When it comes to people who really have fun with their clothes, visual designer Anchyi Wei immediately pops to mind. A fixture at fashion events and part of the creative partnership behind ArtJamz, Wei is always dressed to the nines, but with her signature spin — think wild '70s jumpsuits paired with Margiela and McQueen.
We caught up with the always-charming Wei to discuss her artistic side and her upcoming jewelry line — and discover her secrets to nailing that always-tricky "creative cocktail" dress code. Prepare to be (art) schooled!
Photographed by Dominique Fierro
How does your career as a visual designer affect or play into your sense of style?
"My approach to style is pretty much identical to designing and creating a work of art. Different elements are combined in various ways, creating a final piece that conveys a message. Fashion for me is not just about the latest trends or looking pretty, but more so another outlet for creativity."
Marc by Marc Jacobs lace dress, Skingraft white top, Karl Lagerfeld collar, Henry Schreiner brooch, fingerless gloves from Neiman Marcus, and Alexander McQueen booties.
Where do you like to shop in D.C.? Any favorite online sources?
"D.C. is great for vintage finds — Dr. K's, Rock it Again, and Pretty People in Old Town are all great. The majority of my closet comes from online sources — I love Net-A-Porter, The Outnet, Ssense, The Corner, and Gilt."
Anchyi scored her gorgeous vintage brooch at Tiny Jewel Box in Dupont.
What are your favorite current pieces in your closet?
"Anndra Neen cage bag — it's like a metal sculpture! Altuzarra sweater coat — edgy yet cozy. Cushnie et Ochs leather skirt with peaks — the shape is so avant-garde, it could easily dress up any simple top."
Anndra Neen bag.
Anchyi's hair is just as cool and creative as she is — we're loving her new turn as a platinum pixie.
What made you decide to help your husband launch ArtJamz?
"Besides having to be his biggest supporter as part of spousal duties, I really love the public art studio idea, and secretly just want to own a bar! There's nothing like going to a bar and creating a work of art at the same time."
Tom Ford glasses, Marni coat, Alexander Wang top, Diane von Furstenberg skirt, Alexander McQueen heels.
How does your creative partnership work?
"I handle the visual identity side of the business — branding, photography, website, marketing materials, merchandise, etc. In our working relationship, it's important to define our own roles. We each have our strengths, and we respect and admire that."
Can you tell she loves a good statement shoe?
Do you have a fashion philosophy?
"Be true to yourself. Don't just go by trends unless they really speak to you. Nothing's more attractive than being confident and feeling great in the right outfit!"
Vintage jumpsuit from Rock It Again, GStar jacket, Prada sunglasses, Maison Martin Margiela belt, vintage bag, Stuart Weitzman sandals.
Anchyi created these brass statement cuffs as part of her new jewelry collection.
Who are some of your style role models?
"Miroslava Duma, Daphne Guinness, Anna Dello Russo. Ultimately, I just want to look like Iris Apfel when I'm 90."
Let's envision your dream closet — tell us about the key pieces that are in it, and how you put them all together.
"A perfectly tailored, structured military coat; a fit-and-flare dress with an exaggerated architectural shape; a statement high-collar necklace; a metal bag for texture; a pair of sexy nude pumps."
Are there any brands or looks you're currently loving?
"I'm lusting after the graphic prints from Peter Pilotto, the structure from Mary Katrantzou, and the texture from Christopher Kane."
VKOO sweater, Alice and Olivia skirt, Christian Louboutin studded heels.
And you're working on a jewelry collection — how did that come about? What's the vision for your line?
"The idea came from my first visit to China a couple years back — I was inspired by the designs of early BC centuries and the accessories of ethnic minority tribes from southeast Asia. Being an avant-garde girl at heart, my challenge is to incorporate these vintage and antique elements with modern design aesthetics. It's a perfect representation of my personal style — a juxtaposition of two opposite ends of the extreme!"
Anchyi Wei Designs necklace.
Bag stalking! We've got our eye on this vintage satchel.
If you had to describe a signature "Anchyi" look in a few words, what would you say?
"Bold, unashamed, contrast, and plenty of texture!"