Being comfortable in your own skin has always been Anna Angseryd’s motto. Her Swedish fashion label Patouf is an exploration of how to blur lines – between masculine and feminine, between tradition and contemporary, between elegance and casual.
Patouf was created in 2009, starting with womenswear and quickly adding men’s collections. The label has always had a androgynous look that eschews temporary trends and disposable fashion. A look through the archive shows pieces that are individual and bold, but relaxed and easy at the same time.
For Spring Summer 2014, Anna has taken inspiration from the imagery surrounding the relationship between Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith whose enigmatic and iconic style are a perfect fit for the Patouf look and philosophy.
Of course, the Smith/Mapplethorpe enduring image is one that transcends any sense of conformity. Mapplethorpe’s large-scale, highly stylized black and white photography with its intricate detail and innate understanding of form and light is never shocking – despite its often explicit subject matter. And with Patti Smith – poetess and rock shaman to this day – they would gravitate through a unified artistic struggle and love affair in a gritty 1970s New York to eventual mythic status for both.
It’s a perfect starting point for a Patouf collection for SS14 that takes the traditional suit and adds zips to the legs to change the shape forming new lines that follow the masculine and feminine contours of the body. The fingerprint patterns that appears throughout the collection explore notions of identity and being comfortable in your own skin. Flashes of colour and spiked heels clash and provide contrast to the sober greys and fluid creams.
Pushing the boundaries by creating contradictions and testing conventions, we’re excited about where this Stockholm based label is taking us! So we thought it would be great to speak to Anna and find out a bit more about Patouf and the designer behind the label.
FLUX: You have just finished showing your SS14 collection. Has the collection been received well?
ANNA ANGSERYD: Yes it has, but we normally have stronger response for the AW collections.
FLUX: Did you have time to do anything other than work in New York and Paris? Did you see any other fashion/culture that you found inspiring?
ANNA ANGSERYD: I normally have more time to do things but It was really all work this time around so I spent the little time I had in between with friends – it’s always very inspiring to me as well.
FLUX: You are based in Sweden. Do you spend most of your time there? What is your workspace like?
ANNA ANGSERYD: Yes I do. I have a studio between Mariatorget and Hornstull in Stockholm. I love my studio and I spend almost all my time there. It’s really quiet while being situated very central and biking distance from my apartment.
FLUX: What are your first memories of fashion? When did you first decide you’d like to become a fashion designer?
ANNA ANGSERYD: I started making clothes for my stuffed animals when I was really young and then a few years later when I was around 7-8 I started making clothes for myself. I think it was always very natural to me since my grandmother and mum made almost all my clothes when I was young. I don’t even remember not thinking about clothes.
FLUX: Am I correct to say this is your first season doing menswear? And it’s a great theme for that to look at the energy between Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. Did you find the transition easy?
ANNA ANGSERYD: The SS14 is actually the 3rd season for my menswear, even though it’s still more of a minicollection based on unisex pieces. I have always worn men’s clothing myself so it was more about going back to my own style than anything else.
FLUX: The Phoenix shoes are just amazing! And I love the other footwear styles too. Where do you get the footwear manufactured? Is it a different process for you?
ANNA ANGSERYD: I make all leather goods in Portugal. It’s a very different process since I can’t make a prototype myself and making samples is really expensive so I can’t afford to make a few styles and pick the best, what I sample I need to use. I also only do about two styles per season and one of them will always be unisex. The shoes need to compliment all the clothes since I never use any other shoes than my own so I spend a bit more time designing the shoes than I would with the clothes.
FLUX: I love the contrast between colour and neutrals, formal and casual in the collection. Do you have a favourite piece from the collection yourself?
ANNA ANGSERYD: My favourite outfit is the Skyler top in cream and gold and the black Haiden suit trousers worn with the Phoenix boots!
For more on the Swedish fashion label Patouf and the SS14 collection see www.patouf.se.
words Claire Lomax