I met Phoebe Stephens in the beginning of 2009 when she was about to launch Anndra Neen with her sister Annette. It was a trip to Tokyo that triggered the idea in the brilliant minds of these girls to design spectacular jewelry and accessories that are handcrafted by artisans in their workshop in Mexico City. The inspiration behind the brand started with the art, fashion, travel and design-oriented lifestyle that Annette Nancarrow, the grandmother of Phoebe and Annette, an artist and jewelry designer who was part of the inner circle of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, had. The sisters captured Nancarrow’s art, ideas, pieces and chic style and took it all to the next level mixing their own elements and vision and making it relevant to our time.
I bought my first Anndra Neen piece in 2010 shortly after their launch and I still get stopped in the middle of the street by people who want to know where I got my cuff. Needless to say, I have been a long-time fan and can only feel elated for their success.
When I visited their studio, I was thrilled to find eclectic pieces of art, antiques, vintage objects, their most recent jewelry and accessory collections and a gorgeous book that the sisters produced and which I desperately wanted to have (unfortunately, it is a very limited edition publication so I had to make do with having it photographed).
There is so much to talk with these sisters and so very little time; I just kept piling everything on and asking all sorts of questions. I wanted to know what the pivotal moment in their career was; when they thought “wow, me made it” and they both answered in unison: “when Michelle Obama wore one of our pieces…” That’s pretty major, I said, and imagine someone from the Secret Service spying on the Stephens for days to make sure that there wasn't anything irregular in their behavior before being contacted by the East Wing requesting one of those fabulous clutches which not even FLOTUS can resist. It was hard for me to leave this magical studio, even more so to depart empty-handed. But not for long as I’m browsing tirelessly online and ready to click on the “buy” button for the pieces highlighted below.