When I first met Anna Heinrichs from Horror Vacui she just had won the H&M scholarship and had shown her first collection at the German Vogue Salon in Berlin.
Her dresses challenged me to wear them on a grey, ice cold winter day and make them blend in and stand out at the same time. Talking to Anna makes you dream and passionate about history, her dresses, sleep & rest and of course how she keeps running her fresh spirits.
IRMA: In which way do comfort and elegance work well together for you? What is your personal advice to perfect this match?
ANNA HEINRICHS: Comfort to me is to feel at ease with yourself and this can be expressed in many different ways. Of course what you wear is one expression of your inner self, but it doesn’t necessarily have to bear only the notion of elegance. Meaning that comfort and elegance are just one feasible way of interpreting fashion. To be honest, there is no perfect match, but rather a match that suits the individual, a match that expresses her/his state of mind at a certain time and that evolves with time.
IRMA: To wear a nightgown or pyjama on the street requires a certain self confidence and the right accessories to mix and match. How do you like to see for example your MINISTA dress on a cloudy autumn day?
ANNA HEINRICHS: To some extent I don’t believe in static dress codes. Of course there has to be love and respect for certain style customs, however these have to always be questioned and re-interpreted. That is the origin of HV, where we took the classic nightwear pieces into a new context. What used to be unicolor, uni-form pieces underwent a complete make-over: colors, prints, shapes…. so much to experiment with and give new life to a garment. Taking this principle to our MINISTA dress on a cloudy autumn day, I would see many different ways for it: why not join it with a classic crisp white shirt and a pair of jeans? Or a turtleneck, corduroy pants and white ankle boots.
IRMA: How do you find inspiration for the details of your garments?
ANNA HEINRICHS: It is mainly in historic portraits and paintings where I find the greatest inspiration. It makes me travel back in time, but with today’s eye, thinking of what would have been if I had been in that picture, lived their lives. What would I have done differently when dressing, moving, posing…. And how can I translate and re-imagine this feeling today, now….
IRMA: Which historical era inspires you most and what did you learn from it?
ANNA HEINRICHS: Generally I love life of the past and everything that is surrounded by history. The way people dressed, the way they interacted with each other, where they got inspiration from and how opulent they portrayed their lifestyle, the unique way of playing with fabrics and details….So I wouldn’t want to just rely on one historic era but on the beauty of the past. And this you profoundly see in paintings.
IRMA: You are a lawyer and decided to switch to you passion, fashion design. Your personal advice for someone who is still uncertain about making such a change?
ANNA HEINRICHS: Always follow your passion – this is possibly the most commonly used phrase, but in the end it applies. Though sometimes you need a series of events, milestones and experiences in your life in order to get to your point of passion. Looking back I must say that if I hadn’t had those different stages in life, including law studies, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Things had to develop that way, taking their time and this includes doing things you don’t like or don’t feel at ease with. So I would always recommend to embrace a learning curve, take the roller-coaster in a positive way and dare to make changes when YOU (and no-one else) feel ready. One thing is for sure: there is never a right or wrong moment to reinvent yourself.
IRMA: What fascinates you most when designing?
ANNA HEINRICHS: I would say that it is probably the process of ‚giving birth‘ to something new which has the potential to emotionally touch someone, ideally to that point that she/he feels the desire for it.
IRMA: Horror Vacui means fear of emptiness. How do you overcome fear in general?
ANNA HEINRICHS: Personally I tend to avoid fear in a positive way. Fear can have a highly creative energy. Why? Because fear teaches you to change, to overcome, to positively impact a situation …. to find a solution.
IRMA: What is on your bedside table right now?
ANNA HEINRICHS: A book of Austrian film-maker and author Rudi Palla called ‘Verschwundene Arbeit – Das Buch der untergegangenen Berufe‘. Guess what: Rudi Palla started his career as an technical engineer before getting into the profession of ‚liberal arts‘….
IRMA: What will be your next day dream?
ANNA HEINRICHS: At the moment so many of my dreams have come true that my daydream abilities have somehow gone on a sabbatical.