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Anna Schaffer: The Petite Powerhouse behind the Label Bibi Bachtadze

Better known by her nickname Bibi, Anna Schaffer helms the label Bibi Bachtadze which focuses on small, beautiful collections and private commissions. A total polygot, Schaffer was born in Georgia, grew up in Berlin and divides her time between France, Germany, and Spain. Despite her gamine looks and petite stature, she is a fierce businesswoman brimming with integrity and her meticulous designs, featuring handmade lace and intricate embroidery is wearable couture. Here she openly discusses her influences, career, and couture.

Illustration by Alice Lindley

Illustration by Alice Lindley

Was it always your dream to become a fashion designer and begin your own label?

"No! Like many girls I wanted to be a ballerina, but I had always loved making clothes with my mother. As a teenager I recognised my skill as a talent – so I went to study design at University. My career didn't really lead up to having my label! Whilst studying I beg an designing custom gowns for people. When I finished I already had a client base. However, I was offered jobs straight out of design school, so I worked

as a maker for Tumi and then moved to a management position at Celine. It was an incredible experience and I loved leading a team - it gave me the confidence to leave and start my own brand."

What are you most inspired by? Which designers do you respect?

"The female body and making clothes that celebrate a woman's unique beauty fascinates me. I also love texture. I go to big fabric markets in Paris to look for inspiration for colours, materials and embroidery. Alexander McQueen was an incredible designer; his work was so fearlessly dramatic. I think so far the label has done really well to continue his style. I also love Riccardo Tisci and the poeticism of his work."

Illustration by Alice Lindley

Illustration by Alice Lindley

How does art influence your designs?

"I am much more tactile than visual - I really focus on textures and the techniques I use. I see fashion and art as very different. Art is the pure expression of the artist, but fashion is made for humans to express themselves. As a designer, I am always creating products for a woman. As an artist, I would say you just 'create'. However, couture can be compared to art – in that the amount of work going into it is more than just fashion or style - it's something bigger."

Some pay the price of a house for a couture dress, what do you think about this kind of purchase?

"Personally, my prices never reach hundreds of thousands, I don't know if I co

uld charge that much! But when someone pays 250K for a dress it isn't just for

something to wear, it's a demonstration of their wealth, an investment. They

think carefully about how much the worth of their purchase will increase over

time, just like buying a painting."


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