Thirty-year-old Parisian Anne-Valérie Hash has garnered a hip following for her signature way of reworking classic men’s tailoring to fit a woman’s body. Though she’s been in business since 1997, Fall 2002 marked her first full runway show; in previous seasons, the designer gave static presentations that afforded viewers an intimate look at her technique.
For winter, Hash continued to pursue that personal obsession, but lightened it up by incorporating influences from Moroccan menswear. That meant using Western suiting fabrics to make baggy, ethnic pants, and replacing the formal shirt with diaphanous variations on the djellaba. For the first time, a sense of the female figure began to emerge from the cool androgyny. Hash found beautiful hand-loomed translucent silk, made traditionally in Morocco, and then had couture embroiderers Lesage decorate the borders with doodles and affectionate messages to the designer’s friends. This was no frivolous, holiday-postcard collection, though: In Hash’s hands, the conventional structure of garments is completely rethought. Jackets turn out to be made from pants, with the waistband and pocket linings ending up around the neckline and the legs turning into sleeves. A big Moroccan shirt becomes a skirt, with the collar at the waist and the arms knotted in back to make a sort of asymmetric bustle.
Hash arrives at her deconstructions, she explained, with the help of a 12-year-old girl. “I wanted to see how a man’s wardrobe would look on a little girl if she played around with it. New volumes and ways of wearing things emerge. Then I work out how to reproduce the look of hugely oversized clothes on an adult scale.