DANAME by Dana Messika Brings Embroidery Down from its “Pedestal” to Everyday Life
Represented by Totem Fashion.
It takes time to create magic.” DANAME takes the most aristocratic element in fashion, embroidery, down from its pedestal — and reductive place on bridal and evening wear — to all hours of the day. Furthermore, it takes this ancient craft and gives it a bold, modern vibe.
Interview with Dana Stinée Messika
Q: You’re the daughter of a seamstress. What did you learn and can you share more about how that informs your experience as a designer?
I think the values that I took from her are not so much about being a seamstress as about being humble and about being a worker and about working with your hands.
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Photos: Asaf Einy, Omer Kesem Kaplan
Q: Learning the craftsmanship in a hands-on way.
Yes. From the bottom up. From the grass-roots level.
Q: What made you decide to start your own collection?
I wanted to give a respectful and an honorable place to hand embroidery. I think it’s disappearing. I have great, great respect for hand embroidery and actual handwork.
I have great, great respect for actual handwork
I found that hand embroidery could be placed on the most beautiful canvas in the world, which is the human body. I could hand embroider on anything, right? I could hand embroider on tapestries. I could hand embroider on sofas. But I think the human body is the most dynamic, the most political, the most vibrant, the loudest, the quietest, the saddest, the happiest.
the most beautiful canvas in the world is the human body
Q: What are your influences and inspiration?
I’m inspired by the people who are out there and who spend so much time and so much of their eyesight and so much of their backs to do beautiful, beautiful, beautiful things.
I think that I really believe, appreciate, and what really resonates within me is that it’s considered a lower form of art, yeah?
Q: Embroidery is considered a lower form of art?
It’s not the “high art,” “art for art’s sake.” It’s to cover the walls; it’s to embellish what you wear.
This resonates within me much, much, much more than high art.
This resonates within me much more than high art
Q: It’s the humble craftsmanship.
Humble, and it’s something that connects us to something which is bigger than us. The collective human experience.
I think that in ancient or in earlier societies, they used to embroider together, they used to cook together, they used to embellish their homes together, they used to work together.
It’s transgenerational; it’s passed from parent to child. It’s passed from friend to friend. This is what really touches me more.
Q: Tell me about the current collection. I’m seeing some lurex stuff, almost like ‘70s kind of touches.
Actually, the ‘70s will come stronger next season.
Q: Interesting. So I’m seeing an echo of the future.
Q: Who is the DANAME woman and how should she feel when she’s wearing your art? Is it for evening wear? Is it for the exotic woman? The adventurous woman?
I want her to open the closet, and say I can bring it to the office. This will be a very, very big victory for me.
Q: So, versatility?
I want to make hand embroidery accessible. I think hand embroidery is the most aristocratic element in the fashion industry.
I think it deserves a bigger place. I want to bring it down from its pedestal. I want to bring it down from its reductive place of gala and evening and bridal wear. I want to give it more ways of expression during the day and during women’s lives.
I want to bring it down from its reductive place of gala and evening and bridal wear
Q: What is the importance of jewelry in the collection?
It’s aware of the jewelry. I think that when you spend time creating something, it becomes a higher thing. When you spend time doing embroidery, hand embroidery, it becomes higher fashion.
The DANAME Client
DANAME’s client is the post-modern woman, who is not afraid to walk off the beaten path, and who is affirmative and comfortable in her femininity. Furthermore, this woman has a deep understanding that hand embroidery connects the human experience to earlier times.
DANAME FW19/20 is inspired by the Japanese aesthetic and philosophical concept of Kintzukuroi, a pottery restoration technique trough molding gold into the cracks. The gold that invades the cracks brings light, and turns broken pottery into a precious object.
Following this Japanese concept, embroidery emulates the gold forms by creating pure embroidery lines that act as a quiet force of restrained glamour.
For this collection, we felt that in order to follow the demand for evening cocktail wear, starting with a capsule collection was a good starting point. Timeless pieces, with clean, accessible lines that are elevated through the embroidery and fabrics.
Our challenge for the next season is that we want to add embroidery to daywear. There Is a fine line and precision to reach the right point of merging hand embroidery while keeping a more relaxed, casual look, thus maintaining our commitment to offer this jewel to be worn day to night.
About Dana Stinée Messika
Dana was born in Romania, the daughter of a seamstress. At the age of 18, she began a career in modeling in Australia, then in Japan and finally decided to settle in Paris in 1987. In 1989, she met her husband, the famous diamond merchant Andre Messika, and they started a family. She then joined the American University of Paris to study gender studies and history of art.
Dana then went on to become a homeopath and enjoyed this profession immensely. However, in 2016 she decided to listen to her intuition and create her own women’s ready-to-wear brand: DANAME. Her fashion vision aimed to make handcrafted embroidery and simple pure lines with elaborate details more accessible in the fashion world, advocating finesse and elegance.