Russian designer Marina Afonina of Albus Lumen talks to MOJEH about transitioning from a stylist to a designer and her new all-white collection.
When did you realise that you wanted to be in fashion?
I had grown up in a creative family. I have painters, decorators and creative people on both sides of my family.
How did the label come about?
The label was born nearly four years ago. Working in the industry as a stylist for just over 10 years gave me the confidence and desire to have my own label. I felt there was a gap in the market for chic resort wear. So my first collection was a selection of simple silhouettes in lightweight and natural fabrics such as linen, silk and cotton. The brand has evolved so much since then, with divisions in tailoring, eveningwear, accessories and jewellery.
What are the main influences on your designs?
I would say my designs are a mix of an Australian and European aesthetic. Australia invokes a sense of freedom and youth, and Europe gives it a polished and grown-up edge which works really well.
How do you think your time as an stylist has affected your work?
It worked to my advantage that I was a stylist first. It gave me a lot of knowledge and opportunities to see a lot of different types of designs and creations, but also gave me a platform to build own aesthetic and style.
What were your inspirations behind the collection?
The Pura Interna collection, which means ‘Pure Discovery’ in Latin, was inspired by the elements and textures of nature. I wanted to create an all-white collection which represented lightness and showed the versatility of wool.
What are your favourite pieces in the collection and why?
I love the Caeli layered wool jersey dress for its dreamy and whimsical aesthetic, and the pearl and coral pin earrings which were designed and made with my longtime friend, Ryan Storer.
How do you want people to feel when they wear your brand?
Confident and stylish, but also classic and timeless.
How did your partnership with Matches Fashion come about?
Matches Fashion was my first international retailer. I feel absolutely honoured and lucky that Natalie Kingham noticed the brand when we did our show at Fashion Week in Sydney back in 2016. They have an amazing team that continues to support and embrace young, fresh designers like me.
What can we expect from the exclusive collection?
It’s a mix of luxury ready-to-wear and jewellery pieces which are all quite unique but also very wearable.
Which piece from the collection do you believe will be the most popular?
The pinched waist Nubis coat will be one of the best-selling pieces. It’s a classic coat with a twist made from a beautiful boiled wool which has a nice light and luxe texture.
Shop the Albus Lumen x Woolmark, Pure Interna collection exclusively at Matchesfashion.com