From Berlin with Love: An interview with Tamar & Anna

Culture — 10.03.22

Photographer: Jeton Bakalli
Stylist: Marian Schlicker
Words: Ala Sowiar of Halo Labels
Special thanks to Tamari Nikoleishvili & Anna von Rüden

On Tamar (left): Dress and Trousers Halo Labels, Shirt Wolford.
On Anna (right): Dress and Trousers Halo Labels.

Two extraordinary figures of the Berlin fashion scene, Tamari Nikoleishvili and Anna von Rüden, allowed us to capture something transcendental in the process of a female coming-of-age story. Both young and mature at the same time, they are both extremely cool, curious, and playful. Anna has been a model since she was 16, traveling the world until starting a family, including 12 grandchildren. In recent years she has been embracing her timeless beauty and rediscovering her passion for modeling through walking last year’s runway for Yohji Yamamoto and Undercover. Dark-haired Tamar was a former fashion designer of the Berlin-based brand Penelope’s Sphere and would host private dinner parties to showcase her work to her fashion friends.

For these two individuals, the meanings of social, biological, and psychological age do not always coincide. These portraits are a study of mature femininity, but also a transcendental, playful imagination showcasing that their intellectual and emotional interests withstand the test of time.

In this interview, we catch up with Tamar and Anna post-photoshoot to discuss their backgrounds and personal experience in fashion.

On Tamar (left): Shirt Wolford, Dress Julia Sumislawski.
On Anna (right): Top Eckhaus Latta, Dress Julia Sumislawski.

Ala Sowiar: We met you on set and you both created an amazing atmosphere and connection between each other and the crew. You have both been in the fashion scene professionally for years. What made you go in this direction?

Tamar: I had to rebel against my parents’ decision! In Georgia, I “had” to study medicine because almost the whole family was [sic] a doctor. After that, I emigrated to Germany on my own to study what is known as “Textile Architecture”, which was my passion. But it was also an act of personal liberation.

On Anna (left): Shirt Halo Labels, Vest Vintage, Skirt Medamorpho.
On Tamar (right): Balaclava Paula Bauer, Web Cape Halo Labels.

Tamar, you were running your own label called Penelope’s Sphere, can you tell us what inspired you to start your own company?

Tamar: I guess, everything that I didn’t know inspired me. I ran my fashion label for 13 years. For that length of time, I tried to make an avant-garde fashion label. I was working 24/7 but the sales weren’t great. I recognized that the final customers didn’t really want new/different ideas (now I also see how arrogant this sentence sounds…) I wasn’t able to constantly reduce my designs and gave up after 24 collections. The decision-making took me 8 years. Now I’m a very happy ground school teacher, with a huge sense for fashion!

On Tamar (left): Balaclava Paula Breuer, Vest Claude Montana Vintage.
On Anna (right): Shirt and Trousers Halo Labels, Scarf Stylist’s Archive.

What kind of clothes do you like to wear personally? What do you think about fashion nowadays?

Anna: I like clothes with an idea behind them, clothes that make me feel like a real woman, like a queen, dramatic. If possible, natural fibers, no girly style, fashion nowadays – toooooo quick.

Tamar: Actually, for me,  there never was some certain style or specific garments that I used to prefer. I just had strange ideas and then started to “smell and see“ them, until they were finally made! 

On Anna (left): Shirt Halo Labels, Vest Vintage, Skirt Medamorpho.
On Tamar (right): Top Jean Paul Gaultier, Trousers Stylist’s Archive.

Anna, when and how did you start modeling, and do you enjoy it? 

Anna: I started modeling during my studies. I always wanted many children, so I stopped when I found a suitable father and eventually became a family. I started again with my modeling career recently. I was finally ready again…and I love my job. This is all I was longing for and it’s been fulfilling!

On Tamar (left): Balaclava Paula Breuer, Vest Claude Montana Vintage.
On Anna (right): Jacket Halo Labels, Cap Nike ACG.

Anna, you were a model for avant-garde masters like Yohji Yamamoto and Undercover. Do you have any other memorable moments you can recall? 

Anna: I had the best beginning at my first job for my first Fashion Week Berlin in 2011, inside Tacheles Berlin for MOON. The temperature inside and outside was the same when we shot this editorial in January. It was the best feeling, but many years ago. 

On Anna (left): Top Eckhaus Latta, Dress Julia Sumislawski. 
On Tamar (right):
Shirt Wolford, Dress Julia Sumislawski.

What is important for you apart from your work? What are you focusing on right now?

Tamar: For now I’m focusing on my own two kids, amongst 100 other things in the school. Also, my own studies and trying not to miss the beautiful moments, which is actual work! To do so, I’ve realized I need to remind myself to do everything with heart! Or leave it completely!