ANNDRA NEEN – Interview with the Incredible Jewellery Designing Sisters

Annette & Phoebe Stephens

1. Is it an easy task to follow in the footsteps of such an artistic family [grandmother, Annette Nancarrow was a painter, sculpture and jewelry designer, whilst her husband was the well- known avant garde composer, Conlon Nancarrow], or is it simply in your blood, where creativity thrives and becomes your natural form of expression?

It definitely runs in our family and because we were exposed to it from an early age, it is a huge part of our daily lives.  But with creativity there is always a struggle, we try never to get too comfortable. We understand that this is a continual process that is ever changing.

2. How old were you when you moved to New York from Mexico, and what was your experience immigrating to America like?

We both left for boarding school in the states at age 14.  We experienced some culture shock coming from Mexico but had very positive experiences in America.  By the time we got to New York after college, we were accustomed to the back and forth. Now we feel we have the best of both worlds.

3. Are there any similarities between Manhattan and Mexico City, in terms of creative inspiration?

They are both huge cosmopolitan cities where international people congregate, which is incredibly inspiring for us. They are culturally rich as well as chaotic and therefore always exciting.

4. Describe your jewelry mantra – what do you wish to achieve with each piece and the collections as a whole?

Each piece we design has to hold its own as well as work to convey the vision behind the collection. We work on the body to test each piece for fit.  For our first collection our mantra was “more is more”.  It was called Boy Baba, which was a Russian term in the 1950’s meaning tough chick or female warrior.

5. Were you both passionate about jewelry and its intricate craftsmanship from a very early age?

Yes. Besides having a grandmother that designed jewelry, our father always designed pieces for our mother, including their wedding rings. We were aware from a young age of the process of making jewelry. Every Christmas, he would design a piece for us.  He had a jeweler called Salvador and as soon as he came to the house, we knew we had something special coming.

6. Do you find that a person’s possessions can say a lot about their personality and where they have traveled (both literally & metaphorically speaking)?

Yes. Jewelry is something so personal and identifiable. Human beings have been decorating themselves for centuries and passing down objects that carry their history. You collect these treasures that describe who you are and where you’ve been along the way.

7. What is one of your most favorite pieces of art within your Gramercy atelier?

The life size sculptures of artist Goulven Elies from Normandy and our father’s wooden collages.

  8. Could you ever imagine not being with each other as a dynamic sisterly force on the creative front? 




All time favorite designers?

Coco Chanel, YSL, Alber Elbaz, Mathew Ames, Phoebe Philo, Vintage Issey Miyake, Electric Feathers, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Joseph Altuzarra.

Best thing about Fashion Week in New York?

The fashion on the streets, everyone is out, there’s always great energy.

What saying do you live by?

Be kind and never settle.

Which celebrity (living or dead) would you have wear your creations?


Favorite restaurant in New York?




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