Since 1995 there’s been one NYC-based store that all the it girls and fashion insiders have called their own. Kathy Kemp’s iconic boutique, ANNA, is the name these chic shoppers share only with their most inner circle. No wonder New York Magazine called ANNA, “one of the city's best-kept secrets.”
Named after Kemp’s grandmother, who taught her how to sew when she was 13 years old, there is a familial atmosphere when you walk through the doors of ANNA. Upon entering, Kemp greets you warmly and truly feels like a lifelong friend — granted one with killer style instincts. No surprise then that ANNA has become a destination for fashionable women to go together in pairs: mother and daughter, best friends, sisters, etc. ANNA is the perfect space for scoring a one-of- a-kind find and building great memories. While Kemp embraces that sense of intimacy, when the opportunity to move into a shared space with her business partner Kelly Colasanti came about, Kemp jumped. After nearly two decades in the East Village, ANNA is now rooted in the rich history and artistic influences of the West Village at 13 Christopher Street.
Kemp is focused on pulling inspiration from her new neighborhood, while organically serving the community as a one-stop- shop for any of your wardrobe needs. The inventory — a curated mix of need-now dresses, blouses and more all designed by Kemp in NYC, and select vintage inspirations — is constantly evolving with her customer’s desires, with new items arriving weekly. Each style is infused with Kemp’s unique vision of “classic, traditional pieces with a twist,” and are stylish ‘keepers’ that do not chase trends, but rather move with a woman’s body and the demands of her busy life. “I think it’s really modern for women to not necessarily buy full collections, but rotate pieces in and out throughout the season.”
But of course, women don’t just come for the clothing. Since ANNA was started before everyone had a cell phone and internet in hand, Kemp has had a long history of making deep personal connections with her clientele. If a customer breaks up with her boyfriend, she comes to ANNA boutique. If she lands a new job, she pops by for a first day look (and maybe a celebratory glass of wine). Kemp has seen many of her best customers through a full narrative of ups and downs; “I’ve met all kinds of people, in all kinds of different phases of their lives. It’s always been an of-the-moment, intimate feeling.” These same women evolved into loyal customers and friends who faithfully followed Kemp to the West Village for her signature brand of cool.
Now DESIGNOW is proud to share with you this “best kept secret” with an upcoming collaboration of dresses from Kathy Kemp imbibed with the spirit and energy of ANNA. And turns out, our love affair with Kemp is a two-way street: “My favorite part of designing with DESIGNOW was being able to come with an idea and seeing it come out even better than expected. I’m pretty accustomed to doing everything myself but at DESIGNOW there was a helpful team and community for me to work with that ended up bringing about amazing designs.”