What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.
It is the desert’s mystery that defines its allure. On the surface it may be a vast expanse of emptiness; a void that reaches farther than the eye or mind can fathom. But beneath that grainy veneer, the desert is a living being, and to spend time there is to sense your own slightness and its very life force. The desert’s beauty is sui generis. Its sandy stretches and scattered knolls can be smooth as polished stone or rippled like the ocean’s surface, worked into immense undulating tracts by the wind. A perfect geometry rendered only by the elements. And as the sun follows its course across the sky, the desert landscape shifts in time, shadows creating an architecture among the striated strips of sand. This surreal, otherworldly landscape has cast its spell on many artists over the years like Paul Bowles whose bleak, bewitching Saharan chronicle The Sheltering Sky inspired Anaak’s collection name. In Tennessee Williams’ 1949 review of the book he wrote: “There is a curiously double level to this novel. The surface is enthralling as narrative… but above that surface is an aura… intangible and powerful, bringing to mind one of those clouds that you have seen in summer, close to the horizon and dark in color and now and then silently pulsing with interior flashes of fire.” A similar duality characterizes Anaak’s Spring/ Summer 2017 collection: captivating on the surface, it too bears a more powerful aura. The Sheltering Sky Inspired by Rajasthan nomadic village men who roam the Thar Desert clad in lightweight, layers, many of the fabrics used can be traced back there, hand woven and embroidered by women’s cooperatives in India. There is a breezy maxi dress that grazes the body hinting at the form beneath and a flutter-sleeved jumpsuit belted dipped low in the back, a bare tiered camisole with delicate tasseled straps and airy wrap pants, a voluminous caftan with braided details and a crochet mini dress to wear alone or over harem pants. All of them with a color palette—muted fawns and bleached whites, shimmering eggplant and rich tomato red—imagined with a desert backdrop. The collection is, like De Saint-Exupéry wrote, a well in the desert. Not a mirage, but an oasis.
Photography: Stella Berkofsky
Styling: Marion Jolivet
Hair and Makeup: Miwoo Kim
Production: Mille et Une Productions
Words: Fiorella Valdesolo