Story by Desiree Prieto
When I walked into Angelina Mata’s River North abode, I was immediately transported onto a set like The Devil Wears Prada; if say, the film was strictly about a talented artist preparing for fashion week in New York City next month. My eyes were quickly drawn to white strings of leftover fabric adorning the gray carpet of the Atelier — French for artist’s workshops — but then moved to other excitement in the room. On the two long and wide white tables sat sketch books, small wooden mannequins, an array of colorful fabric waiting to be drawn on, cut, and stitched, as well as tape measures, notes, and quite a bit of ambition.
“Why clothes?” I asked Mata, who’s known in the community for her South Town hair salon and high-end boutique Euphorium. “Because that’s what I always wanted to do,” she began. “Hair was my default, because I come from a family of hairstylists. But I went to school with the intention of becoming a designer.” And I cannot imagine Mata doing anything else; she claims that she just woke up, but is already wearing a silken blue dress with gold buttons and pointy red velvet shoes with gold trim. Fashion is obviously who she is.
Mata worked for the founder of the Horst Institute (now the Aveda Institute), Horst Reckelbacher. Afterward, she attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), taking classes in draping, pattern making, and design. In addition, Mata chaired South Town’s “Art of Fashion” show for seven years. However, she has gained success with her Bespoke design, the art of custom-made clothing, which will be reflected in the launch of her Spring 2012 collection of Angelina Mata Atelier next month during New York City Fashion Week. She is currently working with fiber artist Laura Beehler, and metal artist Jose Chapa — one can only guess what her show will look like.
Past inspirations include the Twenties and Belle Époque eras, but she is keeping next month’s show confidential. “I know you can’t unveil your fashion week line,” I begin, “but can you at least give us a hint or secret about what to expect?” Mata hesitates, but replies, “Hints or secrets? This is a re-birth onto a new platform so there is a vital glow about the collection."
With that, I take my hint that it is time to leave and let Mata get back to work. But I hope to catch her again, at her show in New York City. She is currently seeking contributions for the event, via Kickstarter. Contribute as little as $20 and get your name on the guest list for the show in New York City and a CD of the show soundtrack. $50 gets your name, plus one, on the guest list for the San Antonio screening of next month’s New York City show. Larger contribution giveaways include shoes, dresses from the collection, and more.