As a still up-and-coming French designer struggling to build her ready-to-wear business, Anne Valérie Hash is unpretentious enough to know she hasn't the wherewithal to be a Paris couturier. "I can't do couture like Chanel or Dior. Of course not. But I do want to experiment in a different way," she said. "I had this idea to do something about personal clothing, memory, and identity, so I started writing to people I admire and asking them to send me something of theirs to transform." Her first letter went to Alber Elbaz, who, with instant generosity, sent a pair of his pajamas, and once he'd agreed, it snowballed. She ended up with Tilda Swinton's Vivienne Westwood tee, Jean Paul Gaultier's Breton shirt, Pete Doherty's frogged drummer-boy jacket, a veil from Diane Pernet, a Chanel jacket from Daphne Guinness, and a spencer belonging to Charlotte Rampling.
Hash then had to find a device to make it "look like a collection." Using her skills as a tailor and piles of matte, textured paillettes, she took elements of the original garments, copied the pieces, and reassembled them. Elbaz's pajamas became a trompe l'oeil jumpsuit; Doherty's jacket was turned into lapel linings, while the frogging was reconfigured on a T-shirt; and Pernet's veil was draped on the back of a jacket to create a chiffon hood. Some of the original fragments, like Swinton's T-shirt, became vertical panels sewn into the centers of jackets; Gaultier's stripes, meanwhile, were twisted into the neckline of a sequined all-in-one. As a small, arty event it had charm and sincerity, and it was heartening to see fellow designers and celebrities of other stripes lending a hand to help a relatively young French talent in a city where that doesn't seem to happen enough.