The first time I met Anna Mason, I was still at school. It was the opening night of the infamous Bath Festival, and anyone who was anyone, was picnicking in the evening sun on the lawn in front of the Royal Crescent. I was more than likely wearing a Barbour and pearls (my confession of that fashion mistake is here), doused in YSL Paris, and hand in hand with my Barbour and trilby-wearing boyfriend. You get the picture. Anna, however, was dressed as a flapper girl, and I knew straight away that this girl had style. Bags of it.
Our paths didn’t cross again until a few years later, through one of my close friends, Emma. Anna was working in Italy for Max Mara, having graduated from the Royal College of Art, where she was sponsord by Karl Lagerfeld, and when she was back in England, she and Emma would throw glamorous parties in their tiny top floor studio apartment in Kensington, where Anna would always be dressed in vintage Givenchy or some other incredible outfit.
After working with Valentino in Rome, Anna came back to London and worked for Amanda Wakely. It was during this time, in 2000, that she designed my wedding dress and going away outfit, both of which were heavenly. It was only a matter of time that Anna would start designing her own collection. Of course, I want it all, each piece is made to order and I’m hoping have my first piece in the spring.
I spent a day with Anna recently, at her home in south London, drooling over her collection as well as the contents of her own wardrobe. So Anna Mason is the second of The Yellow Dress’s ‘My Style’. All I can say is, enjoy!
Anna can be found at Anna Mason and on Instagram.
TYD: “How would you define your style?”
AM: “I love the ’70s, along with things that are a bit different, while also being classic. I love beautiful fabrics and like clothes to remind me of the past, such as ’30s dresses, ’40s jackets and ’70s blouses. I love a classic pea coat or a touch of men’s tailoring, but I also love feminine clothes.”
TYD: “Who are your style icons?”
AM: “I love the way Brigitte Bardot looked in the ’70s, as well as Jane Birkin and Catherine Deneuve in the late ’60s, early ’70s. The ’80s is another favourite era.”
TYD: “What have been your favourite and most treasured pieces in your wardrobe?”
AM: “My favourite piece is a vintage Givenchy cream coat. I don’t like wearing it in London, as the weather never seems right, but somehow it always looks amazing in Paris, even after 25 years!. I also have an Isabel Marant jacket that is totally genius.”
TYD: “Is there anything you ever reget NOT buying?”
AM: “Yes, a few years ago. It was a pair of Chloe boots. They were straight in the leg and dark grey. I would have worn them to death. Most recently, it was a couple of vintage pieces in France, especially a long white shirt, but I was being rushed by my husband so I left it. There was also a beautiful Edwardian blouse that I found at a brocante, but we didn’t have enough euros on us.”
TYD: “Is there anything that you regret buying?”
AM: “I’m a very focused shopper, so I don’t make many mistakes. I have a whole list in my head with questions such as ‘will I wear it?’, ‘how will I wear it?’, ‘is the fabric right?’, ‘can I justify it?’. I try to be practical, but in fact, I’m quite a horrible shopper! Whether it’s designer, vintage or H&M, I go through the same rigorous process. If I were to regret anything, it’s a Burberry coat as it was very expensive, but then I love it and it did replace an old Joseph coat that I had had for twelve years.”
TYD: “What are your essential items?”
AM: “It sounds very boring, but a good pair of jeans. And a really good jacket. I love things for different reasons. A good coat will take you through a whole season, and I always have to have mid-heel boots and shoes that I don’t have to take off because they’re uncomfortable.”
TYD: “Where do you like to shop?”
AM: “My absolute favourite is Isabel Marant, I could buy everything. I also adore Chloe, so those are my two favourites. If money were no object, I would shop at Valentino and Lanvin, but in reality it’s Zara and H&M, and Matches for the odd special piece, but all online. I loved Lanvin for H&M and have a couple of evening dresses. I like APC and Uniqlo for practical pieces.
“I love vintage that doesn’t look vintage, and that it’s clean and fresh. I like to dress it in a non-vintage way, such as a ’70s blouse with skinny jeans. I try to make things relevant to now. Vintage fairs such as Frock Me at Chelsea Town Hall, London, are brilliant. I also love The Button Queen in Marylebone Lane and Jessie’s Button Box in the Antique’s Centre in Bath.
“However, I only wear my own collection when I go out. There’s nothing more satisfying that somebody asking my where my dress is from, and I am able to say that I designed it.”