December 1, 2013, PICTURES

Look outrageously good, get everything wrong and do the right thing

Anna & Sophie Meier of enSoie

Smiling in Silk: Anna Meier of En Soie read and see more on: http://playlust.net/smiling-in-silk

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“Art and fashion are not good enough. It takes sustainability to dress the tomorrow”. The opening lines of enSoie’s Sustainable Collection manifesto come to life in Anna Meier’s bathtub. The 23 years-old dyes a summery breeze of a dress made of Indian organic mulberry silk with madder. “We were curious to see how they used to dye fabrics a hundert years ago“, her sister Sophie explains the inspiration. “You could even eat this collection“, Anna assures. It certainly looks eye candy.

Smiling in Silk: Anna & Sophie Meier of En Soie read and see more on: http://playlust.net/smiling-in-silk

© Play Hunter


Oh the stubborness

The Meiers resist the basic laws of contemporary fashion in almost serene defiance: “We have never ever thrown any fabrics away“, Anna pinpoints the core values of the Zurich-based family firm, “instead, we try to make new things out of them. The collection What Goes Around Comes Around for example originated in a shirt that arrived in a completey wrong cut, due to a production mistake. We repurposed it into a bag.“ It sold so well, it’s been re-edited time and again with a fix cut. Further breaches against cut-throat industry practises include a stubborn insistence on traditional craftmanship – scarves are handprinted in the village of Mitlödi in Canton of Glarus. The label has collaborated with the same Indian manufacturers for 30 years. Oeko-Tex and environmentally-friendly standards apply throughout all production processes. With equal determination, the sister-act stripped enSoie off all baroque and costumey-elements, making it look young and now again.

Their 2012 runway-debut was all flying foulards and bumping beats. A shock of a collection, beautiful and light like a butterfly fluttering towards tomorrow. Front-row watched with bated breath. Fashion folks & hip-kids love the signature logoprint-sweatshirts, jumpsuits in alloverletterprint and oversize-coats in cashmere and raglan. In 2013, enSoie opened a dépendence in L.A. Set in the creative heart of Silverlake, it is run by the eldest Meier sister Eleonore and her filmmaker-husband Rafael Palazio Illingworth. Before long, actor Kirsten Dunst dropped by and snapped up a dress. The paparazzi-pics instantly hit the important fashion sites. Which all rather begs the question why the fashion industry still remains stuck on the evolutionary level of the fat, ugly, insatiable caterpillar. Anna takes a diver.

Smiling in Silk: Anna & Sophie Meier of En Soie read and see more on: http://playlust.net/smiling-in-silk

© Play Hunter


Sailing in silk

The story of enSoie began with nothing and an abundance of bales in mid-seventies Zurich: the silk manufacturers, who since the 16th century had brought about prosperity and prominence to the city, were hit fatally by the economic crisis. One by one they sank. Monique Leuthold however stayed on board. The mother of Anna and Sophie took over the helm of silkhouse Rudolf Brauchbar, which had supplied couturiers in Rome and Paris with extravagant fabrics since 1896. Introducing silk-scarves and cutting-edge prints, the new captain set sail to the Meditarrenean, the Sehnsuchtsort, or mental place-to-be if you were young, beautiful and angry in early eighties Zurich, which, at the time, felt infinitely grey, old and polar-cold. Fellow buccaneers and scarf-designers included Peter Fischli (of art-duo Fischli & Weiss) as well as husband & living Gesamtkunstwerk Dieter Meier. Before soon, the silk emporium expanded into clothes, accessories and ceramics. Anna, Sophie, Eleonore and their little brother Francis grew up in the new flagship in Strehlgasse 26, posing for look books, lending a helping hand in the shop and occasionally performed in their father’s Yello music videos. It was the perfect fashion education.

Smiling in Silk: Sophie Meier of En Soie read and see more on: http://playlust.net/smiling-in-silk

© Play Hunter


One-size for all

Anna’s dress has dried into a shimmery shade of red. Past old paintings of proud Indian noblemen, we fly down the wooden stairs to the first floor. The hectic heart of the family emporium is dressed in old Brauchbar pattern books, scarves by the case, a mini-library, an elderly iMac, and a splendidly unblocked view on the old town. In the corridor, next to a sock-framed oil-portrait of Dieter Meier, the rail with the one-size summer collection waits. While Monique and Anna take creative direction, Sophie, who knows what sells, what doesn’t and why, decides over the all important details such as the right collar length. The rest is down to discussions, which at times can be epic. There’s no time for that now. Anna and Sophie must go back to work in the shop. I begin to understand enSoie philosophy: a life without smiling is possible. But pointless.

Dieter Meier read and see more on: http://playlust.net/smiling-in-silk

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