Sunroom Q+A: Carmen Molina, Part II
At the onset of summer, we're excited to welcome all new arrivals from one of our favorite designers, Carmen Molina — whose beautiful silk and satin kimonos, dresses, trousers, and accessories are truly obsession-worthy.
Born in Bogotá and currently based in Los Angeles, Carmen studied photography before turning her creative eye to fashion design. We’re all better for it: her pieces are wearable works of art, crafted in the most beautiful jewel tones and rich with meaning and symbolism. To coincide with her new collection at Sunroom, we invited Carmen back for another round of the Sunroom Q+A (read Part I here!)
We're still thinking about this line from when we spoke last: "Your eye is constantly responding, questioning, getting informed, and being transformed." As a photographer and designer, what have you been responding to lately?
As of lately, the photographer in me is responding to authenticity, boldness, diversity and volume. I’m fascinated by the different ethnicities and body types that are being portrayed by the greatest fashion photographers on the covers of high fashion editorials. Until recently the subject of many of these portraits seemed to be quite homogenous. Usually tall, very skinny, white. In fact you needed to either travel distances or expose yourself to images in film to discover other cultures, body types, styles, races but these days we are seeing curvier fuller shapes everywhere. Each subject is being represented boldly, as if the world had finally given them permission to be themselves or as if no one cared to ask for permission any longer. It’s amazing. This level of images being produced show you how rich the world is. There's so much to discover and see from and in each other.
Tell us something about your most recent collection that might not be discernible to the naked eye?
All of my collections are a response to different experiences I’ve had. Through Resort 22 I’m revisiting a part of France that I’ve cherished. The prints are reminiscent of the gems, flavors and colors of Le Marráis, the Tuilleries, and my numerous visits to museums, such as the Musee D’Orsay, where I delighted myself in the gardens of the impressionists.
What do you most wish for people to feel in your creations?
I most wish for them to feel like butterflies. Butterflies are incredibly beautiful, light and free to fly.
What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without in your day-to-day?
A cozy home. A nest. It’s taken years for me to finally feel at home. I want it to be that place where I feel warm, nurtured, protected, calm and inspired to create. At home I wake up to the music, art, and plants that I love. I love to entertain and cook for family and friends.
The brand was born at my home out of a need to make it the place I wanted. I’d make silk pillows, silk drapes, art, and kimonos that I loved wearing while entertaining. From there it evolved into a clothing line. I do also have a gold butterfly pendant that I bought in India that I rarely take off — it’s a part of me.
In what do you feel the most confident?
Color. Color is deep and emotional for me. I haven’t studied it scientifically, I just know what moves me and what I reject. And when I’m working with it I need not think. It’s a flow.
Are there any trends you are currently loving?
I love streetwear meets high fashion. I love seeing a silk slip dress with combat boots, or silky and voluminous palazzo pants with chunky sneakers. I love relaxed clothes that drape the body elegantly and beautifully styled with pieces that are made for tough warriors on the streets.
Describe a non-obvious turning point in your life or career.
A non-obvious turning point in my career was probably having moved to Los Angeles. The Carmen Molina brand is in essence a byproduct of my lifestyle here. Easy, social, in touch with nature but also with the streets and with the glamour and history of Hollywood. One day you can be enjoying the beach by the Pacific Ocean, and the next in a simple taco place within the downtown concrete boundaries or, you may very well end up at a glamorous social event, like a premiere or a gallery opening.
I started to make clothes for each one of these occasions. People responded to them in an unexpected way. As I started meeting more people in the creative industry, whether it was in fashion, film or art, I felt an incredible amount of support and guidance to help start a brand. Ultimately, and after giving it a lot of thought, I realized that I was ready to take the step. So it wasn’t obvious at the time but clearly had I not moved to Los Angeles the brand would have never happened.
Would you rather: creative freedom or creative restraint?
Creative restrain has helped my creativity flow. Im not sure I’ve ever experienced pure creative freedom....the thought of it is actually very exciting!