Anest Collective celebrates the proportions of da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

Anest Collective continues its search for perfection with a new collection that looks back to the ideal proportions of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

Models wear coats and jackets by Anest Collective
Left, Coat, £3,220, Anest Collective. Right, Jacket, £2,500, Anest Collective. Fashion: Jason Hughes
(Image credit: Leon Chew)

When Brendan Mullane, the contributing creative director of Anest Collective, visits the Italian ateliers producing the brand’s trend-subverting silhouettes, he marvels at their attention to detail and collaborative spirit. ‘I’ve known the head of one of our knitwear factories for over 25 years,’ says Mullane, who has worked for labels including Brioni and Givenchy. ‘One of the master tailors in another factory is in his eighties. These people are just unmatched in their ability.’

Unmatched ability is integral to Anest Collective, a Shanghai- and Milan-based label launched in 2017. ‘We want to provoke a feeling, a sensation,’ explains Mullane. Its collections are entirely concept-driven, while the brand’s Instagram is populated with artworks by Man Ray, Brâncuși and Cy Twombly. Da Vinci’s 1490 Vitruvian Man, which considers the perfect proportions of mankind as sitting inside a circle and a square, inspired the A/W 2021 collection’s circular motifs. These shapes encourage a purist vision of form, with silhouettes incorporating circular motifs: hourglass waists, a cocooning back, a raglan shoulder. ‘There’s a sense of study inside the clothing,’ explains Mullane. ‘The concept is more than what the eye can see. Our collections aren’t about referencing something thematic, like the 1970s. We want to provoke a feeling, a sensation.’

Anest Collective looks back to the ideal proportions of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

Close up of Anest Collective coat

Jacket, £2,500, Anest Collective

(Image credit: Leon Chew)

Mullane joined the brand in March 2020, during the first iteration of global lockdown imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic – for Mullane, a creatively liberating experience, much to his surprise. ‘I managed to take myself out of the rat race,’ he says. ‘I was able to think in a different way. I had time to think about the study of perfection.’ Mullane and the octogenarian tailor he so admires, passionate about the positioning of a seam or the dimensions of a drape, have a lot in common.  

Model wears coat and roll neck by Anest Collective

Coat, £2,880; roll neck, £697, Anest Collective

(Image credit: Leon Chew)

Model wears dress by Anest Collective

Dress, £1,700, Anest Collective. Earrings, price on request, Susan Caplan

(Image credit: Leon Chew)


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