Our clothes are more than fabric on our bodies. What we wear becomes part of our lives in an emotional way. We all have a moment in time that’s marked by what we were wearing: our first job interview, first kiss, first bad haircut … Welcome to “What I Wore When,” a series that asks our favorite women what they were wearing during a memorable moment in her life. Today's account: designer Annelise Michelson on what she wore to an important art event.
It was a dinner of businessman/art collector Francois Pinault in Venice during the opening week of the Biennale. My dear friend Olivier Varenne who is both gallerist and curator invited me as his date. He knows I have a deep passion for design and art. I can vividly remember the amazing troubadour singers! It brought all of the guests to another time…we were completely transported!
How I dress typically depends on my mood. I’m either very casual and boyish, wearing high-waisted jeans with a men’s tailored jacket and Vans. Or, I can be very feminine and wear a sexy mini skirt with a body suit. I love Lemaire and Acne for the boyish look, and Wanda Nylon for super feminine yet modern pieces. And, of course, Dries Van Noten because you can find amazing pieces in both the men’s and women’s sections. They have the best colors and prints imaginable.
For this dinner, I knew what I wanted to wear right away: a long, black zipped Wanda Nylon dress from her latest collection. It was casual but super sophisticated at the same time. It made me feel sexy and chic, confident and at ease.
I wore accessories from my own namesake collection as I do every day, very structural large silver earrings and a massive matching cuff from my Déchainée collection. The accessories toughened up the dress in a way, mixing classic with punk but also balancing the structure of the dress.
I always think about dressing with intention, and wearing Wanda was almost like having her with me by my side. If someone asked about my dress, I could mention my dear friend, a pleasure for me to talk about. I can also talk about our design principals and how connected we are in that way
I also think about choosing an outfit to match my mood for the night. This particular outfit was telling a personal story through my clothes; about being casually confident and sexy. It was not “too much” but just enough to engage curiosity and conversation. When you are at this type of event, one that is attended by a myriad of important artists, collectors and personalities, I think you have to represent yourself in the most honest way. After all, these people can see through anything, so the best thing to do is to be the most raw version of yourself.
Ironically, no one said anything to me about my dress. But I think that’s the whole point—sometimes you don’t need the compliment or the acknowledgement of “wearing something” to a special event… It can feel a bit cliché. My outfit did the perfect job by giving me the tools to feel powerful and invincible, without taking the lead. This outfit gave me the room to feel empowered, but also let me shine.
I felt so myself, bold and empowered by my jewelry and confident in Wanda’s expertly cut dress that I found myself in conversation with several artists whom I admire enormously in a very natural way. This was definitely a scenario where I was wearing the outfit, the outfit was not wearing me. Something intrinsically in the whole look was projecting that I was comfortable and easy to approach, but also full of passion, and perhaps a bit opinionated.
As told to Ruthie Friedlander