BOSTON – French and Brazilian designer Anne Fontaine recently joined with Valéry Freland, the Consul General of France in Boston, to kick off Forest Day 2018 with a fundraiser at the consul’s home. The swanky event raised more than $12,000 toward the goal of planting 100,000 trees by 2022 to reforest the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, the Mata Atlântica.
Boston’s most famous Brazilian supermodel, Gisele Bunchen, was not able to attend, but donated a 15-pound (not a typo!) sparkly, designer, green mini-dress to the Foundation that she wore in San Paolo many years ago. The Anne Fontaine Foundation [/] will auction it off at an upcoming event in Washington, D.C., to raise more money for the cause.
We attendees were invited to meet with Anne and her foundation chair, Dorothee Charles, to hear more about the mission as well as tour the new collection at the Anne Fontaine boutique, located at The Heritage on the Garden on Boylston Street in the Back Bay. (Anne also has a luxe boutique in Beverly Hills.)
Anne, charming as ever, spoke to me about how she is always connected to nature in her collections, so much so that in 2011 she decided to create the Anne Fontaine Foundation in order to save the Amazon Rainforest.
It was lovely touring the new collection, as Anne showed me her very first pair of jeans. Lots of blues, such as a fun flirty blue sweater and of course her signature white shirts which bore the floral theme. Anne raved about a pair of white floral trainers that are flying off the shelves.
I was drawn to the sleeves on this crisp white shirt in the center of the store and the floral lace shirt that the store manager was wearing. Laces are French and from Calais, Anne indicated, from production houses who have been producing lace for more than four generations.
Anne beamed about her new collection: Anne Fontaine Casual. These pieces have a price point of $200 to $300 per shirt rather than the higher boutique of $350 to $395 price point. I respect designers who find ways for those watching their budget to have access to beautiful designs and invest in significant pieces. I fell in love with a mesh jacket with floral appliqués on the sleeves. Apparently all of her staff want this jacket as well! Check out the AnneFontaine site and tell me what you think?
It was a pleasure to spend the afternoon with Anne again, two years later after my first visit and interview with her! She has 52 stores to visit year-round, and Boston is happy to boast being the first stateside store of the brand, and as store manager, Amanda, puts it, “We are the mothership of Anne Fontaine!”
When you think of white shirts, the brand Anne Fontaine comes immediately to mind. I met with the designer during a trip to Boston at her flagship store, 280 Boylston St, Heritage On the Garden. (I tried not to get too distracted by the big orange box on the corner of the street where Hermes is getting its makeover.) Upon entering the cozy boutique, I was drawn to a wall of shirt collars. Anne told me in her shy and sexy portugese accent (her father is French and her mother Brazilian), that the collars developed initially because she uses them in the design process. She has about 3,000 of these collars in her atelier in the North of France–Normandy to be exact.
And she likes to “play” with them, experimenting with the shirt designs by changing the collars. She initially put them up as a gallery in her store in Paris about 5 years ago. They weren’t for sale, just for display, but immediately customers wanted them. A new idea was born, and she started selling the collars as accoutrements to her beautiful shirts. They can be worn over round neck shirts, as well as with strapless gowns–as a sort of collar/necklace, skin showing between the two. Their versatility is endless. I am even reminded of the green beaded collar that Scarlett Johansen wore to the Oscars this year. Anne’s collars tend to stay in the black and/or white color scheme and vary from extremely conservative to supremely fabulous.
Anne is currently working on her Summer 2016 collection. She is inspired by life and the silhouette of the femme fatale–a strong 60’s influence with idols such as Marlene Dietrich serving as muses. The Anne Fontaine woman in her eyes can be a young lady, a mother, a grandmother, anyone who wants their first white shirt.
After studying marine biology, she ended up in fashion and launched the brand in 1993. Anne has always had a passion for nature, and felt that it was time to give back. The Amazon rainforest is close to her heart because she lived there when she was 17. She established the Anne Fontaine Foundation to benefit the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest, an area in peril, and once a year on Forest Day, 50% of the proceeds from any sales in her store go to this charity.
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CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
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