Anna Triant Couture features some of the dreamiest and most whimsical dresses found in children’s couture fashion. The Borrowed Boutique is excited to have partnered with Anna to be able to provide a rental option for her beautiful gowns. We wanted to take a look behind the scenes of her design process, so who better to ask than Anna herself! Read on to discover more about her brand, her life and the gowns she creates.
The Borrowed Boutique: How did you begin sewing? What inspired you to choose children’s fashion?
Anna Triant: Growing up in Soviet Russia, I never thought I was creative. Art was not particularly a subject my parents would ever want me to pursue. In Soviet society the most valued talent is the ability to precisely follow orders without having much of an opinion of your own. My path to a creative career was long and winding to say the least. It wasn't until I moved to the United States that it dawned on me just how much I love art, in all of its forms. It took moving to another country and starting my life from scratch to finally find myself and discover who I was creatively.
My first attempts in sewing began with making clothes and blankets for my Yorkshire terrier, Lola. My mom gave me a sewing machine as a gift for my 25th birthday, something I wanted for a while but never really had the time for. Back then I was a student at FIDM in Los Angeles, studying interior design and dreaming of becoming the next Candice Olson, so sewing was just a pure hobby and a fun way to bond with my dog who I lovingly considered my first born child ;) To my amazement, I realized I absolutely LOVED the entire design process (even if it was just a pet item), from fabric selection to figuring out pattern layouts and sewing. The truth was that, the more outfits I created for Lola, the more I loved sewing and designing, and the less I was attracted to my career choice of interior design. That's when I left FIDM, moved away from the craziness of LA and started exploring my possibilities in fashion design.
I chose to pursue a career in children's fashion thanks to my friends and family who, although thoroughly admiring the cuteness of my puppy outfits, kept telling me to try my hand at little girls' clothing. Another reason is that I still have a little girl in me, that little girl from Russia who grew up in less than fortunate circumstances yet dreaming of pretty dresses and princess tiaras. My creations let me bring those dreams to life, if not for myself than for other little girls out there.
One YouTube video after another, I was able to figure out the basics of sewing. I practiced every single day until those stitch lines changed from squiggles to perfectly straight lines, seams became precise, and designs shaped up into something that I could offer for sale without shame. It took me about a year of trying again and again, a year of crying, getting frustrated, questioning my sanity and getting back to work until I finally made my first sale on Etsy. It was an amazing feeling that made me believe that somehow I led myself to the right place, that maybe there is actually hope in my seemingly hopeless endeavor.
I never stopped exploring new techniques, learning about different fabrics, finishes, trims, and sewing tricks, and searching for inspiration wherever that may be. I wouldn’t stop until I perfected the newly acquired skill, because even in the very beginning stages of the business my main priority was quality. The dream of creating beautiful things that people would love propelled me through every hardship and challenge.
TBB: Tell us a little bit about what goes into making your gowns (the process, the materials, etc.)
AT: There are two main ways I create the gowns - one is customer-led and the other is led by pure imagination. One of our specialties is client-specific custom design, as long as it fits within the esthetics of the brand. A client may send us inspiration images of what they had in mind, or give us a verbal description of what they are looking for, which then leads to fabric selection and design ideas based on those preferences.
My absolute favorite creations are designed for collections based on my own vision, because I can take any direction and pour myself into the design fully without looking back. There are times that I envision something and literally have to put everything aside and make it happen, because that's all I can think of. Those are the best moments, I call them design obsessions - its when time stops, the outside world becomes quiet and all that is left is me and the idea I am bringing into life.
TBB: What is your process when choosing fabrics for your gowns?
AT: There are millions of fabrics out there and the choice can be overwhelming at times. My task as the designer is to strip away all that doesn't fit within our brand's aesthetic and only keep the best. I am lucky to be working with amazing fabric sellers from all parts of the world, I treasure those connections.
If I can't find a fabric that is exactly what I am looking for, I create one using appliques, pearls, rhinestones and flowers. I love intricate details and always make sure that each of our gowns has those intricacies present.
TBB: How long does it take make a gown?
AT: It really depends on a gown. Some designs are simpler in terms of construction and may take 5-6 hours to make. Some, like our Distant Dreamer (pictured above), may take a few days.
TBB: What is a main source of inspiration for your gowns?
AT: The two things that inspire me the most are textiles and nature. I love exploring fabric stores. I can spend hours there, looking through rows and rows of fabric bolts, taking in all of the colors, rich patterns and prints.
Nature inspires me in many different ways but most importantly - with color. There have been so many times when a dress was born because of a certain way the sky looked the night before, with all the gorgeous colors of a sunset, or the way the clouds poufed up and spread all over into a myriad of ruffle folds over the sky. If I ever find myself struggling with an idea, I turn to nature, because not only does it nurture, it also provides a never-ending supply of design inspiration, wherever you look.
TBB: What is it like being a woman owning your own small business?
AT: Crazy? 😉 It's hard and it's immensely rewarding all at the same time. The pressure is intense, demands and stakes are high, but at the end of the day I always remind myself that I get to support my family doing what I absolutely love. I don't have to stress about Mondays because the weekend is over, and I have to go back to a boring job I can't stand. I don't have weekends because I don't need them. When you do what you love, you never work a day in your life, the saying is so very true.
TBB: What is something you want your customers to know about you and your brand?
AT: First and foremost, I would want our customers to know how much we appreciate each and every one of them. Behind our Anna Triant Couture team are families; we can't thank our customers enough for the support over the years. Thanks to them, we get to do what we truly love while offering support to our families. I am blessed to have the most talented people on my team who truly care about what they do and, most importantly, our customers.
TBB: What sets your dresses apart from the other luxury children’s brands?
AT: Today, Anna Triant Couture, which began with a girl and a dream and an entry level sewing machine, is a thriving couture business whose dresses are highly acclaimed and loved by our customers who expect and value the investment in the very best. Our designs are constructed from the finest of materials by a team of highly trained American seamstresses who go through extensive training and have to comply with the highest quality standards. Our dresses are truly works of art, each garment requires myriad hours of discipline and dedication to achieve our high standards of perfection; each gown is stitched with precision and passion, resulting in show stopping results.
We create garments that reflect my vision of a perfect little girl’s dress – a beautifully-made, perfectly-fitted gown that is like no one else’s. It’s a design that is new, modern, and fresh; a design that moves, evokes emotion, makes little girls want to twirl with excitement. I want our dresses to be like a wonderful present that you unwrap – with every piece of wrapping paper that you take away, you find something new that pleasantly surprises and delights you and ultimately takes your breath away.
Our clients refer to our garments simply as “an Anna dress” and there is nothing exactly like it. Although the line has certainly served to inspire countless other designers and child couture trends, I truly believe our designs stand firmly as a pinnacle of originality and superior construction in luxe child couture.
TBB: And the most important question… what is your favorite ice cream flavor?
AT: Oh that's a tough one! Cheesecake and sweet cream, or strawberry.