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Anna Gleeson

1. When do you feel at your most attractive?

When I wake up with perfect hair. When I've been excercising and eating well. When I'm naked or in my best bra and knickers.

2. Do you notice women on the street? If so, what sort of women do you tend to notice or admire?

Yes I do. It makes me happy to see women (and men) who are getting a kick out life, out of who they are. I love just to sit and notice people. I often sit and draw people in the coffee shop and I notice I draw women more than men. They make more interesting shapes with their bodies, clothing and hair. As an artist I'm interested in the way women's fashion objectifies, delineates and confines a woman's body. It's something quite different from men's clothing - much less functional.

3. What are some things you admire about how other women present themselves?

I admire a woman who looks empowered by her clothing - some meeting of comfort and elegance. I'm not so into a very sexualised or revealing look on a woman but that's not a moral thing. I spent some time in Japan and I caught something from Japanese fashion - it's less about the waist. It's about wrapping the body elegantly more than about revealing.
I often like seeing older women dressed up. I love it when you see them wearing an outfit they've obviously had for decades and still rocking it. I love seeing old ladies wearing mixed prints. I've seen this all over the world and I'm totally planning on wearing mixed prints when I hit 80.
I admire originality and daring. I admire excellent execution of an idea.

4. Was there a moment in your life when something “clicked” for you about fashion or dressing or make-up or hair? What? Why did it happen then, do you think?

I always found decisions about what to buy and what to wear really difficult and found it overwhelming to choose a style that would be my style. I could agonise over questions like - does it make me that kind of girl if I wear this kind of jeans? Is this too ditsy? Is that too normal? Does this seem to nouveau riche? Is this too intellectual? Will people at the party know what I mean by this tent dress or will they just think I'm pregnant? etc etc etc. I was trying to get my style 'right'.

And then I just got that it's not so significant actually. There's not some thing called 'my style' which exists in the universe - I can make it up. I can make it up everyday. Who cares? I can just wear what I want.

With this realisation came the purchase of a dries van noten dress that seemed kind of wild and not a sensible purchase. I had always tried to make sensible purchases before. Anway I just love that dress and I wear it so much. I put it on and am instantly beautiful and comfortable. It's magic.

5. What are some shopping rules you wouldn’t necessarily recommend to others but which you follow?

If you love it just buy it.
Don't engage in conversations about 'it's too expensive' or 'it's too cheap/old/smelly'. You either have the money or you don't. Everything else is just a conversation. There is no 'expensive'. There is no 'is'.

Shop alone.

Buy really good shoes.

Even if you can't afford it - go try on some really well-made clothes just to feel how the world is from the inside of beautifully made clothing.

6. What are some rules about dressing you follow, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend to others?

If it looks kind of dumb or awkward - perfect!

Muted colours work best.

7. What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had on the subject of fashion or style?

It was in a money seminar run by landmark education - a seminar about examining one's relationship to money.
I got that I had been not buying myself new clothes for years because I was married to a banker and I didn't want people to think I was some kind of money-flinging banker's wife. I was making a show of being really frugal and only buying second-hand clothing. It was totally inauthentic. I really got the impact it was having on my self-expression. I really got that it was totally bull shit. And I just dropped the whole story.

8. Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationships, finances, chores, etc.? Please explain.

The purpose of my life is to expand beauty and community in the world through the Arts. When I say Arts I mean it really inclusively; cooking a good dinner is art, so is tending a garden, drawing, dressing, setting the table, designing the layout of an invoice, reading a story to my toddler etc etc

This is the way I approach my life.

9. Are there any clothing (or related) items that you have in multiple? Why do you think you keep buying this thing?

If there's a colour or cut that I find just works really well for me I'll buy something with that same colour or shape. But not exactly the same.

10. Have you ever successfully given someone a present of jewelry or clothing that you continue to feel good about?

No never.

11. Is there any fashion trend you’ve refused to participate in and why? 

There are many. Just because I didn't like them. There were maybe some that I liked but that didn't suit me.

12. Can you say a bit about how your mother’s body and style has been passed down to you, or not?

My mother has a certain casualness that I also have. We don't really do glamour very often.

I have my love of natural fibres from my mum. She always wore really great cotton summer dresses with fantastic prints.

I like the colour rust and it was my mother who discovered and told me that this colour really suits me. She has an eye for colour.

13. Have you stolen, borrowed or adapted any dressing ideas or actual items from friends or family?

Probably! My sister has great style. I haven't stolen any actually garments but I would totally steal an idea.

14. Was there a point in your life when your style changed dramatically? What happened?

There were lots. I've lived in Sydney, Berlin, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong and with each move my style changed. The context is different in each place. In New York I had a lot of vintage clothing wiht little stains or tears. When I arrived in Tokyo stains and tears didn't seem ok to leave the house in anymore. In Japan you can wear really short shorts and no one blinks an eye but I've stopped doing that since I've left - it's a bigger statement in the Western world somehow.
At some point I had a lot of red in my wardrobe and then it changed to blue. In Japan the colours got closer to grey. In Sydney I want to wear dusty pink and cream, lolly green - something more modern and playful.
Lately I'm in trousers a lot more, when I was younger it was always dresses. I like clothing that has me feel empowered and like I can do anything in them.

15. Is there anything political about the way you dress?


16. Please describe your body.

Just like Botticelli's Venus - a little older and after a baby.

What’s your birth date? 
Where were you born and where do you live now?

1978, Newcastle Australia
Hong Kong

What kind of work do you do?

artist, illustrator, publisher

Are you single, married, do you have kids, etc.?

one kid

Please say anything you like about yourself that might put this survey into some sort of context.

I was dyeing some clothing this afternoon and needed something I could do for 5 minutes then 10 minutes. To keep me occupied but not with something that would make me forget to go and do the next step of the process.

How do you feel after filling out this survey?

Like I want to stop looking at the computor now. Hungry.

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