Fashion designer Ana Teixeira de Sousa began working with textiles at a very young age, making dresses for her dolls in her grandmother’s textile factory in Portugal. Launched in 2011, her luxury womenswear label Sophia Kah (named after her grandmother) is now global, with pieces sold in Harrods, London, and Barneys, New York. Her evening dresses have adorned the red carpet on celebrities such as Kiera Knightley and Ruth Wilson. With no formal training, Ana uses techniques and family secrets to design lightweight lace dresses with her signature exposed drawstring corsetry, silk organza and leather panel additions. The evening-wear designer talks to Kitty Harris about conjuring her female muses and design secrets.

LUX: What’s your wardrobe staple?
Anna Teixeira: A black lace dress and leather jacket.

LUX: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
AT: Modernised classic with a twist, very feminine and sophisticated.

LUX: Your design signatures include corsetry and lace for “cultured strong-minded women”. How do you keep your designs feminine yet strong?
AT: I think woman can be both feminine yet strong – there’s nothing stronger and more empowering than a super feminine fitted black lace dress.

LUX: How do you create designs that are both relevant and timeless?
AT: It’s not an easy job but I believe you create timeless pieces when you use great materials, a flawless finish and exceptional cuts.

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LUX: The Kah girls include the likes of Beyoncé, Keira Knightley and Sarah Jessica Parker. Does your approach to design differ when you have a particular woman in mind?
AT: No, my woman is very much present in my mind when I design. I always picture her – where she likes to go, what she likes to do, what she believes in, how she sees the world and what inspires her. Based on my muse, I then design her wardrobe; she is obviously always evolving because the world is so dynamic.

LUX: You name your pieces: the ‘Marie Victoire’ from SS’17, the ‘Sharlene’ from your signature collection and ‘Violet’ from your AW16. Why?
AT: Each collection we dream up a woman – SS17 she was a French girl living between France and Mexico with a strong passion for architecture.

LUX: Why did you choose renowned architect Luis Barragan as inspiration for your SS17 collection?
AT: I absolutely love his work, how he managed to work on colour is so inspiring.

LUX: Which techniques do you still use today that you learnt in your grandmother’s textile factory?
AT: There is still a great amount of hand work on my pieces. But the major secrets are on the construction of the pieces. The number of little tricks that goes inside each piece is tremendous.

LUX: What’s next for the brand?
AT: Continue to grow our presence worldwide sustainably.