Designer to Know

Roseanna

For childhood friends RoxaneThiery and Anne-Fleur Broudehoux the cliché sentence 'passion for fashion' started at a young age. Already at three or four, the French girls realised, by playing around with magazines and Barbie dolls, that the world of fashion resonated with them deeply. Just before the craziness of Paris Fashion Week took over the girls' hectic schedule, Anne-Fleur took the time to explain their passion to us and talk about their desire for Roseanna to offer clothes that have the power to make every woman happy.

by Chloé Bauwens

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Love, curiosity and comfort. That's what co-designers Roxane and Anne-Fleur pour into their Roseanna collections. While pursuing a career in fashion was evident for both women at a very young age, they didn't immediately set out to start their own label. After graduating from ESMOD/ISEM fashion school in Paris, Anne-Fleur landed her first job at Alberta Ferretti while Roxane set out to work for the then newly launched Ba&sh. After five years of gaining experience, Roxane and Anne-Fleur started to play with the idea of launching their own label. In September 2007, they began Roseanna, which is a merger of both their names, with a swimwear collection. 'It all started as a game really', Anne-Fleur admits. 'We had been best friends for over ten years, we worked in the same industry and had the same passion. Launching a swimwear line together was a fun trial project to test where it could take us. When it turned out to work, we had to start anticipating the future, and we decided to immerse ourselves in the adventure completely.'  

We always say that fashion uses the same seduction as love. It's fragile and delicate, but there's a real beauty when you witness the curiosity someone has for you.

After starting with a successful swimwear collection in 2007, what made you decide to expand into ready-to-wear?
We knew fairly early on, actually from the beginning, that we would want to expand at some point. We were always thinking of what these women, these Roseanna girls, would wear to go to lunch in the village or for a night on the town. We always had a few ready-to-wear pieces in addition to our swimwear line and season after season we tried to enrich these pieces. It wasn't until our autumn/winter collection in 2010 that we had a complete ready-to-wear collection.

So the idea was always there, but you decided to build the process along slow and steady?
Exactly. To do something right, I think it's easier to start with something precise for the woman that we had in mind. In the beginning, we were focused entirely on our spring/summer collections. On the swimwear pieces, the items that could be worn on top of them, the outfits the Roseanna girl needed to transition her outfit from day to night. Step by step we started adding pieces, we got to know our woman on a deeper level, we understood what she needed for autumn/winter as well.

Roseanna has an apparent identity as a brand due to its feminine, fresh and colourful feel. What has been key to building this identity for yourselves?
It's a mixture of things. I'm sure that our slow building process helped a lot. Roseanna is not only a fusion of our names, but it's also a blend of our characters and styles. We will always find a design that works, not for one girl, not for me, not for Roxane, but for the Roseanna girls. I think a lot of women can recognise themselves in that aesthetic. Another critical aspect for our brand's DNA is the heart and conviction we put into it. The love of doing something, of creating what we can find within ourselves.

You stay true to yourselves.
Always. Whatever the current seasonal trend may be, we do us; we do Roseanna. Even when the runways showcases an array of plain colours, we still did prints. We don't change the vision of the brand. The challenging part of staying true to our vision is the fact that we still need to seduce our clients to follow us. Each collection, we need to take them along. We would hate it if the Roseanna girl ever got bored of something. We have to stay true to ourselves, to our style, but at the same time, we need to be innovative, different and surprising. We need to offer something new and exciting. We always say that fashion uses the same seduction as love. It's fragile and delicate, but there's a real beauty when you witness the curiosity someone has for you.

The two of you started out as friends, and you are business partners now. Do you ever clash on the work floor?
Oh yes, a lot! (laugh) It's easy to avoid clashing as friends but as business partners... That's a different story. Changing a relationship from private to professional changes a lot. You have to adjust, to respect and to listen to what the other one has to say. There are a lot of things that you need to learn from each other from the get-go, things you would never know as a friend. Luckily, there are a lot of positive aspects as well. Most importantly the ability to share everything. When you win, you win together. When you have a problem, you can find a solution together. It's a trade. We divide our daily tasks and only work together when we're actually creating the new collection. Aside from that, we each have our daily tasks. Roxane focuses on production, while the commercial images are more my cup of tea. That works for us. Divide and conquer.

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