Anna Schwartz – Chief Designer at Crazy Line, who has studied and lived fashion all her life, talks to us about life alongside her partner – who also happens to be her boss, her taste in fashion, and the Israeli style she admires most.
Q “Being a famous designer is not something that interests me. I’m not part of the fashion industry’s scene.” In response to this quote of yours, I am interested to know what interests or passions you have besides fashion, and if fame is less appealing to you, then you might as well tell us about a typical evening at your house from the moment you return from work.
The fashion world has fascinated me and has continued to fascinate me for over 30 years, I’m simply connected to it from a different angle, not from the world of glamorous launches and glittering events. What excites me is seeing women on the street wearing my designs, from the new season or the previous one, I recognize every design I have ever made. It satisfies me a lot to see women who are not models but still look good with my clothes and seeing how it’s flattering to them.
Other than fashion, I always thought I would work in painting, sculpture, or any other form of art. My Romanian mother told me that artists do not make a living, and enrolled me in fashion design studies. But for me, art is the basis of everything. One of my teachers even advised me to open an exhibition with my illustrations, but this is a project I might leave for my retirement. (giggling)
When I am at home with my partner, a typical evening can include a couple’s meal over a glass of wine, or sitting by the pool, we are very homely and family-oriented. I enjoy intimacy and quiet.
Q What attracts you to a piece of clothing before you purchase it?
The quality of the fabric, the sewing, I am a type who notices the small details. I love a flattering outfit with subtle colors, even though I am constantly told that bold colors compliment me, but this is something I might try at an older age.
Q Which designers in the international arena do you connect with?
In the very late 1980s, I was inspired by John Galliano. His talent is insane and fascinating.
Q How much has your taste in fashion changed today, in your mid-fifties, from the time you started your professional career?
My taste has not changed much at its core. I really like warm colors, I like ethnicity and also my illustrations were and remain of women of ethnic origin. So while my taste has become a little more sophisticated, it has not changed much in essence.
Q Your Crazy-Line designs are influenced, in part, by the brand being a commercial chain, but suppose you were a designer for a private label bearing your name, with no commercial or functional limitations, what items (in fantasy) would the customer find there?
I really like clean design, monochromatic colors, a line that is very flattering and high quality but without unnecessary additions. I prefer clean-cut and quiet colors. I would say the direction would be of a timeless fashion that is not time-dependent and does not pursue trends.
Q Working as a fashion designer can sometimes be dull or pragmatic, what are the everyday moments that still manage to excite you and protect you from burnout, after more than 17 years in the job?
I love the design process itself. The illustrations and the choice of fabrics. These are peaceful moments of grace. However, the other elements of the work I am less connected to, such as pricing, discussions about the budget, correction of cuts, and so on. That part of the job is hard and exhausting.
Q For the past eight years, you have been in a relationship with Ido Levin, the owner of Crazy Line and the son of the brand’s founder (Becky Levin). How involved is he in the design decisions, and from a professional point of view, would you define this relationship as a challenge, an advantage or does it have no effect on you at all?
Ido is also the director of the design department, and he is my boss. He has a lot of impacts and sometimes we do not agree and argue about certain cuts and designs, but this dynamic is very important for the work process, it creates a more productive work environment. I admit that working with my partner is very challenging, but he has many years of experience and I trust him. Other than that, at home, we are not talking about work. I insist on a separation between family life and studio life.
Q You are a mother of 3 young daughters, does their style in any way affect your designs?
I am very attentive to the younger generation. My eldest daughter is 27, the middle is 24 and the youngest is 17. This means that there is also a difference between how each of them styles herself. I enjoy going out with them and being inspired by their taste, especially with my youngest daughter. It also enriches my knowledge of the new music and content that young people consume today. I do not expect them to wear the collections I design because they are not the target audience, but it happens that they also go into my closet and wear items that I designed.
Q Is there a specific character in the world, in politics or culture, that you would be especially happy to see wearing Crazy Line?
I would like to clothe all the new “Knesset” members in the new government in Israel. There is a wide range of women there of different ages and different body shapes and I think this can be a lovely project.
Q With all the busy and popular online stores today, do you still think there is an “Israeli fashion” and if so, what is it characterized by?
Yes, I think there is an Israeli fashion and there is a lot of room for independent Israeli designers. There is no substitute for a designer who knows the climate in Israel and knows how to adapt shapes to the body of the average Israeli. It is much more appealing to me than the imitations available in online stores today.
Q From my experience with fashion designers, I know that many times and in almost every collection, there is an item they are most proud of. Is there an item in the current collection that you are particularly in love with? And what can you tell me about the current collection?
“They were all my sons.” I do not have one favorite item, but I am very proud of our collection this season and also of the next season. The summer has been colorful, the cuts very flattering, the fabrics are of high quality very breathable, and I am already excited for next season because my face is always towards the new collection, it excites me and leaves me curious and young and relevant.