“Feminine and strong” is how Phoebe and Annette describe their sculpture-meets-armor jewelry. Their pieces look and feel weighty and important, recalling, the sisters point out, the feeling of the original decorative jewelry that was made when civilization first evolved from making objects that were strictly utilitarian. Layered in her signature billowy silhouettes — a Lanvin jacket and Electric Feathers jumpsuit that are typical of the Japanese aesthetic that they both love — Annette speaks of how a trip there inspired them to to work together. Her necklace of three attached medallions, with their typically rich, textured feel, refers to the discrete layers of rock that you see on the side of a mountain. Patterns, from stone walls to the bars on windows, influence their craft and mirrors the richness of Phoebe’s Azzedine Alaia printed skirt worn with a pleated red Philip Lim blouse.
The sibling designers are determined to create pieces that will still be relevant fifteen years from now and that possess an authenticity worth being handed down to the next generation. Their shield cuff with inlaid shell looks as if it was dug up from an ancient ruin in Phoebe and Annette’s home country of Mexico. A collection that they made resembling cages is an ode to their deep familial ties, symbolizing how parents set their offspring free. Phoebe and Annette’s grandmother was an artist who assisted Diego Rivera, was close to Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo, and who herself designed jewelry that was sold all over the world, including Henri Bendel in it’s ’70′s heyday. “In a strange way we both feel that our mothers both had that sense of adventure and wanting something different. My mother studying abroad and Annette’s mother moving to Mexico. They had the attitude of, “‘Let’s get out of where we are and see the world,’” Phoebe remarks. Born and raised in Mexico City, their father was a painter whose innovative nature can be seen in how he built his own wooden house with huge fireplaces in the center of it that heats the entire building. Phoebe’s apartment, in this post, is filled with wooden doors and indigenous art.
Both of the Anndra Neen visionaries look like a modern version of their grandmother’s iconic bohemian friend, Frida Kahlo– Annette with her haunting thick brows, in a Mayle rust-colored tunic and Dries sage-green culottes and moss Bottega ankle boots; and Phoebe with her long, dark, hair, a flawlessly rumpled Rick Owens jacket and almost mythological-looking Chloe boots that are decorated with leaves. Like the treasures they create, a little bit Mad Max while still ancient in feel, Phoebe and Annette connect the future with the past.