Barbeue and garden party season is here, the time of year when loud prints and shocking patterns are expected. Hawaiian shirts and polka dots not your thing? Perhaps a pair of sloth shorts, a sickle-cell skirt, or an asparagus button-up will suit.
These are the “strange organisms” adorning the work of Czech designer Anna Šebestová’s label Annanemone which we discovered at Prague Design Week last month.
A stand out among the usual severe cuts and abstract prints of the local designerati, Anna’s casual wear creations are at turns comfortable and conversation-starting. She also uses models who aren’t cookie-cutter glam, like her 92-year-old grandfather, Vladimír.
“The whole idea behind Annanemone is that it’s inspired by less popular aspects of nature, things you don’t normally see on clothes and in interiors. Why shouldn’t cockroaches or armadillos get a chance to decorate a jumpsuit or bedsheets?” the young designer says.
A lifelong Prague native and graduate of the Prague British School who studied fine art and textile design in the UK, Šebestová works from old illustrations of plants and animals to populate her fascinating world with the irregular beauty of woolly mammoths, aubergines, and slugs.
She cites the sketches of German biologist Ernst Haeckel and London-based illustrator Katie Scott as well as Czech artist Adolf Born, French painter Raoul Dufy, and English-textile designer William Morris whom she calls “one of the true greats,” as informing her work both visually and in terms of technique.
Describing how she makes each garment, Šebestová told us, “Every pattern is hand-drawn or painted using colored pencils, pens or felt tip pens, and watercolours then scanned and replicated in Photoshop.” The images are then digitally printed in the Czech Republic onto cotton of various weaves and weights.
Šebestová designs an assortment of styles for men, women, and kids including dresses, neckties, and swim suits. She has also begun printing notebooks and hopes to eventually debut a line of wallpaper.
Patterns are derived from Czech culture, too: “rohlík and houska” prints feature the popular bread rolls amid a scattering of poppyseeds, and a carp design appears on aprons and oven mitts. Mushroom, physallis, and chestnut motifs also recall the Czech countryside.
Sloth, asparagus, and armadillo remain the universal bestsellers, she says.
Unfortunately for her growing fan base, Šebestová won’t be popping up at another Prague market anytime soon (“I want to concentrate on my on-line presence and keep reaching out to an international audience,” she told us). Her new summer line can be viewed at her workshop in Vršovice and is available on her Etsy shop.
“In the future I would love to have a shop in Prague but that’s more of a dream for now. The plan is to reach out to some of my favorite stores abroad and see if they want to collaborate.”
Prices are affordable and clothes are available in larger sizes, a rarity in the world of Czech fashion – just like the Annanemone brand and its founder.