardware, etc.?
I work with a wide variety of materials including crystals (many thousands a year), designer fabrics (Christian Lacroix is one of my favorites), silks, satins, taffetas, organza’s, chiffons, latex and so many others. I also use a lot of corsetry supplies, particularly with my bridal collection, as well as many metres of ribbon for lacing the corsets.
What is your favorite piece/item you have ever done?
To date, my favorite piece is a two-piece outfit that I had made in three days in the back of a car on my way to have it photographed. It is a navy blue taffeta corset and ball gown skirt with two-tone mauve organza accents.
Quote that defines you in the business or personally.
"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." - Coco Chanel
What is your favorite fashion season?
Autumn/Winter is, for me, the most beautiful season for fashion. I love heavier fabrics like velvet and brocade and winter color palettes appeal to me the most.
How do you feel the recession has affected the fashion industry, if it has at all?
I do think the recession has affected the fashion industry, but maybe not as much as it has affected other areas. What I find with fashion, is that if people want something they will usually find a way to have it.
What trend could you do without this year/season?
Cycling shorts - I just don’t understand the appeal!
What trend do you love this year/season?
Underwear as outerwear - as a corset and bustier enthusiast, I think it is a fantastic trend! It’s hard to pull off and there is a fine line between sultry and trashy, but when done well I think it is a very versatile trend that most women can wear.
Most loved designer/brand?
John Galliano has been a huge influence for me; Dior Couture has shown me to never hold back and to produce work that I am fiercely proud of, whether it is ‘practical’ or not.
What is your most beloved fashion item (accessory, shoes, and clothing)?
Last year I bought the most incredible pair of Chanel wedges; they are a metallic silver wedge which has a mottled texture (almost like a wave effect) and a peep-toe sling back black top section. They are the most beautiful shoes I have ever had the pleasure of seeing, and of course owning.
Being a French Designer, do you feel American and French fashion tend to differ, and if so, how much? How you would you define your country’s fashion?
Being a designer in France has definitely been valuable for me within the industry. I think the French have a natural ‘chic-ness’ about them and they love clothing that has some drama to it. Of course, being in the Haute Couture centre of the world is always exciting and very advantageous when it comes to cutting-edge design. I think that American and French designer fashion is quite similar; seasonal trends are often similar and color palettes are also comparable. Of course, each country has its own interpretations of trends and colors, but in essence I feel they are quite similar.
Do you market in the United States? If not, do you plan to do so?
I’m not marketing my company in the United States as yet, but am hoping to do so in the near future.
What is the most memorable/favorite moment in your fashion career/history?
The most memorable moment in my fashion career so far was when my family saw my first ever collection (inspired by Marie-Antoinette), and I could see how excited they were by it. To hear them say they loved it meant so much to me - it’s a moment I’ll never forget.