Angel Sanchez may have started his astonishing career in Venezuela, but the charismatic fashion designer is now known throughout the world for his timeless designs and a self-titled brand that includes an acclaimed bridal line and red carpet-ready evening wear worn by the likes of Salma Hayek, Giselle Bundchen and Brooke Shields. Now, after a two-year stint as a judge on Latin American version of Project Runway, Sanchez is ready to reclaim the hearts of global fashionistas with his new line showing this week at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
“I grew up around fashion, brought up with a mother with an interest in patterns, sewing,” said Sanchez, whose mother was an established atelier in his hometown of Caracas, Venezuela. “The Latin women were the best school when it came to design; the coquette, the feminine. And this year, with my new collection, I expect that influence to be more evident than ever.”
Sanchez, who practiced architecture for several years before embarking on fashion design independently, says that the transition from architecture to fashion while in his 20s was entirely natural.
“As an architect, the process of building of a concept took too long,” says Sanchez. “And after years of doing sketches, I made a dress for my mother – a creation that took just two or three days. That turnaround of creativity was irresistible.”
Quickly becoming a favorite of Latin American celebrities in his native country with his feminine yet dramatic designs, Sanchez made the decision to move to the United States when he was ten years into his career. As an already-established designer, Sanchez says that adjusting to the American aesthetic was a challenge.
“My point of view was very Latin: the way I mix colors, the way I dressed for a woman who wanted to look beautiful and sexy with a big impact,” recalls Sanchez, whose designs are sold in luxury stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. “The American client is more casual and practical; the comfort of the piece is more important than anything. To keep your own point of view while being accommodating – that was difficult at times.”
Since launching his line in the United States, Sanchez has attracted a celebrity roster of clients. In 2007, he designed Eva Longoria’s breathtaking wedding gown; an opportunity he says, helped him build his credibility as a designer stateside.
“I love making dresses for the most important day of a woman’s life, but what I hope I’m remembered for is someone who designs without labels,” says Sanchez, who also designed a wedding dress worn by actress Sandra Bullock for her 2005 nuptials.
Sanchez remains true to his Latin aesthetic in his Spring/Summer 2013 collection titled “Flowers and Satellites.” The designer mixed body-skimming, fluid fabrics with geometric, precise lines, laser cutouts and utterly feminine styling to create breathtaking, wearable art.
“I would love for people to remember me as fashion-forward, someone who loves making a woman look beautiful,” says Sanchez, whose designs were accompanied at his Lincoln Center presentation with modern steel accessories by renowned Venezuelan sculptor Rafael Barrios.
And if my career can serve as an inspiration to others, I would be very proud.”