Anna Glover x H&M: a garden of earthly delights
Meet the latest H&M collaborator! Anna Glover is an award-winning print designer who specialises in bespoke wallpaper, textiles and digital surface design – and once dressed Beyoncé.
Let’s just get it out of the way: “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking,” said Miranda Priestly quite famously. But in the case of H&M’s latest print collaboration, we think that the Devil who wears Prada herself would be pleasantly surprised. On 12 April, H&M launches the Anna Glover x H&M capsule collection, which features completely bespoke (and utterly mesmerising) floral and botanical-based prints created by the London-based print designer. The womenswear collection features a wide range of spring-ready dresses, jumpsuits, skirts, trousers, shorts and tops with long, flowy silhouettes and details such as wide sleeves, matching fabric belts and drawstring hems.
While the pieces were designed in-house, the colourful prints created by Anna Glover, of course, are key to this collection. All her designs start with hand-painting, then are scanned and digitally manipulated in order to artfully layer colours, motifs and textures. As a result, the prints have a painterly feel, but also a magnificent and frankly, unparalleled depth. There’s an Old Masters art vibe in particular because there’s something so alive and lit-from-within, but the motifs are also bang up-to-date, decadent and simply stunning.
H&M Magazine recently caught up with Anna in her light-filled studio in East London to talk about her work, creative processes and the importance of storytelling.
WHAT INITIALLY DREW YOU TO TEXTILE DESIGN?
"When I was younger, I knew I was going to do something creative, but I didn’t know what it was. With textile design, I guess it was the blend of fashion and technology. It can be quite technically challenging, which I really love."
CAN YOU JUST TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND IN FASHION AND TREND FORECASTING?
"After graduating, I went to work for Circleline Design. They’re a really innovative textile design studio that specialises in artwork for high-end to high street fashion and trend forecasting for print. Sometimes I’d see my design on a catwalk – that was really exciting. Or a celebrity – I had Beyoncé wearing one of my prints once!"
IN YOUR NAMESAKE DESIGN STUDIO, DO YOU ALWAYS WORK WITH BOTANICALS?
"No, not always although that’s what we’re well-known for. We do abstract and geometric work as well, and we’ve got some quite exciting much more abstract projects at the moment. But here [in England], people do love a botanical [laughs]."
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE BESPOKE PRINTS YOU CREATED FOR THE H&M COLLABORATION?
"H&M asked me to translate the sense of storytelling I love into prints that could be worn every day, so we came up with the idea of transporting people to a beautiful, surreal garden. The prints are all flora and fauna from that place, with the starting point this tropical jungle print with birds that’s reminiscent of our first bespoke wallpaper project. All the other prints came off the back of that. Everything’s first hand-painted in gouache. And then it’s scanned in and worked digitally to prepare it for print. It’s in repeat pattern and we can change colours, but before we start painting, we decide on a theme and the colour palette."
"I love the combination of the hand-painting and the digital, but the hand-painting is key. I just feel it’s a timeless technique and I really like seeing the evidence of the hand and the brush marks, and that always translates really beautifully to fabric."
DO YOU HAVE ANY PARTICULAR INFLUENCES THAT INSPIRE YOUR WORK?
"This is always the hardest question because I draw inspiration from a really wide variety of sources – art, fashion, films, science, nature. I always gather lots of images. But in terms of favourites or things that will always inspire me, it’s Japanese block printing, and their master painters, because I think their use of colour and composition is unrivalled. So I always go back to that."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN GENERAL ON FASHION AND TRENDS?
"I’m not really a trend-led person, but I do love how trends work and affect across all creative industries, seeing the patterns evolve. How an art exhibition or a film can influence daily life or what we choose to wear or eat or where we go. I really love that. I know some people are cynical about it, but I think it feels like mass creativity where everyone’s kind of saying, “Yes, that's great.” I find it quite intriguing."
I had Beyoncé wearing one of my prints once!
IF YOU WERE TO PICK A FEW HIGHLIGHTS FROM YOUR CAREER SO FAR, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
"The Elle Decoration Award in 2015, my favourite project, The Chess Club, and the H&M collaboration."
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WORKING WITH H&M ON THE COLLABORATION?
"I was really excited. And right from the first meeting, it felt really natural. We were all on the same page. Then throughout the project, there was a real sense of mutual respect that made it a complete pleasure to work on."
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PIECE FROM THE COLLABORATION?
"Personally, I like the petal jumpsuit, but I think the most eye-catching is the jungle print kimono wrapped dress."
HOW DO YOU THINK IT WILL FEEL WHEN YOU SEE THE PEOPLE ALL AROUND THE WORLD WEARING YOUR PRINTS?
"Quite surreal, I think. And I like the idea that someone might pop up unexpectedly and be like, 'Wow, that’s nice.'"
IT COULD BE BEYONCÉ AGAIN!
"Yes! That would be amazing!"
Anna Glover x H&M is available worldwide starting 12 April.
QUICK-FIRE QUESTIONS WITH ANNA GLOVER
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS.
"Small, curious and determined."
TYPICAL MORNING ROUTINE?
"I usually cycle to work along the canal, have my coffee, do my emails and then start painting."
THREE PEOPLE YOU’RE INSPIRED BY?
"Tawaraya Sōtatsu – he’s a master Japanese painter and I love everything – Hieronymus Bosch for insane creativity and Dries Van Noten for the use of print."
FAVOURITE FASHION DESIGNERS?
"Dries Van Noten and Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, just again both for their use of print. They know when to leave space, as well."
"Kyoto, Lisbon and London."
"Oh, I think it changes over time. And usually if I’m working on a project, I’ll get really into certain colours. Right now, I’m into warm colours, oranges and reds."
ABOUT ANNA GLOVER
Anna Glover is creative director of the eponymous, award-winning design studio that specialises in bespoke wallpaper, textiles and digital surface design using traditional hand-painting techniques. With a background in trend forecasting and artwork design for brands such as Armani, Etro and Givenchy, Glover now focuses on residential and commercial spaces, working closely with top interior designers, architects and private clients. Recent projects include the Chess Club in London and several properties across Europe.