Armaveni Stoyanova’s exquisite handmade earrings caught our eyes on the pages of Monocle magazine. It turns out the young fashion designer from Sofia is also a sought-after advertising stylist, a fashion editor, a new mother and an award-winning costume designer. Armaveni already has an impressive collection of art cinema credits including the outfits for Antonio Banderas in the sci-fi thriller Automata. We talked to Armaveni about her city, her style and the story behind the poetic names she gives her jewellery.
J: What do you have in mind when you design jewellery?
A: For me, jewellery is an emotion. That’s why, when I design my pieces, I always think about what kind of emotion I want to represent, and most importantly, how to do that. When somebody sees my jewellery and starts smiling, I know I have done my job well. I imagine this reaction is like falling in love. My dream is to put smiles on people’s faces through my jewellery designs.
J: What jewellery do you wear everyday? Do you have a favourite piece at the moment?
A: Every piece of jewellery I wear has to be a favourite. At the moment I am wearing one very, very tiny silver ring (on my middle finger) from my first collection Playground Love. I’m also wearing silver earrings that were the prototype for the earrings Kiss of Life, but I liked them so much that I decided to keep them.
J: You give your jewellery romantic titles like ‘You & Me Forever’. Can you tell us the story behind the names?
A: Yes, of course. Most of the names I give to my pieces are names of my favourite songs: ‘Kiss of Life’ – Sade, ‘Absolute Beginners’ – David Bowie, ‘Live with Me’ – Massive Attack, ‘Cherry Blossom (Girl)’ – Air, ‘La Mer’ – Charles Trenet, and ‘Hyper Ballad’ – Bjork.
J: How does living in Sofia influence the way you design?
A: Sofia is a very strange city. The energy I feel here is a little melancholic, dark, chaotic, and aggressive sometimes. I have to look deep inside my heart and soul to feel secure and grateful for what I have. In this sense Sofia really helps me reach into my deepest emotions in order to create things.
J: How has being a costume designer changed your approach to fashion?
A: Working as a costume designer helps me observe fashion more carefully than I did before. It’s like an investigation or anthropological research. Whether you do costumes in movies or fashion it doesn’t matter, you have to know humans first.
J: How does that kind of approach apply to jewellery?
A: The most important thing in my work is the idea of that physical connection with real people. I always imagine the person who will wear my jewellery in motion – how she is laughing, how she is walking, how she is talking. Who will she meet? How she is drinking or eating, how she is sleeping, what she dreams about…that kind of thing.
J: Where do you go for inspiration?
A: Life itself is my biggest inspiration.
J: When you travel, what items are always in your suitcase?
A: I can’t travel without my sunglasses and my camera.
J: Can you tell us your…
Favourite fragrance: BLANCHE by Byredo
Favourite food: I love everything Italian.
Favourite cities: I am in love with Rome. I like Noto and Siracusa in Sicily very much. I like Mdina in Malta. Beograd is also one of my favourites. Plovdiv in Bulgaria. Paris is always a very, very good idea. But Rome is divine! Rome is the city of my heart!
Favourite place to shop: I don’t really have such a place. It could be any place where I find something beautiful.
Favourite film: My favourite films are La Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni, La Vita e’ Bella by Roberto Benigni, Dancer in the Dark by Lars von Trier and Pina by Wim Wenders
Favourite place for coffee: I couldn’t find a better place for coffee than my home…in the morning…with my beloved.