The creative power behind Angeles Almuna Design, Angeles counts accessory designer, photographer, and fashion blogger amongst her many talents. Glamour.com, Refinery29, and Harper’s Bazaar have featured her work, while Miami Fashion Film Festival hosted her first solo fashion photography exhibit in 2014.
Within minutes of perusing Angeles Almuna’s blog, it’s easy to see that you’re in the presence of an eclectic and talented strong-minded woman. Gloriously lush fashion photographs run alongside candid shots of Angeles’s steps towards surviving cancer – her honesty is disarming and her passion for life is palpable.
Angeles also works for Brickell and Key Biscayne magazines and is a contributor to French Connection, Lacoste, Swarovski, Fashion for a Cause, and Vidal Sassoon. Did I mention she’s a trained flamenco dancer?
We love her polished yet playful style, her creative drive, and her unique journey. We’re beyond thrilled that Angeles took time out of her busy schedule to give us a peek into her life.
“But let me be clear, as I always say “I am more than clothes, I am smart lady and I work very hard, but yes I love style”.”
– Angeles Almuna
FOR I AM MARIE
By Stéphanie Marois
You are quite the multi-hyphenate artist! In which order do you like to describe yourself and the work that you do?
I’ve always described myself as “I am an artist”. My mother used to say to my father “she is going to be an artist, forget that she is ever going to be a doctor.” My Father is a doctor [laughter]. But I love art, fashion, and creativity, everything that is connected with art expressions. I am not your typical girl. I studied dance almost all my life, I’ve always loved to be in character and wear costumes and be someone else, like a shop owner in Paris in the 40s or 50s. I’m working on different things but all of them have a creative thread: in a museum (Lowe art Museum at the University of Miami), as a fashion stylist for two local magazines (Brickell & Key Biscayne magazines), I used be a fashion photographer covering Fashion Week ( which I’ll probably be back to soon), and I sometimes do various art projects. I love to be involve with creative people.
What is a typical day like for you?
Well, a typical day for me is going to work to the museum, very early, I take public transportation, I sometimes have events after work and I’ll go if I have the energy, and on other nights I’ll stay at home creating my brooches. On certain days, I have long conversations with my fashion partner John Santos if he is preparing any fashion production because I’m his right hand and I love to be behind the scenes creating the story for an editorial. Love to be busy.
You’ve been described as one of Miami’s leading style ladies! Tell us how you view style.
Wow! Really! I didn’t know about that! Thank you for that. Style for me is part of my life, I love to express myself with clothes, on my best days and worst. I love playing characters, like if I were an actress. I’ve always said that I have passion for fashion because sometimes incredible pieces have been made with such love, with many hours of hard work to create something so unique that you could put that piece in a museum. And for me, it is not just a piece of clothing, it is a piece of art.
But let me be clear, as I always say “I am more than clothes, I am smart lady and I work very hard, but yes I love style”.
What is the biggest challenge in being a self-employed creative type? Any advice for young women wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Well, half of my time is spent at the museum because I love art and that environment, and the rest of my time is spent being self employed, to be very clear. One of the most difficult part is that you have to work harder, any day, even on Saturdays and Sundays, and you have to be available during the day or night, and in my case I have been working so hard for many years like a little ant, non-stop, without any recognition until Boom! one day, someone recognized that I have some talent and a voice in this difficult fashion industry.
My advice for young women who want to pursue this career is to never give up. It doesn’t matter if you sometimes are invisible, you must show those people that you are valuable and honest and never ever try to be someone else. You must be you, a humble and positive human being.
Did you have a mentor that helped you get to where you are now?
This is the first time I’ve had to think about who my mentor is… but if I think very hard, it is a mix of ARTS. From my discipline as a dancer and the respect I have for fabulous professional dancers, my mother for having the best style and always being an adorable human being, and my friend Alexandra Hoffer who introduced me to real fashion when I was living in Spain. She taught to me how to be sophisticated without losing my authenticity.
Who or what inspires you to create?
What inspires to me to create are arts in general, a piece of art, music, films, people in the streets, a good story, a good moment.
You’re originally from Chile, spent time in Spain, and are now living in Miami. What have your travels taught you?
My travels and adventures around the world taught to me to be a very open person, with the ability to always learn from new people, new cultures, and to always accept people for who they are and not for what they have.
A dear friend of mine just underwent a double mastectomy at age 28. She’s been incredibly vocal about the process, sharing her experience with others – very inspiring and empowering to witness. You have also been very open with your followers about your illness, using sass, honesty, and humour. Was being outspoken about your experience with cancer a conscious decision or simply a natural extension of your writing?
I think it has been a little of both, I am very open with my experience with cancer: it was a conscious decision because I’m alone in this country and I needed the support of my community in any way and it definitely was a very natural, simple moment to express myself in the most honest and real way because this is me. I wanted to be closer to people with my story, to create a real connection – no decorations, no filters at all, just me, honest me.
You allowed us to see you during an intimate and vulnerable moment – did you have any doubts or fears about going through with it?
I did not have doubts but fear was always there, until now. As a human being, I am not so strong, I am very weak and profoundly vey emotionally, which means that I am vulnerable in terms of what people will think of me but, for sure, to show my most difficult moments could maybe help and inspire others or just bring awareness on how to deal and confront this horrible disease.
You collaborated with Carlos de Varona on « The Storm Inside the Castanet », which I found dreamy, heartbreaking, and exciting all at once. Can you tell us how the short film came about?
Thank you for saying that you liked it.
This was one of my most magical moments in this adventure with my illness. A friend of mine who had cancer 4 years ago advised to me to do something special when I cut my hair. And that simple advice was in my mind during my first chemotherapy, wanting to do something very creative. One night, Carlos texted me, wanting to know how I was, and I had the opportunity to tell him about this crazy idea, in that I wanted to do a film the day I would cut my hair and he immediately loved the idea. It was the perfect connection. I’ve always been a fan of his work and I was pretty sure that I could trust that his creativity and his fine sophisticated eye could do something purely beautiful, both real and surreal at the same time. He understood the meaning of this moment in my life, because I wanted to show my new beginning and at the same time how beautiful is the process of changes when you are suffering so much pain with “the Big C”. I’ve tried to embrace every moment with this disease. Making this film was the perfect tool to communicate this powerful decision to accept that you are not going to ever be the same person again after battling cancer.
What can we look forward to seeing from you next? Any new medium you want to explore next or dream gigs you’d love to get your hands on?
I don’t know what is next, because I am not making any further plans right now, I am living the present with all my heart. I just want to be healthy, live as fully as I can, and I’m open to work on projects that mean something to me, where I can involve my creative, talented friends (more films, art projects, and fashion productions) and if you’re asking me about a dream, I would love to go to Paris Fashion Week or attend the Oscars! [laughter] Why not to dream big!
Let’s end on a couple of quick-fire questions!
Favorite trend right now? Velvet
Last book you read? ‘‘Broken Open, How difficult Times Can help us grow’’ by Elizabeth Lesser
Favorite mistake? My spelling
Best cure for the Monday blues? A good comedy
Favorite Spanish curse word? “que mierda”
October 20, 2016