Ok, we'll admit it -- we're fascinated by legacies. There's something about mitochondria that makes us trill. A couple weeks ago at Grazia.it, we grilled Gabriel, and this week, we're all about one of the van Zweden kids, Anna-Sophia. The young Dutch daugher of Jaap van Zweden has just graduated from the University of Amsterdam and her career beckons. She's got tons of cards up her (sleeveless) Givenchy gown, and we can't wait to see where they fall.
Or, if your Italian is lame (lamer!), click the link below for the English translation.
Anna-Sophia van Zweden grew up in a house full of music. She recalls her dad playing crib-side violin lullabies and Sunday morning breakfasts to a Bach soundtrack. Many young girls would have protested, but not the daughter of Jaap van Zweden -- the Dutch conductor and current Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra who studied at Juilliard and later became the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra's youngest concertmaster in 1979.
In her brilliant couture gowns (some borrowed from her mother’s vintage cache) -- or equally comfortable in a Maria Callas-silkscreened Dolce & Gabbana t-shirt, Celine purse or Christopher Kane shift dress -- Anna-Sophia steps into the spotlight of the rich van Zweden legacy.
She just graduated from the University of Amsterdam with a Bachelors in Cultural Heritage and a minor in Art History, and after a few fashion classes as catalyst, she’s trying her hand at designing: “Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a fabulous idea for a dress or jacket and I have to put it on paper before I can go back to sleep,” she said.
She also dabbles in philanthropy through her mother Aaltje van Zweden–van Buuren’s non-profit Papageno Foundation, an organization that encourages music therapy for children with autism, a family-affair motivated by an autistic brother.
The artist, fashion designer, and visionary tells us how growing up with classical music can inspire great things.
Do you remember the moment you fell in love with classical music?
"Classical music has always been a huge part of my life. Because I was surrounded by it, it was normal. I didn’t realize how special it was to go to the opera with your mother or to watch your father play with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw instead of going to the movies. When I was a teenager I went on vacation with a friend and saw my father playing on TV. It brought me to tears because I suddenly realized how much I loved classical music and how much respect and admiration I had for my family. To me it is a pure, spiritual wealth."
How does your unique cultural upbringing manifest in you?
"Through art and fashion. I’m a very visual person and need to create – I’ve gone through sculpting phases and occasionally I’ve done styling for photo shoots. When I was young, my mother took me to museums around the world and I have the fondest memories of her explaining the artists and the works to me. Although art is my passion, fashion is in my blood. My mother has some of the most beautiful haute couture pieces by Dutch couturier Frank Govers that I remodeled and wear for special occasions."
What about the synthesis between classical music and fashion?
"All arts are connected -- it’s just a matter of media in which the artist creates. I’m inspired by artists like Alexander McQueen who reframed art history and classical music: his last collection had breathtaking Renaissance allusions to Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights and Vermeer in the textiles. I’m also inspired by opera productions that bring fashion to the opera stage – Prada, Viktor & Rolf, Missoni. It’s a great skill to channel fashion in such a visual manifestation and weave it into the composer’s music, libretto, and sensibility. Personally, classical music and fashion culminate for me by dressing up for a special nights at the symphony – it’s part of the magic and a way to show appreciation for the music and musicians."
What’s coming up the next few months?
"Right now I’m celebrating my graduation on our family yacht with friends and family in St. Tropez. Next week, we’ll sail to Monaco, Monte Carlo for a concert with my father and American violinist Joshua Bell at the Royal Palace for Wagenaar's Cyrano de Bergerac overture, Bruch's Violin Concerto no.1, and Beethoven's Fifth symphony."
"This fall, for the third year, I’m hosting the Dallas Symphony Gala After-Party on September 17th. Joshua Bell is performing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and my father is conducting. As chair of the event, it’s my job to attract new crowds. One of the ways I find most effective is to focus on the glamour and uniqueness of the event, which I apply to my personal styling -- the past years for instance I restyled a vintage 1980s Givenchy dress or found a rare lace from France to incorporate into a dress. I like to borrow from my European legacy."
"On September 24th I’m co-chairing a new charity event in Dallas called ReDefine at George Michael’s and Kenny Goss’s Goss-Michael Foundation, a contemporary art foundation, to benefit the Staying Alive Foundation. It’s sponsored by MTV and the event will include an art auction of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin works, a concert, and an after party."