Anna Oláh, the designer of the lifestyle brand Anna Amélie, showed us her fresh and crispy collection called Tavern in her studio. Anna, famous for her bags, created her first clothing collection during the pandemic, in which the brand reached her second home, Greece, as a source of inspiration for the first time in many years. With our interview, we will also guide you into a world full of orange groves and Greek culinary experiences!
Why did you decide to start thinking about clothing collections in addition to bags?
Last year, during the pandemic, we were unable to obtain the raw materials needed for the bags, so I tried myself in the field of clothing. It was an experiment, so I thought that now that this is a serious crisis, I can really show how creative I am. I felt a terrific adrenaline rush. I started with what I like to wear: loose, comfortable and unisex clothes covered with drawings from head to toe. The first collection revealed that all this was not only my desire, but also that of the customers. So last year surpassed all my dreams of brand building.
Not only your first, but your second clothing collection, which debuted in days, was inspired by Greece. What is the personal aspect behind your choice of topic?
The first quarantine period highlighted what happens when you are locked up and you have to be home for an extended period of time. I had memories of my childhood: my mother lives in Greece and already lived there when she was young, and between the two, when she raised us here at home, we went back a lot. We have plenty of Greek friends and bonds, we love the place, we speak the language, but there is no Greek blood in our veins. I missed my mom very much during the quarantine, I couldn’t visit her, memories emerged in me about how wonderful it is when we are there together. Strangely, although the brand became ten years old this year, I didn’t reach for Greek inspiration before. Not because it didn’t occur to me, but because I felt this topic was so intimate for me that I couldn’t express it well yet. This was inspired by confinement. There is so much Greekness and I had so many ideas that in the end I couldn’t even condense them all into one collection. That’s why there was another this year as well, and will probably be a Greek theme every summer from now on.
Of the Greekness, what does the current Tavern collection process?
The name of the collection refers to Greek taverns. My colleague, András Waldron, gave me the idea for this. He told me, Anna, now go home and draw what you are missing the most from Greece. From this came the Greek food pattern, which depicts a wonderful Greek dinner: tomato stuffed eggplant with special cinnamon seasoning, calamari, bread, rosemary, lemon, olives, grilled fish, mussels, octopus and Greek salad. In a Greek tavern, you don’t choose one dish, but you order together and everyone tastes everything. You drink a small retsina with it, which is a type of wine aged in a pine barrel: you can smell the pine and the sea air. The special feature of the collection is that we sew one of my favorite Greek recipes into each piece in Hungarian, English and Greek, the way I usually make it. There will also be Youtube videos related to this, I will be in Greece all August, where we will make them.
What is the other pattern in the collection about?
I also have a lot more girly customers and I felt I needed some more color. From this was born the bird pattern, which became a great favorite of everyone. It’s an idyllic scene set in an orange grove. I really like oranges, and the fact that Santa brings them at home is because they grow in Greece at that time. This is all included in this pattern.
What styles and materials can we choose from?
There will be women’s and men’s swimwear, full-bodied sets: shorts, swing pants, unisex blouses, kaftans, a tattoo mash top, a large studio tote bag, and leather bags made specifically for the color scheme of the collection. I strive to ensure that all raw materials are of quality, even if this is at the expense of quantity. Now I worked with cotton linen, linen, silk and recycled polyester. However, I don’t want it to be a sensation in my brand. Everyone is campaigning with recycled materials, but it has become clear to me that I think it is our duty to work with such materials. That shouldn’t be a curiosity.
One-line drawings not only appear on prints, but you also make large-scale paintings and murals. How do you experience the creative process?
The one-line drawings are about adrenaline. I start to draw the line and I can’t make a mistake. I have no idea what will become of it, that’s what I enjoy the most.
However, to be able to paint, I have to retreat and get into a different mood. I went to Waldorf school, where we studied a subject for a month. Since then, I will have bad feelings about having to do fifty things a day. I am capable of it, but I feel empty of it in the long run. I keep paying attention to what is good and I learn a lot about who I am. So from next year, I’ll only be sewing a bag for a month, I’m just dying for a month, and then I’ll only be dealing with clothes for a month, so I’ll divide up the twelve months.
What further plans do you have for the future?
We were invited to the Salon Budapest for September, where we will also introduce ourselves in the field of interior design. I started studying pottery, I have a lot of ideas, there will definitely be home accessories. I would really like to open a shop in Greece later, and once move out permanently, while of course keeping the Budapest base. My goal is to have a strong team at home who can hold on even when I’m not here physically.
Photos: Bence Bendegúz Boros