Be mysterious, be loving and you will be happy.
Escaping to reach art. Words uttered long ago by Paul Gauguin who made the voyage by sea in 1891, and again in 1895, to Tahiti, on a creative mission, searching for something more essential; more natural; wilder than the artifice of his native France, to inspire his paintings. It was that same impulse, that same urgent desire for a connection to nature, that would spark our own pilgrimage to South India’s lush and verdant Palni Hills. A serene idyll of vast sky and dense jungle, far off the grid, where the only soundtrack was the infrequent warbling of wild birds. Where there was little more that could and should be done than paint, read, and idle in a hammock, nibbling on ripe jackfruit plucked from the tree above. Where during the day the air was moist and heavy enough to leave its damp imprint on orchids and banana leaves. And where, come nightfall, darkness would methodically descend bringing with it a palpable quiet and a broad sweep of stars. It was a place to feel whole, to feel at peace. In 1901 Gauguin etched a few simple words across the doorframe of his self-christened house of pleasure in the Marquesas Islands, the place where he would spend his final years. "Be mysterious, be loving and you will be happy." A simple credo, it seems particularly apropos for Anaak’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection. Languid silhouettes, light in weight and spirit, with a faraway feel. All of them designed with the thick haze and steamy temperatures of the South Indian jungle in mind (and lovingly crafted by hand in remote areas of India). There are breezy, striped caftans with a halo of fringe at the sleeves; slouchy, gauzy pants that billow with the passing breeze; laid-back, raw-edged tunics; and generously draped dresses with tasseled belts that graze the body and have a refined ease. Like a plunge into cool water, or dusk’s arrival after the sun has cast the final shadow of palm fronds across our bare backs, these clothes are a relief. The greatest escape.
Photography: Columbine Goldsmith
Model: Jessica Mau
Stylist: Akari Endo-Gaut
Hair and Makeup: Amy Strozzi
Words: Fiorella Valdesolo
Graphic Design: Sarah Lee