Interview
Anne Fontaine

Anne Fontaine

In an exclusive interview to BWB she talks about her life growing up in Rio de Janeiro, her career and her commitment to protecting the environment.

For Anne Fontaine, fashion is first and foremost a question of style, harmony and look. It has been now more than 20 years since the young and beautiful designer has brought back the white shirt as the centerpiece of our wardrobe.

Her feminine and elegant shirts are a symbol of today’s modern woman.

Today she gives an exclusive interview to BWB to talk about her life growing up in Rio de Janeiro, her career and her commitment to protecting the environment.

BWB: Your collections of white shirts are a true ode to femininity, they are elegant and timeless. What was your inspiration?

When I met my husband, he was managing his own family business, which was supplying luxury and premium men shirts brands.
One day, I explored his parents’ attic and I discovered a trunk full of white shirts. As I have always been passionate about fashion, I felt immediately inspired by these shirts and the family know-how. I had the intuition that the basic shirt for menswear could also be, once redesigned, the basics for womenswear!
And we decided to launch our first collection of white shirts for women.

Anne Fontaine

White has a lot of meaning and symbolism according to different cultures. In Brazil, it brings good luck.

BWB: You have created a whole world in white. How did the color white become the theme of your early work?

White has a lot of meaning and symbolism according to different cultures.
In Brazil, it brings good luck, and every December 31 everyone wears white clothes in order to celebrate the New Year. In our present world, so polluted, the color white has a positive meaning. It is refreshing, and a source of pureness and wellbeing.

Personally, I am a « black & white » woman. I love these 2 colors. It is the yin and yang, a source of balance. In fashion, it is super chic and sexy. All of the world’s most famous fashion photographers have chosen to portray the most iconic women and models with only a white shirt on!

BWB: Your career today is a combination of your work as a fashion designer and your commitment to nature conservation. Could you tell us more about your foundation and your constant contact with the world of Art?

I started drawing and sketching clothes when I was very young. I have been designing clothes for more than 20 years. It is a real passion and a source of fulfillment.
At the same time, I am strongly committed to the environment, and this commitment also embraces artistic expression. The relationship with artists – painters, photographers, sculptors – inspired by nature, is very motivating, and the artistic expression is the best way to move people and to raise awareness in favor of the protection of nature.

I am deeply convinced that we can stop the deforestation, we can restore riparian areas with the help of farmers if we bring them support, education and technical assistance.

BWB: Your commitment to nature preservation also involves projects such as the ‘Forest Day’ or the creation of your beautiful EcoBag to replace the common shopping bag. Can you tell us more about these?

It is a combination of a personal involvement, a strong need to act and to give back and an optimistic vision for the future of the planet.
I created a foundation in order to help implement very realistic programs of protection and reforestation in the Mata Atlantica. It is a grassroots movement launched with local farmers and local associations. I am deeply convinced that we can stop the deforestation, we can restore riparian areas with the help of farmers if we bring them support, education and technical assistance.

During the Anne Fontaine Forest Day, which takes place once a year in our stores, I give 50% of all purchases back to the foundation. It is an opportunity for the teams to be involved in the foundation’s mission and for our clients to participate to our mission. It is also the opportunity to work with artists who generously exhibit art pieces.

Moreover, I have designed an EcoBag – 100% PET, partly made of recycled plastic bottles – and the proceeds go to the foundation. It also encourages the use of reusable bags. More than 25,000 EcoBags have been sold to-date, and new colors – black and blue – are now available.

Brazilian women take great care of their hair. I have long hair and I use a lot of aloe vera. They also pay attention to their nails and use a lot of vegetal oil to make them healthier and stronger.

BWB: You grew up in Rio de Janeiro. Can you share with us some beauty or wellness tips from Brazilian women?

Brazilian women take great care of their hair. I have long hair and I use a lot of aloe vera.
Natural masks for hair work very well. Brazilian women pay also attention to their nails and use a lot of vegetal oil to make them healthier and stronger.
Also, exotic fruit juices, especially açai fruit juice, are very popular. Açai berries are known to help protect the cells from oxidation and free radicals thanks to antioxidant properties. Açai is called Tree of life in Brazil.

BWB: Could you share with us some of your favorite places in Brazil? 

In Rio, where I was born, the Santa Teresa area is one of my favorite neighborhoods. It is a very lively cultural and historical neighborhood. You can enjoy its very vibrant nightlife and its very popular bars.
There are charming « pousadas », hotels and colonial houses. I love to go to Le Relais & Chateaux Santa Teresa. I also love the fish at the restaurant Satyricon in Ipanéma, and my favorite dishes are the badeijo in salt crust and langoustines.
You can eat the best meat in the « churascarrias », typical local restaurants in Southern Brazil.
I highly recommend the beach restaurant Porcao in Botafogo or Fogo de Chão in São Paulo.
Southern Bahia has the most beautiful white sand beaches.
Enjoy fantastic massages in the SPA of the resort Txai, surrounded by nature, not far from the lovely city of Itacare. For people who love to show off, Trancoso in Bahia is the place to be. But you will never see me there!

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