New York was hot hot hot this past weekend and while the official start to summer is a few weeks away, it already feels like summer in the city. For us that means easy dresses, cool blouses and the perfect rafia totes to mix and match with all. We constantly turn towards the very chic and very French brand, Vanessa Bruno, for all our summer needs.
The eponymous line was founded by Vanessa Bruno, who drew upon her French and Dutch heritage to create minimalist yet sophisticated designs. Her iconic Cabas tote has gone through many iterations but still remains a classic and favorite for its versatility and utility while maintaining an effortless elegance.
We were thrilled to shoot the beautiful Nane in Vanessa’s creations all around Washington Square Park, even stopping for a treat or two to cool off in the heat. We primarily pulled from Vanessa’s Capri Collection because of the inherent escapism of that collection.
While we may still be in New York City, we have an urge to dress ourselves as if we’re on an island vacation. We hope the photos show you how the right clothes can transport you to a far away destination, while never leaving the pavement of a concrete jungle.
Read on to learn more about Vanessa’s journey with the brand.
Can you tell us what spurred you to found your eponymous line? Where were you drawing inspiration from? And why did you feel like something was missing from the current market?
It was 25 years ago and at that time the fashion scene was dominated by strong fashion designers. I didn’t really feel that something was missing, but I had trouble finding clothes to dress in on a day to day basis. Nobody was interested in making clothes for everyday women. I had this urge as a stylist to express myself, so I created a wardrobe inspired by those effortlessly elegant women like Jane Birkin, or my mother and her friends. Women that could wear a vintage blouse with a man’s jacket and look very cool. Parisian looks that radiate a sense of freedom and creativity, the opposite of fashion victims.
You were raised by a Danish mother and French father, how did those two cultures influence your taste in design and style?
From my mother, I inherited a scandi-cool spirit that translated into a deep love for nature, a low key aesthetic but focused on the quality of fabrics, savoir-faire. It is a down to earth philosophy that taught me the importance of not just wearing clothes, but wearing them again and again. On the other French-Italian side, I was influenced by the more whimsical, fanciful side of my father.
Parisian women are known for being effortlessly elegant. How do you transfer that je ne sais quoi to your designs?
I always keep authenticity in mind. I always design pieces that have many options, so that every woman can make it hers, wear it her way. It is important to me that my clothes enable freedom, and never forces someone into a restraining frame. I think it is the only way to highlight natural sensuality, create a space for everybody’s je ne sais quoi to express.
For you, who is the Vanessa Bruno woman?
She is definitely a free spirit, modern and always moving. Effortlessly elegant, she has a timeless natural style and doesn’t need to force anything to be charming and sensual. I’m inspired by all kind of feminine artists and folk singers that represent this nonchalant yet very profound allure.
Your Cabas Tote has become an iconic bag, carried on the arm by many a woman as she runs about her day. What was it about the Cabas tote that resonates with women?
I imagined this bag when I was a young mother, biking around Paris. I needed one bag to carry all what I needed, from day to night; simple, large, strong, with but with a touch of sequin because we all need a bit of glitter. At the end of the day, I think that is quite universal.
As an internationally recognized brand, where do you see Vanessa Bruno evolving from here? What is your dream for the next 5 years?
I would love to translate my universe into more lifestyle projects. I already enjoy working on my boutique spaces, my accessory line, but I would love to take that further.