What was the moment you realized you wanted to be a designer?
Becoming a designer has been an evolution. As an only child of artists I entertained myself by drawing and painting and had my first gallery exhibition when I was 10. The 2-D form evolved into 3-D design by high school. My free time was spent working in my father’s architectural office where I designed a round geothermal, solar home with a 2 floor green house for my senior project. At university I studied ceramics and photography and my goal was to be a photojournalist. It wasn’t until I had my first child that I returned to design.
What or who inspired you to start AnaKatarina?
AnaKatarina was launched at a very auspicious time in my life. I was starting over as a single mother at 40 and feeling empowered and full of creativity. As a bespoke designer, I had always enjoyed the process of creating pieces for my clients, but was conscious of the voice in my head telling me there was more to explore. AnaKatarina became an outlet for this creative voice and to the ageless and vibrant energy of women who inspire me.
Talk about your process –what does it encompass and what sets it apart?
My creative process starts with a period during which I play with the design concept in my head for days- sometimes weeks- before I sit down to draw. A lexicon of emotions, music, and designs spanning from antiquity to modern inspires my work. Once in my studio I start to flesh it all out and build on my ideas. I find early in the morning or very late at night to be my most creative times.
What inspired your current collection?
This collection is a nod to the iconic novella and Velvet Underground song, ‘Venus in Furs’. It taps into the feminine mystique- the duality of seductive and demure. I listened to Jun Miyake’s Lillies of the Valley incessantly while I designed. It’s this effervescent blend of staccato and jazz, but it retains a hypnotizing elegance in its baseline. Visually this transpired into choosing the black opals, from Lightning Ridge Australia, and the fire and pink opals from Mexico.
What feeling are you looking to evoke with your collection?
I want my jewelry to translate into personal signatures, future heirlooms worn on everyday occasions.
What is the reason you choose to incorporate specific Motifs such as your signature into your collection?
My inspirations often come from antiquity and architecture from the Levant and the Orient. A sarcophagus painting of papyrus inspired the Venus and Furs collection. The design was minimalist, organic and sensual. My parents definitely influenced my signature style. My mother is an abstract painter whose work is bold, sensual, organic and colorful. My father was an architect in Gropius’ firm and later he designed for the royal families in Saudi and Kuwait. My work strikes a balance between the organic, sensual, and minimalist linear form.
Tell us more please on your corporate social responsibilities.
AnaKatarina corporate and social responsibilities were influenced by my experience as a war correspondent in Sarajevo. It is our goal to protect both the earth and its people through following fair trade and environmentally responsible procedures to source all of our materials. As a member of the Ethical Metalsmiths and American Gem Trade Association, it was a conscious decision to use 18k recycled gold and palladium, as well as free and fair trade precious stones, diamonds, and fossils.
AnaKatarina fine jewelry is dedicated to sustainable business practices. All of our work is handcrafted in New York City with a team of artisans overseen by a former Harry Winston master jeweler. The brand is dedicated to achieving the highest standards in quality and sustainability. AnaKatarina supports fair trade and strict labor and safety practices for all of its partnerships.
What has been the hardest thing you have experienced starting up your business?
The hardest and also the easiest decision was to launch AnaKatarina. There was a tipping point when the fear of remaining an exclusively custom bespoke designer was outweighed by all of the possibilities of becoming an entrepreneur. Once I overcame this hurdle there was no choice but to succeed.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
This is an interesting question. I have been very blessed to have many wonderful clients and editors who have supported my work over the last 7 years. I count each of these moments as achievements. From a design perspective I do not feel I have even scratched the surface of what can be achieved. The more I design, the more I learn and the more design possibilities present themselves. It is an upward spiral of design energy, which is limitless.
Where would you like to see yourself and AnaKatarina in five years’ time?
I see myself evolving as a designer, a mother, and a human being. All three evolve separately but influence each other. AnaKatarina will continue to be a luxury brand which redefines design through the synthesis of many artistic elements. We will continue to push the boundaries plan to collaborate with various non-profits to help bring attention to their campaigns and helping women’s collectives create sustainable businesses. I would like to eventually expand the brand into furniture and home accessory design.
What is the key difference between your range and other jewellery ranges?
The element of design style, the quality of my master jeweler’s workmanship and finish and the sustainable / fair trade sourcing of the materials. The latter gives my jewelry good karma.
Name your favorite city in the world and why?
Hard question…I am a first generation American raised between the States and Europe, who lived as an adult in the Levant and the Middle East. There are so many cities that captured my heart and live in my memories. If I were to pick one, it would be Istanbul. The city is alive with the energy of history, culture and the arts.
Which designers, artists, and creatives do you admire?
My parents are my biggest inspirations. My architect / sculptor father taught me line, sculptural form and ergonomics while my painter mother taught me visceral expression and color. I also venerate the work of Oscar Niemeyer, Iris Apfel and Yves Saint Laurent.
What excites you?
Spending time with my children. Sharing an intimate moment and laughter with friends. The natural world. Music. A kiss. Discovering something or someone new. Travel. Art. Science. Knowledge. Stories. Shall I go on?
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I live a simple life and prefer simple pleasures.
The best gift you have given?
Unconditional love to my three daughters.
The best gift you have received?
Life. Freedom. Peace…..oh and shoes. I love shoes.
Which celebrity would you see wearing AnaKatarina jewelry?
Angelina Jolie. She represents the courage to love, to speak out for the unprotected and to be authentically herself.
Haute Elan is the premier destination for luxury modest fashion housing the collections of over 150 designers and boutiques from across the world, uniting women through their common love of fashion and the elegant modest form. Shop the collections now at www.haute-elan.com.