By Melissa Hekkers
A series of strong clothing lines define the Maison Anna Dorothea brand. “More than just a clothing brand”, Anna Dorothea asserts, her designs “offer a whole lifestyle imbued with luxury, elegance and exclusivity”.
Whether this be her up and coming Miss Dorothy line, her “fur me up” line, her accessories, her haute couture evening dresses or her bridal line, Dorothea presents a sophisticated selection of high-quality, well-tailored garments made with carefully chosen materials that boast her own fabric prints.
Dorothea started in the fashion world at a young age. “From the age of 15 I worked as a professional model, I travelled to many countries in Europe, to China… this was the link that made me enter the world of fashion; I began to work with fashion designers… I saw the whole industry from the inside; that was what made me decide that I wanted to be a fashion designer, to have my own brand,” she explains.
A graduate from the Instituto de design moda lab Milan, where she acquired the title of a ‘young and promising’ creative director, Dorothea then moved on to Central Saint Martins in London where she studied Fashion Marketing and Communication.
In 2012 she presented her first fall-winter collection in Cyprus and began to sell her garments in luxurious boutiques locally and as her brand expands internationally her flagship store is housed in her home town of Limassol.
Looking back, Dorothea says her vision of making it in the fashion world met her expectations. “To be honest, it’s a different thing seeing the whole business and how it works from the inside as opposed to the outside, being in fashion shows and seeing new collections but I knew how the world would be.”
What challenges her nowadays is splitting her time and creativity between the drawing board and her clientele. “It’s different when you work on the designing part of a collection and it’s a different story when you have to speak and communicate with the client. Fortunately or unfortunately, in Cyprus, clients want to meet the designer, so it’s not that I’m just behind an office working and designing; I have to go out there, speak with the clients and meet their demands,” she adds.
Dorothea’s career kicked off with her more casual ready to wear line. “I also did textile design, I design my own prints and send them to Italy for production; all of my things are exclusive with my signature,” she reveals.
Further down the line she began making evening dresses and as she became closer to her clients she evolved in another, different direction: her bridal line.
“My clients told me that I needed to start making wedding dresses; that’s how I started with the bridal line and it’s going really well. All my brides are unique, when you see a bride of mine – and not only brides – you recognise that it’s a Maison Anna Dorothea dress, there’s recognition in my work,” she says.
For the summer season, Dorothea designed couture swimwear designed with a particular lace while every item is hand-stitched. “They’re very exclusive pieces that you can’t wear to the beach every day,” she laughs as she introduces her own accessories line which she produces in Italy, “I choose the exotic leather and the design, and I have them made one by one.”
Currently, she’s launching her new Miss Dorothy line, which she sees to be more accessible to the wider public. “It’s a more economical line because I want to have pieces for everyone and not have a variety of more expensive items. It’s ready made clothes that I bring in and that represent the style of the brand, it’s the same style as what I would design with the difference that it’s more reachable due to its price”.
Dorothea sees no challenge in basing her brand from Cyprus; her decision to do so was a very conscious one. “Finishing my university studies in Milan, I had offers from big high fashion brands, but I had already imagined my own logo, my own brand, I didn’t want to spend any more years working for someone else. I wanted to start right away. I’m happy being in Cyprus, I have my clothes in other countries too, but having my base in Cyprus, where I’m from, I wouldn’t change for anything.”
After all, Dorothea is of the opinion that “every designer has his or her own style, their personal style, their own clients, and I’m not here to steal from any other designers, I’m not competing with other designers, I feel like we need to be one team and help each other”.
“My mission is to make all women beautiful… in my opinion all women are beautiful and as a designer this is what I want to show,” she asserts.
Acknowledging the uniqueness of every woman and as a designer, Dorothea is sharp in putting forward that she doesn’t always follow trends. “It’s important that women understand their own personal style, what suits their body types and their personality because a trend is a trend, but we shouldn’t follow it if it doesn’t represent us.”