“I’m a wild child,” said Anna Francesca, who presented her spring collection on the runway at the Stewart Hotel during New York Fashion Week.
The Panamanian designer, who has her own atelier in Panama City, taught herself how to sew and made a purse out of a towel when she was a little girl. These days she runs a custom business out of her atelier, where she designs artistic pieces featuring feathers, fringe and sequins.
“I love flowers, feathers and fringe. I love beading, I love pearls. I love everything with a texture I can play with,” said the designer, whose label is Anna Francesca- Fashion Revolution. “I like doing clothes with movement.”
Anna Francesca said she’d like to start dressing American women and is looking to open specialty store accounts in the U.S.
“Specialty stores have shown interest. I’m looking to have a wholesale business in the U.S.,” said Francesca, whose fashion show audience was comprised of buyers, bloggers, editors and private clients.
Francesca admits she has a rebellious side.
“I don’t like rules. I want to create a world of my own,” said Francesca, who goes by her first and middle names. “I want to bring art back into fashion. I feel art left the fashion world a long time ago. I feel technology kills the art.” Francesca’s designs are like mixed media, and she works with a lot of different textures. Her collection retails from $3,000 to $10,000. Her motto is “Me sabe a CAKE” which means, “I don’t give a damn.”
Francesca had her first New York fashion show seven years ago, and has since shown on and off both in New York and several different fashion weeks over the past few years. She took a break a few years ago to focus on Panama and this season returned to showing in New York.
In Panama, she creates custom dresses for women to wear to weddings and bar mitzvahs, catering to a Jewish clientele there. Her customers come to her atelier, and she’ll conduct one-on-one fittings with them. “I’m super hands on,” she said.
Anna Francesca didn’t attend fashion school and said she’s self-taught. “I started painting and did sculpture at five years old,” she said. She liked to experiment with her hands, and painted on canvas to create her own style.
The designer has six people that she works with in Panama and everything is done by hand. She also does men’s wear.
Francesca said most people in Panama dress very conservatively, so what she offers her clients is something different. “If you want to stand out, you’re definitely my customer,” she said. She plans to show in Panama on Oct. 12.
For spring, she created a story and then designed the clothes to fit into the story. Her story dealt with a young girl who falls down a hole and lands in a forest, and then passes through a desert, a magical fairyland filled with flowers and butterflies, and then a wintry, snowy ice land. She said future collections will focus on one of these themes, rather than all of them.
Her collection, which she finances herself, features antique lace in some of the dresses, and a lot of tulle. “I love tulle,” said Francesca. She gets her fabrics from New York, India and thrift stores, among other places.