Print pioneer Michael Angel is the latest designer to join Hu's Wear's elite ranks. We talked to Angel at last night's trunk show about his diverse inspirations (they range from Hawaiian shirts to ancient Egypt) and the letter he once wrote his staff from a made-up woman.
The Feast: What inspired your Resort 2012 collection?
Michael Angel: This collection was mostly inspired by print, because that's what I do, and by repetition. The starting point was derived from the Hawaiian shirt, and then I asked, "How do I evolve that and make it modern?" Then I created our own signature tile and stripe prints for the first time. My Spring 2012 collection, which we're only showcasing at Hu's for the trunk show, was inspired by ancient Egypt, and the concept for Fall 2012 is going to be the future.
Who is the woman you design for?
You really have to know who you're designing for, to create a person in your head, give her a name, give her an age, and keep on designing clothes for her. I once did a workshop with my staff where I read them a bio from a made-up customer. I wrote the bio myself. It was a letter from her to them, saying what she wanted in her wardrobe. She was a young woman in her early to mid thirties, and she was originally from Barcelona. She moved to N.Y. for a guy but she fell out of love with him, so then she learned to be independent and became an architect.
And what have you learned about the D.C. customer so far?
Women want a more varied wardrobe. I'm inspired by women who aren't a size two and aren't a stereotype in fashion. It's a market that's sometimes overlooked. I learn from talking to the customer. When I understand what they do and don't like, it helps me design.
Michael Angel's Resort 2012 collection is now available at Hu's. Angel's trunk show, which includes his Spring 2012 collection and archival and limited edition pieces, will be at Hu's through the weekend. Dresses range from $800 to $1800.