PARIS — Anne-Valerie Hash stands amid the construction mess choking her future Right Bank studio. The air reeks of lacquer, and wires and wood lie pell-mell around the 5,000-square-foot space — a notorious bordello in the Thirties.
This is a loaded moment for Hash — who also happens to be four months pregnant — as she prepares for the move from her former, much smaller digs.
“I like taking risks,” quips the gregarious 35-year-old. “It gives me energy.”
Known for her masculine-feminine style, Hash is somewhat of a rarity on the French fashion scene: a young independent designer with business savvy.
“Since I started, my number-one concern has been to make a product,” Hash says of the variety of prices and styles she offers. They start with the expensive so-called handmade couture line, which accounts for about 20 percent of sales, and is rounded out with high-end ready-to-wear, T-shirt and jersey lines. In her couture line that she showed here Monday, Hash moved her look even further into feminine territory, with dresses of gathered lace and billowing silk, offset with sartorial elements such as tailored jackets and men’s-style trousers.
“My work is based on cut,” she explains. “And the feminine-masculine dichotomy has been very important. But it’s safe to say that I’ve become more feminine recently.”
This spring she launched a small collection of shoes, and she also is considering adding men’s wear while developing her cashmere and accessories offerings.
“I want to expand my presence in the United States,” she says. “We’re doing well in Asia, Japan and Russia. But there’s room to grow in America.”
Hash’s business last year generated 1.5 million euros, or $1.8 million, in revenues, and is on a good growth track, having doubled sales last season. One of her strong suits has been to show during the Paris couture schedule, opting out of the crowded rtw fray.
“It’s been an advantage,” she allows. “I’ve been able to get more press attention and my delivery schedule is earlier than most. In December, I’m delivering spring, and in July, stores get my fall shipment.
She adds, “I’m very happy about where I am today. I’ve been able to grow slowly, on my own terms, and now I’m very optimistic about the future.”