Four powerful words fabricate fashion designer Angel Sanchez’s Twitter bio: colors, impact, architecture, femininity.
“I think I am the fashion designer that I am because I am an architect,” Sanchez says. “I try to [work] with very precise lines... I prefer the shape; I’m very obsessive about the proportion, the dress has to have the right proportion.”
When Sanchez was invited to show his Spring/Summer 2016 “Tropical Couture” collection in Houston at the inaugural Heart of Fashion three-night fashion event in November, he thought it was the perfect collection to show because Houstonians understand his colors, always want to look their best, and enjoy wearing a head-turning dress, no matter the event they're attending.
“My collections are for the woman who enjoys dressing up; preparing for a special occasion in their life... She doesn’t want to be ignored,” says Sanchez. “My clothes are not to be ignored. I like when people notice the piece and it gets [their] attention. Maybe it’s because of the color, the shape, maybe it’s because [the dress] has a beautiful back or a beautiful detail,” he says. “Maybe that’s the reason I like evening wear where you can explore those kind of elements to get the attention; it’s the perfect moment when a woman wants to get noticed and make an impact.”
Throughout his career, Sanchez has remained true to his Latin roots.
“Compared with the last couple of collections, this season is particularly inspired by this flower... It’s very popular in Venezuela, the cayena (hibiscus),” Sanchez says.
With the tropical flower's beautiful hue in mind, the entire collection is full of white and color to represent a tropical garden—imagine a patio with pure white walls and the sun shining through colorful flowers.
“This year I decided to go with nature to get inspiration,” Sanchez says.
The silhouettes of his pieces are inspired by the Spanish Basque fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga and his work from the 1950s. Sanchez is also influenced by Latin American film.
“[It was] La Época Dorada del Cine, the gold times of the Mexican cinema, when a woman is so beautiful and ‘ah, wow,’" Sanchez says. "That is part of what I visualize and get a lot of inspiration from, the film and movies from that time."
In his hometown of Caracas, Venezuela, Sanchez is known for custom-made wedding dresses and working in the beauty pageant industry. When he came to the United States, Sanchez didn’t want to introduce himself as a bridal designer because the transition from being considered a bridal designer to a high fashion designer can be difficult. After two years, Sanchez introduced a bridal collection, and his work was immediately welcomed by fashion lovers, with his designs appearing on the covers of magazines, like Martha Stewart Weddings and Brides.
“Maybe because my bridal is a little more fashion-forward compared to the traditional, poofy wedding dress," Sanchez says. "It’s clean, it’s simple, it’s not too busy. I try to avoid those heavy designs and [make them] a little more modern."
Calling it a “very couture fabric,” Sanchez likes to work with silk gazar because it has both a light, smooth quality and an ability to hold its shape, to create pieces that feel fresh.
“It’s one of the most difficult fabrics to work with, but you can make a drape or a little layering and the dress [will] look like a flower," says Sanchez. "Remember this collection is all about the freshness of the flower."
Sanchez doesn’t consider himself a minimalist, even if he prefers precise lines when designing. He loves the curves of the female body and the movement of fabrics over it; that's what he calls femininity.
“I don’t want to make dresses look like the cliché evening wear—beading, taffeta, sheer and sexiness, no; I’m not interested in that," Sanchez says. "Quality is important to me; fabrics, the quality of the fabrics is important to me; the construction is important to me; but the most important thing is to look now,” he adds. “Sometimes people think couture is only for old ladies who dress up. Couture is quality, it can be modern, couture can be now, it depends how you do it.”