"She is confident, colorful, charismatic, sassy, kind and generous. She loves to love and she loves to laugh.” As Anna Coroneo describes her clients, the friendly designer just so happens to fit this description perfectly. When you meet Anna, her bubbly, warm-hearted nature is genuine and actually, quite contagious. A designer for fashion, interior textiles and stationary, she is best known for her unique, vivid prints featuring nature-inspired elements.
Both a designer and artist, Anna’s passion for creativity started at a young age in her hometown of Sydney, Australia. She attended Parsons in New York City and after graduating on the Dean’s List, she worked for a number of high-profile brands including Harper’s Bazaar, Theory and Henri Bendel. Shortly thereafter, Anna launched her own collection and she hasn’t looked back since.
A true global citizen, Anna splits her time between her New York and London studios while expertly balancing her life as both as a designer and well-known artist. Since 2005, she has exhibited photos and paintings internationally and is regularly commissioned by private collectors and corporate clients to create custom artworks.
Anna’s lively, fun designs add spark and life to any look. Her popular scarves are now available at Bloomingdales and she recently held a trunk show at Henri Bendel, where they will be stocked this Summer.
Meet Anna - the vibrant artist behind the brush and the animated designer behind the prints.
What is your personal motto?
Carpe Diem, Carpe Noctem – Seize the Day, Seize the Night
Acta non Verba – Deeds not Words
Have you always been interested in fashion? Were you an artist first, or designer first?
I have always had an interest in fashion from a very young age. My grandmother, Mary Souris, taught me how to sew from when I was about five years old. We would spend hours in her sewing room and she was the first person who sparked my interest in fabrics and fashion design.
I always had an interest in painting as a child and loved art classes. It wasn’t until my first year of my Bachelor’s degree at the University of New South Wales, College of Fine Arts, that I really explored painting and printing my artworks onto fabrics. I find it really difficult to define artist and designer separately, as my art really informs my design work.
You were born in Sydney, Australia and currently split your time between New York and London. You say you are “constantly inspired by your surroundings,” please describe how New York and London inspire your prints differently.
I had always been attracted to the bright lights of the city that never sleeps.
From an early age I would constantly tell my parents and friends,“When I grow up, I am going to live in New York!” Whilst completing my bachelor’s degree in Sydney, I spent the holidays studying abroad during the northern hemisphere summers – I studied at Central Saint Martins in London and at Parsons in New York.
My parents have always traveled a lot and instilled in me the belief that the world is my oyster and anything is achievable with hard work.
When I graduated from my bachelor’s degree I moved to New York to study Fashion Marketing at Parsons. After interning at various companies including Harper’s Bazaar, Theory and Henri Bendel, I launched my own collection.
I am addicted to the buzz and energy of New York City – you never know what is going to happen in a day. I really enjoy walking around and seeing what people are wearing in the streets and I am constantly inspired by street art. Everything happens spontaneously and I love meeting new people that are positive and enthusiastic and excited about new ideas. I also find that New York attracts people who thrive on being social, sharing ideas and constantly looking to evolve and grow.
I am definitely a downtown girl – my apartment and studio are in Tribeca. When I am painting new work in my studio, I am flooded by light and love to paint works with bright, vibrant colours and big brash, messy strokes and lots of layers. There is perhaps a contrast with my works that I create in my London studio. London is notoriously grey and drizzly, which definitely has an impact on my mood! Often, I find my colors tend to be a bit more muted and I like to work with pastels. I also do a lot of black and white work in London.
I love to brighten up and bring color to any rainy day, which is what inspired the design of my Mayfair umbrella – with pink kisses all over! I also think Londoners really know how to work a scarf. I think that the scarves are the ultimate fashion accessory, and I have noticed that scarves are really an all-year fashion necessity for many London women, of all ages.
I have a tendency to look to nature for inspiration, and I think this might be due to my upbringing in Sydney – where there is a wealth of incredible examples of flora and fauna. I have always been an outdoorsy sun/beach loving girl, and this is something that has stayed with me.
London has always been on my radar (especially since I met my British husband there). London is a melting pot of creativity and attracts many artists and designers. I love the British sense of humor, wit and quirkiness of sensibilities. Generally, I find the Brits are often a bit more reserved than New Yorkers, though there is a pulsating vein of eccentricity and a passion for the eclectic.
I am really fortunate I can have a balance of two such incredible cities. I don’t get to spend as much time in Sydney these days, although I’ll always have my Aussie upbringing in my mind’s eye when I am painting and designing.
Industry insiders are saying the web is “democratizing fashion” through massive growth in social media, the power of bloggers and B2C eCommerce. Do you agree and/or what is your viewpoint on this?
Absolutely. I feel social media offers a platform for everyone to partake in highlighting and critiquing ideas and products. As a designer, just getting your work out there for feedback/criticism is so important to help evolve creative ideas and garner interest. It is so instantaneous and changes so quickly that it is important to constantly keep one’s finger on the pulse of what is going on.
I also love to gain a “behind the scenes” aspect, that many social media outlets allow for. I love to take photos of artworks during stages of progress and documenting these visually to share via my social media outlets. I think you can learn a lot from one’s process and the images and notions that inspire designs.
You’re both a designer and artist known for your unique prints. Please describe the woman who wears Anna Coroneo designs.
She is confident, colorful, charismatic, sassy, kind and generous. She loves to love and she loves to laugh. She enjoys travelling and is curious to discover and learn. She thrives on adventure and challenges. She is reliable and loyal. She isn’t afraid of loud, bold prints!
I have been fortunate to have had trunk shows at Bloomingdale’s SoHo and at Henri Bendel in New York, and have met many of the women who wear Anna Coroneo designs. I am always delighted and impressed by the women who are drawn to my designs and find that they really enjoy the depth of the translation between art and fashion.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your business today?
Balancing my time between running a business and spending time painting and being creative. As my business grows, I find it difficult sometimes to keep up with my emails and ensuring that I am also spending lots of time sketching new ideas and creating new artworks - It’s a delicate balance.
Who are your entrepreneurial icons?
What’s been the most memorable moment in your career so far?
The first time I saw someone who I didn’t know, wearing one of my designs! I began selling little cotton tank tops with my designs bleached into the cotton, at the Bondi Beach Sunday markets, when I was studying at COFA (College of Fine Arts, UNSW) in Sydney. A few months after I did this, I saw a lady wearing one of these tank tops in Sydney, and was so excited!!! I will never forget that moment.
If you could give one piece of advice to your 14 year-old self, what would it be?
Be patient, keep focused, work hard and never ever give up or lose sight of your dreams!
One of my favorite inspirational quotes is: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” by Mahatma Gandhi
Congrats on launching a collection at Bloomingdales and Henri Bendel! Fast forward 10 years. What’s on your radar?
In 10 years, I would love to have my own boutiques. Ideally I’d like to open the first in New York, then London and Sydney.
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