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April 19 2014

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Meet The Muses: Annette And Phoebe Stephens

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Girl-about-town Natalie Joos spends her days casting for shows like Zac Posen and Karen Walker and editorials for the likes of Mario Sorrenti and Mariano Vivanco, but her passion is vintage clothing. Joos’ blog, Tales of Endearment spotlights her “Muses,” impeccably styled girls and guys who share her secondhand obsession. In a new partnership with Style.com, Tales of Endearment’s subjects discuss their shoots right here on Style File.

“Our grandmother had an incredible collection of clothing and jewelry that we loved going through,” Annette Stephens, one part of the design duo behind jewelry line Anndra Neen, tells Style.com. “She had her own handmade jewelry creations, amazing dresses, embroidered blouses, and crazy hats,” adds her sister and design partner, Phoebe. And their grandma Annette Nancarrow certainly knew a thing or two about art and fashion—she counted both Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo as friends. It was there, digging through their grandma’s treasure chest, where their love of vintage clothing was born. “It is interesting to us to find how elements of design evolve during the years—an amazing coat that is timeless will have slightly altered details if it is made in one era versus another, all based on what was happening in the time it was made,” says Phoebe. “We attempt to design jewelry with the same concept—pieces that will always be relevant to the moment.” Here, the sister act behind those chic clutches tells Style.com about their vintage inspirations and what’s next for the girls, who recently won this year’s Dorchester Collection Prize.

What eras are you particularly interested in terms of getting inspiration for your design work?
Costume jewelry from the seventies, Japanese textiles from the twenties, antique Anatolian rugs, 20th-century furniture, and architecture by Santiago Calatrava, Le Corbusier, and Louis Kahn, to name a few.

Do you collect specific types of vintage pieces?
We have been collecting vintage embroidered Mexican blouses and rebozos, filigree jewelry from the thirties and forties, vintage Bakelite jewelry, and Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Issey Miyake, and Yves Saint Laurent from the seventies and eighties. We collect items that capture our attention and that tend to be modern and classic at the same time.

What is your favorite vintage piece you own?
Phoebe: My Lanvin suit.

Annette: My white Dior jacket.

I know you guys go back to Mexico pretty often. What shops do you like to hit up when you are there and what do you look forward to buying?
When we are in Mexico we love shopping around for antiques. There is an outdoor flea market called La Lagunia that is perfect for wonderful objects, textiles, and furniture. We also hit up our friend Emmanuel Picault’s store called Chic by Accident; he has an incredible collection of furniture and home objects. For clothing it is always fun to visit Oaxaca and go to the market for handmade textiles, huipiles, and scarves.

Are you working on any collaborations at the moment, or what’s the next step in terms of expanding your brand?
We just did a small capsule collection for the online boutique Edition01. We are showcasing our pieces in Paris this fashion week at the Plaza Athenée.

Finish this thought: What’s old is new again when…?
You rediscover it.

For more from the Stephens’ shoot, visit Tales of Endearment.

Photo: Natalie Joos

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