Brand to Know: The Vibrant Line Inspired by 600-Year-Old Pajamas

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Horror Vacui’s Spring/Summer 2018 Collection

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“I can’t imagine living or even working in an empty white room,” says the designer Anna Heinrichs from her studio in Munich, Germany. “A love of detail is love for a full life.” Her maximalist sensibility also manifests itself in Horror Vacui, a women’s wear label she founded in 2012. “It’s a Latin expression which describes the human instinct to decorate, the urge to fill a vacant space with all kinds of details,” she notes.

Vibrant sleeping gowns (for day and night), airy tops and oversized shirt-dresses in patterned silks and crisp Egyptian cottons are bedrocks of the brand, which stemmed from a simple style conundrum. “I wanted a pair of well-made pajamas in Liberty London Fabric that had all the traditional details, from piped button holes to boutonniere loops,” Heinrichs says. “But that didn’t exist, so I decided to make my own.”

At the time, Heinrichs had no formal design training, having studied law at the University of Regensburg in Germany and the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. “My time in Milan reminded me of my true passion, which was design,” she says. “I was exposed to this wonderful world of architecture, fashion and even product design,” she adds. “But I didn’t have the courage to make a change then, so I finished my degree and started working at a local law firm in Munich.”

Coincidentally, during that period, her mother founded a small sewing mill in Ukraine, which specialized in producing traditional Bavarian jackets and Loden capes, or German shooting coats. “I would go there and create variations of the pajamas with my mother and the seamstresses, who were highly skilled,” Heinrichs says. “I was fascinated by their craftsmanship.”

Word of Heinrichs’s plush pajamas spread. “My friends, their mothers, their mother’s friends — it grew quickly,” she says. “It was at that moment that I realized I could develop the idea and grow a brand of my own, so I quit my job and applied to show at a trade show in Paris.” Her confidence grew after receiving a call from Christiane Arp, the editor in chief at German Vogue, who asked if she’d like to take part in an initiative for emerging designers called Vogue Salon. “Christiane told me she thought I could do far more than just pajamas, so I did.”



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