Annelies De Rouck
It’s a small, small world.
I met Annelies totally by chance. I took over her studio when she moved to the Hamptons for the summer. She is a friend of my friend Roanne Adams and Roanne put us in touch. Annelies then put me in touch with Martien Mulder, the (very talented) photographer who was subletting Annelies the studio. I took the space and never physically met Annelies in the process. All I knew was that I liked her name.
Four or five weeks later Annelies was in the city and wanted to come by the studio to pick up her mail. She was rushing, I was trying to write, we said hello quickly, I handed her the mail and that was pretty much it. She seemed cool and I went back to writing.
This same exchange happened again a few weeks later, we talked a little longer, I found out she was starting a swimwear collection and that she was from Belgium.
A week or so later, I heard from Annelies again. She had figured out that I knew her friends Chidi and Esther (more to come on them soon). Chidi is one of my husband’s best friends and Esther is his wife and one of my friends. It turns out Annelies had known Chidi since she lived in London over a decade ago. We’ve only known him since he and Esther moved to New York three years ago. From this connection a web was spun. It was kind of shocking that Annelies and I had never met until I moved into her work space.
Soon after we had dinner with Esther, Roanne and a few other girlfriends and it became very clear why we have so many friends in common: Annelies is a person people can’t help but like. Here is why:
1. She tells it how it is. She doesn’t pretend. You say something stupid, she’ll call you out on it. In a good-humored way (usually ; ).
2. She has an opinion. Especially when it comes to design and fashion. I was describing to her how in Geneva (where we just moved) it is difficult to read people and that they are very conservative, which is different for me – I like to get dressed up and I’m relatively open. Annelies immediately concluded, “Oh yeah. Do the women walk around wearing all brown winter? And then, in the summer, they wear beige from head to toe? I know the type.”
That pretty much sums up the whole thing.
3. She is a creative-slash-practical-jack-of-all-fashion-trades. She did a little modeling after university, then moved from Ghent, Belgium to London to be the PR/marketing/wholesale/office manager person for designers Boudicca and Aganovich & Yung. A few years later she moved to Amsterdam to work for Karl Lagerfeld (the company was then owned by the Tommy Hilfiger Group, whose European headquarters was in Amsterdam). Two years later she was transferred to Karl Lagerfeld in NYC to become Licensing Brand Manager and run the fragrance, eyewear and accessories businesses. Then the recession hit those companies, and she was moved to become the Communications Manager for the new Tommy Hilfiger flagship store on Fifth Avenue.
When the Tommy Hilfiger merged with PVH, she decided to take some time off and do something completely different, so she became the Managing Director of Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce where she promoted and helped Belgian businesses and entrepreneurs translate their ideas and strategies to the US market.
Guiding all of these Belgian entrepreneurs inspired her to open her own business and now she’s launching her swimwear line.
She’s also doing an interior design project in 40Bond, the Herzog & De Meuron building on Bond St and is also buying the art and curating the library for the client.
In 2013, she will be launching an invite-only book club with Shira Wheeler from RoAndCo (our friend Roanne Adam’s design company.)
And we come full circle.
Maybe I never met Annelies because she was so freaking busy!
I’m glad I finally did. Now I just hope she moves her swimwear line to Europe and we can hang out more!