A few days ago I had dinner at Indochine in New York City and not only was the food wonderful, I was seated next to French Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld’s table who was there hosting, along with her son Vladimir, a dinner party in honor of her daughter Julia Restoin Roitfeld’s birthday.
That’s not where the night’s surprises ended – I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Hanna Astrom a demure, young woman from Lulea Sweden who was decked-out in some of her own wonderfully crafted designs. Called “Don The Verb” Astrom’s collection started in 2007 along with her partner Yanina Landsaat.
The two first met at the Don The Verb vintage store where, since its inception, Astrom was a regular customer upon moving to New York City in 2005 following four years of fashion design studies. As for Landsaat, she was born in Kiev, Ukraine, but grew up in Baltimore, MD. In New York, she worked for several fashion corporations in marketing and development, before opening her vintage store Don The Verb in May of 2006.
What’s so wonderful about Don The Verb’s designs is that they are clean-cut, stylish, and modern while being functional. The pieces are mostly made of simple shapes accented with purposeful details. One of the main inspirations for the line is the concept of uniform dressing. In fact, the first collection was called “New York Uniform” and was presented in-season for Summer 07, as part of Don The Verb’s one-year anniversary celebration. Astrom said that “the inspiration was everyday uniforms that could be worn throughout the day and into the night and where one’s identity could clearly be noticed. The pieces were all completely trans-seasonal, one size, hand washable and never wrinkled.”
Fall/Winter 2008 was shown during New York Fashion Week and drew inspiration from the 1920’s Erte Sketches and ancient Native American Indian clothing. “The collection, named "Modern Warrior", would have to adapt to all elements of an urban environment and still look stylized and practical,” says Astrom.
As for what’s to come, the Swedish designer says that the inspiration for the latest designs “came from summer in New York City. The human parade along with ice cream trucks, train announcements, black outs, brown outs, humidity, waiting in line to wait in line to wait in line. We celebrate feeling psychologically unsound. Everyone in the city feels it at one point or another. The collection is a bit unsound and unnerving. Some of the pieces do not have matching sleeves or the lengths are not equal. All the details are quietly worked into the pieces creating different variations in drapes and shapes.”
Images courtesy of Christopher Bush and AstromLandsaat designs.