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By Raquel Lynne
Running has many advantages. Those who know me well know I use every opportunity to get to know those around me. One rainy run group day, I jogged alongside a man who upon learning about my love of fashion writing was more than excited to introduce me to a close friend of his, a designer and creator of couture headpieces. Later that afternoon, I had the pleasure of getting in contact with the beautiful Cuban-born, Miami-based designer Anilu Oms (pictured in the middle above). What follows is our conversation:
When did you realize you wanted to become a designer?
I have always leaned towards the arts and design. I studied graphic design, and have taken courses in architecture and interior design. When I was little in Cuba, I used to listen to classical music in my house and I used to go to the opera and the ballet with my mother. Moreover, my grandmother had great manual skills. She studied art at a well-known school. I remember playing at her house when I discovered a beautiful collection of hats from the '30s and '40s, which years later was the inspiration for my first job as a costume designer.
When I graduated, my husband asked me to be the costume designer for the film he was directing. This experience opened doors [in the] television, film and theater [industries] for me. But my career as a milliner is another story.
Tell me a bit about your work.
My work is a manifestation of my background as a designer. My headpieces are eclectic and avant garde. I use many natural fibers, dried leaves, seeds, organza, plastic, crystal and feathers. Also, I include embroidery and twigs; I feel very connected with nature. Each piece is one of a kind, no two are alike. It is very emotional for me to create this and for the client, [each piece] is magical.
Who would you really like to wear your designs?
My client loves and appreciates art, knows that she looks good and [will attract] attention. My headpieces are sculptures. I create couture headpieces that [can] be used on your head and be displayed in a particular place in the house [for] everyone [to] admire. I design for every woman.
Which items from your collection do you tailor for clients and why?
All my headpieces are tailored to my clients. In the first meeting, I ask for their tastes, personality and I study the type of event. Fortunately, all my clients know what they want.
How did you get here?
This is the story of my career as a milliner: My daughter, the young designer Fabiola Arias, asked me to help her in a fashion show when she was still a student at Parsons, and I thought it would be good idea to create headpieces to complement the beautiful dresses, so I filled my bag with all sort of tools and materials and flew to New York. The result was fabulous. Since then I’ve made the headpieces for all her collections.
Who would you say has influenced you the most?
I am not influenced by people, but by nature, texture, colors, and shapes. I was born in Havana, Cuba, an island with bright sunlight and strong colors. The cinema magazines and the movies [from] Hollywood's Golden Age were part of my daily diet at home. All of that background influenced me. However, I love Philip Treacy. My style is completely different, but he is an inspiration to me.
What are some of your accomplishments?
My headpieces have been exhibited in Tokyo Fashion Week, World Expo Shanghai 2010, Fashion Houston and several seasons of New York Fashion week for Fabiola Arias’s collection. I collaborated with Gloria Estefan for the video "Hotel Nacional." Also, El Museo del Barrio (New York) auctioned two of my headpieces. But, my major accomplishment is the emotion I feel when I hear the reaction of the audience and the clicking of cameras in a fashion show. I still have a long way to go, but I'm enjoying all of this a lot.
#Fashion #Hats #HeadPieces #UniqueDesigns