Alchemy
“When we look at our photographs and find not the slightest reflection of ourselves, it’s a good sign that our images have lost their souls.”
I believe there is an organic flow to our humanity, between light and darkness, fragility and resilience, strength and vulnerability. These are foundational elements of my images and I’ve increasingly moved to revealing them through the truth of the moment that comes with making photos on film – it’s both healing and humbling. 

Shooting on film is about an entirely different connectedness to the art.  It lends to the practices of patience and acceptance – freeing yourself from relying on the camera, and simply trusting what you see in real life. It allows the inherent soul of the setting and subject to just be, so that each unhurried frame is a whispered poem – a composition narrating the nuanced beauty of the way life moves.

Noor
Our part 1 { series of 4 } capsule collection was photographed in multiple frames on film. An ode to traditional photo making.
GOLDEN SEASON
“Earth laughs in flowers” – Ralph Waldo
 
As the dawn of autumn slowly dulls the summer’s glow, golden season memories never fade…

October is its own in-between golden season, an ephemeral time of vibrant moments that dance us into autumn with lingering memories of endless sun-drenched days. Though this year has differed from its predecessors, the magic of the golden season has flourished with vivid memories of endless fields of blooms and fluttering butterflies.  

For this past summer collection, the stars aligned in an unexpected way. I was honored and excited to work with friend, muse, and collaborator Danielle Fortin to shoot the first of a four-part series of our Fil de Vie Collection in California, with frames that harkened back to a quintessential day in Provence. 

Most recently Danielle invited me to her Boston sanctuary to capture her in our Flora Gown at the golden hour of the day. In a traditional Bostonian brownstone nestled in the Back Bay, livable layers of silk danced, carefully painted with a fleeting palette of late-blooming wildflowers, petal-like ruffles and a sweetly playful disposition overflowing with vivacity. The dramatically elegant silhouette is reminiscent of delicate monarch wings – a true homage to the golden season, making even the laziest of days into an occasion to remember.  

The Flora Dress is part of a storied movement – a collection of sustainable treasures of silk, hand-made construction, and with the highest of ethical standards. Alive with richness & fluidity, each detail was designed to cherish the feeling of the end of summer – carrying one through the end of a season, and into the beginning of the next.

…In a few stolen moments, a roll of film reflects an intimate story yet to be told – our muse lingered upon vivid memories of summer, bathed in heirlooms of silk. A heartfelt portrait of a nostalgic, romantic return to a very special place and time.
MIDSUMMER SONG
WITH MUSE DANIELLE FORTIN
“…I have been lucky enough to have had Danielle Fortin in my life for many years now, counting her as one of my most dearest of friends and trusted collaborators. A muse in the truest sense of the word, Dani glows with joie de vivre, continually inspiring me in more ways than I can count. Having spent the better part of her childhood living between Maine and Boston, she has a strong sense of self and family, informing everything from her perspective on life, to her approach to well-being.
 
What is obvious from the moment you meet Dani is that she is a woman who believes: in herself, in expressing strength through femininity, in understanding and creating success through her voice and the voices of those women who build her. She has special qualities that rarely come together in a single individual. Her intelligence, beauty, tom-boy style, her wit, her spirit – all interwoven with an innate, effortless international flare – bring life to everything she does in reflections of her mother.
 
Dani effortlessly brings forth sweet, dreamy and sultry breaths of the Provencal spirit to this collection, and the authenticity of her transformation in each piece fuels me thru the photographs we created together. I feel as if I’ve come full circle as an artist. To let my muse drape herself in silhouettes she chose to live in. Reuniting with a friend who grows and challenges you in more ways than one can imagine is sacred. I can only wish that each artist can spend this quality time with their muses, as I’m so fortunate to have.”

A few nostalgic frames captured on a roll of film
MOVEMENTS FORWARD
SUSTAINABLY RESPONSIBLE
“…When Omaskas first launched, I knew I wanted to be a part of a movement towards a more responsible fashion industry. In efforts to learn more about the fashion industry’s impact on our environment, a struggling ecosystem and ways to lessen the imprint of our own footprint – we are committed to creating small batch capsule collections using natural dyes and organic silks/materials. 

Each print is unique, printed in house and of my own reflections of the life around me and thru the photographs I make – ensuring an authentic approach to design. 

To answer many inquiries: Currently the collection is available in Los Angeles, Paris & Dubai thru selected retail & stylist outlets. Online orders will be available soon.
AAINA
“Beauty never slumbers; All is in her name; But the rose remembers the dust from which it came.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay, from ‘Autumn Chant’.
“…There’s a strong and powerful strength within the depthness of this collection that eludes a dark romance. An intersection between heritage, dream and reality, it’s where the strongest women in my life – raised me to live and to always remember the magic and power that thrives in you.”

As an artist my purpose in this lifetime is to create and share stories and feelings through the most precious materials to bring you a sense of beauty, confidence and freedom. We’re all part of an ongoing story, and thru this personal collection, these are my stories. Each print and threaded embroidery reflects a history woven together by generations, printed responsibly and draped with cultural pride. 

aaina { mirroring strength } debuts Spring 2021
FOR THE OCEANS
“No ocean, no life. No blue, no green. No ocean, no us.” – Dr. Sylvia Earle
In search of breathtaking views and majestic skies not too far from the city, we settled upon the famously dramatic landscape of the Atlantic as the perfect backdrop for our Oceans shoot. Come early –  In August, we ventured from Manhattan to Rockaway Beach, where city dwellers often seek restorative refuge. With a 5:00 am call, it was indeed an enchanting and peaceful haven. Skies with light coral hues, and nested cotton candy clouds watched over the serene waters adorned with glistening sparkles from the the sun’s awakening rays easing their way between through broken clouds. From dawn breaking to the mid morning’s heat rising, meeting the sweetest dogs (and people!) at Rockaway Beach , our time was truly full of beauty and adventure. 

A few of our memorable team moments…
MOTHERHOOD
WITH ERICA ALMEDIA
“Authenticity is the most powerful & admired quality a woman can possess. It’s what makes us unique, confident, and determined.”

Erica Almedia is a living, breathing version of her family and home. She’s a proud Brazilian who brings a vibrance, sense of humor and an easiness to her every day life – she’s a loyal, supportive and loving wife, sister, daughter, friend and above all, an incredible mother & entrepreneur. Erica has been part of our Omaskas branding for quite some time now and it’s been an honor to have her reflect the essence of the Omaskas woman. As a woman and a designer, this frame with her baby Mateo was very special to me – particularly poignant today as we celebrate our Mothers, and collectively, all the important women in our lives. It was an all women team – created and produced. Every detail of the slip was sourced and created by women in the South of France, regaling themselves with stories of respect for the marriage of silk & lace.

Photographed on film by Melissa Isabel and styled by Lisa Rouche, it was a dignified empowered environment where we all consistently shared & supported a vision, and the talent of the female community around us. 

Our mission as a women-owned company is to celebrate women in all stages of life, with a respect for bodies of all shapes and sizes.
CINQ á SEPT
“Transcending her art through time – she became her own inspiration…”
A ballet of twilight roses, lilies & cherry blossoms. A symphony of wilted florals and the spirit in her eyes is what gave this dress life. An allure that is more of a siren call than whisper.

…I don’t think I’ve ever seen a women as beautiful than on evenings after the beach and probably when she was in love (with her self, herself confidence and her lust for life ). Processing a sensual elegance, an effortless glamour, she could be one of Van Goes, Wild Roses, only partly draped in gouche silk. She could be that enviously sophisticated woman who has fashioned a dress from a dream, standing on draped linen – with a stark of light, sleek hair, center parted. Transcending her art through time, she simply became her own inspiration.

The golden glow of the twilight sun washes over Provence, as she dances through the suspense harbored in alluring moments between day and night.  There is a lush tension in these twilight hours, offering a space in time with the promise of myriad possibilities yet to be revealed. She has forged her own path to be here, creating her art through walking the paths of poets. 

This series of collections is a marriage of all her worlds. Inspired by the spirit and sensuality of her own discovery, they reveal a deliberate, exquisitely crafted interplay between the casual gentility of the Provençal countryside and the sultry allure of the Cote D’Azur. The mythology and magic of the south of France permeates every inch of draped fabric. It’s a diffused magic, creating portraits of living that are sometimes a bit smudgy, and neither completely clear nor harsh. 

Movement of delicate fabric, the poetry of gouache prints, intricate & regal lace, and embroidered jewels create boldly feminine pieces, adorning her serious intent – as if she were rekindling an old love-affair…


Photographed by Melissa Isabel
Styled by Lisa Rouche

FLUIDITY IN MOTION
“Things that stand still don’t evolve…”
I explored the surface of silk – the incongruity of it’s delicate and sheer weave. The emotion & poetry of color, it’s stunning veins in patterns- each layered between one and another in a dreamy new adventure. I had left the alleyways of Boston for the corridors of Spain. Sitting barefoot with my knees and hands in the warm sands of the Catalonian coastline, I remembered what it was like to live without consequence, without rules and to feel the strength of being free.

“…And then came the fall. The leaves turned crisp and the earth was damp. Trees shadowed the streets with nearly bare branches. Wafting into the air like the scent of wood burned smoke, carrying the sense that I’ve truly been living, and have come full circle. The past feels so right for now. Feminine shapes, tactile diaphanous silks and a muse’s escape down a rabbit hole of fantasy & poetry. From Provence to Boston with love…


A nostalgic photo essay – an ode to my beginnings of a creative journey. Embracing the fluidity in motion and the poetry of color looking back thru another lens to Resort 17.


Photography | Melissa Isabel
Location | North End Boston 
GOLDEN HOURS
“To the ripest moments of the year…”
The soft, dreamy and romantic. I’ve always yearned for it and now it’s mirrors my everyday life.  Lavender fields along the country side of France dappled in afternoon light. A glistening glass of wine. Portraits of living that are dreamy, sometimes a bit smudgy, and neither completely clear nor harsh. Reality & fantasy continue to collide in serendipity as I let each daily chapter in Provence change me and my muse. And just as the seasons change the vines, I hope that the coming spring’s new awakenings herald even greater blooms. 
 
Photography | Kolby Knight
Styling | Mariolga Nido
Muse | Ray Krussell

 
…She drove from Paris to the Provençal fields to feel the last bit of golden rays of the day. In soft knitted, barely-there silk, stone beading and barefoot – she is home. She loves being home…she missed the part of the earth that is called Provence.
 
SHADES OF PROVENCE
“A taste for the grand and passion for the humble.”
“As a creative, it’s a fundamental truism that the most profound personal experiences are realized through what one creates. My life is incomplete without my work, and there’s a constant flow of energies that are being put into both. I came to le Midi, the South of France, to experience and dream differently, to feel differently, to create differently and above all – to live differently. We all face fears. For me, it was a fear of discovering the limits of my potential. A fear that my design work, imbued with pace and vibrancy, could become irrelevant in a place where time moves slow and where subdued and basic are more naturally understood.   

But a creative cleanse was needed. Rediscovering and reaffirming what it meant to me, what it represents, what it communicates about my human experience was more far more valuable than being afraid. At first I was unsure what the focus of this collection would be. But with time, I was drawn to the romantic and picturesque landscapes, captivated by the vibrant wildlife of the French countryside and how it contrasted with the city of Paris. I knew I was experiencing a personal Renaissance, as if Van Gogh’s spirit was painting each of my discoveries. How white washed linens danced freely on clothing lines. How the shores of Camargue’s coast washed up white pebbles. How grey clouds often blanketed bright blue skies, pouring rain, yet ushering a calmness into heady afternoons. This is where fantasy and reality collided for me, transforming experiences into structured silouhettes, imbuing emotion and sensuality into emblematic prints on sheer fabrics, lace borders, tiered ruffles, layers of knit and needlepoint embroidery.
 
Photography | Kolby Knight
Styling | Mariolga Nido
Muse | Erica Almeida
RESORT 16
“Bring the pure wine of love and freedom. But sir, a tornado is coming. More wine, we’ll teach this storm A thing or two about whirling.” ― Rumi
While crafting this collection, I was living a few romantic nights in Paris. Dancing at a festival in Barcelona. Exploring the mystics of Morocco. Ending with the hems of the ocean licking my feet, as I stood there in total silence. Inspired by the waves crashing on the sand , shaping and saving it.

Driven by the mouth of the ocean and it’s swirling soul, this capsule collection stems from a love of life on the road. About a woman who dances to the cadence of life, harmonizing through the simple elegance of a dress illuminated with diaphanous printed fabrics and feminine lines. I wanted to usher in the season’s fantastical and rhythmic mood with an affinity for storytelling and a deep-rooted need to translate both the romantic modesty and grandeur of experiences into a collection that’s meaningfully beautiful. Wanderlust with OMASKAS where casual elegance , meticulous details and billowing fabrics flow like poetry, for a romantic bohemian luxe mood.
SILK SOUL
“Oh my darling, it’s true. Beautiful things have dents and scratches too.” – Unknown.
As this chapter of my Silk Road Journey comes to a close, India, Dubai and Persia’s generous hospitality, romantic poetry and majestic grand palaces sparked an experiential renaissance in my muse. She followed the verses of the great Sufi poets Rumi, Hafez, Ghalib and rejoiced as Qabbani, seductive poetry opened a new chapter in her story. It’s about how she traveled, how she connected to her soul through the great poets’ words, how she understood what drove Qabbani wild – celebrating the soul of the woman, and the depth of how she loves. These experiences are not about satisfying all her curiosities and questions, but about attaining peace and lighting a new fire inside. They form the backdrop for the Season ’18 collection. Each piece is designed to communicate the movement of wind, with natural drapes strategically tacking to the body like a sail, emoting pride, respect, strength and confidence. The Season ‘18 collection launches at the 70th Cannes Film Festival, and it maybe my most beloved.

…A fallen rose from my garden after a rain storm opened my eyes to a whole new universe of textures and the ways in which we fold into each other. Inspired by the depth of nature’s waves, a Ballet of Roses simply resonated.”

I feel like I’ve been carried through this adventure in the most beautiful way. I’ve been spoiled by the love, kindness and the backdrop of an open map. Almost nothing that ended up happening along this Silk Road journey was expected. But it opened my mind and strengthened my tolerances in even greater ways than I could have ever imagined. It’s always a fight as an artist to stay open, to let the world see YOU and hear your creative voice. To not compromise it for anything, to love freely and accept all the risk and pain that comes with that. But we were designed to connect deeply with each other, so as creatives, when we do the work and let it just happen, incredible things come to life. 
 
Palahniuk wrote, you need to suffer to make any real art, and to some extent – I hope I’m always suffering. Because, that’s when I’m at my creative best.
 
[ A reserved collection of hand printed silk saris ] 
POETIC HUES
“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
The spirit of Holi has colored my professional and personal narrative, authoring an experiential opus on life change as both a source for inspiration and a catalyst for transformation. Seven years ago, I initiated the biggest change in my life. My relocation to Barcelona was about venturing away from a creative life that had become somewhat mundane and prosaic, to invigorate the evolution of my artistic identity through the lens of the city’s colorful culture. Diving into what would become a lifelong love affair with Spain, I realized Holi was approaching. As the notion of spending it so distant from loved ones became perceptibly disconcerting, I was so grateful that my new found Catalonian community of friends gathered together to celebrate and help ease my yearning for the familiar.

That Holi along Barcelonata beach stands so vividly in my mind as a day flavored with food, filled with music and laughter, and laced with color and creative discovery. We all danced ‘til the bottom of our dresses were trashed against the sand and the rocks…and then danced some more. As the concept of playing colors was a bit too novel, they watched curiously from a distance while I dipped my hands, wet and salty from ocean water, into a wooden box of colors.

In the ensuing unfettered moments, Jackson Pollock’s spirit was present, and I began to truly harmonize with the soul of my creative aesthetic. I sensed the mist from the ocean waves washing off the heat of the festivities, as dusk bathed me in an introspective, yet open stillness. I could see the vastness of my canvas more clearly, as if a thick marine layer of fog was lifting from my vision. The smells of the sea became more crisp, the pastel hues of the ocean layering up into the horizon became more clear, and the feel of each rock and grain of sand buffeting my feet became more discernible through the embroidered hem of my slip. The dripping hues streaked eagerly over the white slip dress as I swayed through past memories, toward perspicacity in the present. Where I once would have seen simple colors melting into a dress, I now realized a symphonic statement of design.

Barcelona catalyzed my creative epiphany. It nurtured a distinct evolution in my perspective toward becoming far more attuned to the poetry of change. Rather than being a hindrance or source of trepidation, change became an empowering agent of creativity. Throughout my time in the city, the influences of culture, artists, architecture, and great literary poets all began to weave into my work in a fashion that has imparted a defining soul to my designs.

Holi, family, community, and Barcelona are inextricably intertwined in my spirit. Just as Holi’s customs can strengthen the fabric of community, its essence of new beginnings and change can invigorate our creativity. So this year, I pay tribute to celebrating Holi in Barcelona, when I welcomed a warm, new-found community and family to my life. It sparked a poetic series of art, color, tradition and memories that became sacred to my creative ethos, and imbued “my art of living” with the strength of woven moments of change.
CURRENCY OF OUR VISIONS
“Longevity is a testament to how visionary a designer is…”
The soul of design is constructing tangible stories through a visual language.  As a resort wear designer, I’ve had to learn to tell a story without speaking.
I start with my muses as the main characters, but often have no idea
where I am going, where she is going, what she is thinking, who she is becoming…

It’s only when I begin to drape, pin and fold fabrics against the curves of a body that a point of view  crystallizes. It’s how original design is created. At times, I fear of not living up to my own idealized expectations of my muse, similar to what many actors may feel when portraying their characters. Fear is one of the greatest motivators that I’ve come to appreciate- forcing you to push your boundaries, your vision and think about what’s truly relevant.

The heart of storytelling for designers is an expression of our common humanity, ushered into reality by currents of chaos, nostalgia, culture, and a hint of escapism. These currents can be disorienting, both in terms of how we express our vision and in how we see ourselves. The struggles and occasional vanity that come from being a designer in the fashion world can cloud our perception of what we as artists want – to explore and celebrate our identities and to give to the world our craft.
 
“…cutting through the excessive noise, wielding my pen to sketch the words fingering my heart. Embracing this sensation, the same deep warmth that overcomes you when you are blinded by love. Letting it loose, not hoarding it for myself or saving it for another occasion. Giving it no rest or interruptions- for this is a beautiful part of my wondrous becoming.”

I’m deeply appreciative that the life I chose to live, is full of adventure. Every experience, every place traveled, is a reminder of the importance of sustaining and enriching the vibrant diversity in our heritage, culture, and the health of the world around us. These experiences have inspired me to create things that are meaningful and memorable.
UNEARTHING OUR NARRATIVES
“We are the stories we tell ourselves” – Shekhar Kapur 
Most people know me as the consummate traveler, forever espousing my fundamental belief that travel is the most tried and true way to enlighten our minds and expand our spirits, often in ways that we least expect. It’s one of the most important things we do in life.  However, the few that wade through the chaotic creativity in my life know that I sometimes prefer to spend balmy nights sipping wine and smelling the ocean breeze on my own patio. Despite the numerous, and sometimes extended, excursions to hamlets and islands I’ve long-since forgotten how to pronounce, I’ve always loved spending time at home…that’s a simple reality of mine. Even as a young girl, I really enjoyed my time after school painting, for the years I’d plan to grow up to be an artist.  It was the best homework ever, as it sculpted the ability to tell a story through my pieces, and ultimately shaped my career in design. 

Today, I seek refuge split between Stateside in Laguna Beach and Europe, one foot in the countryside of France and the other in the city of Barcelona.  I had rarely been to California, and the few visits were usually for whirlwind days of back-to-back business meetings in LA or San Francisco. Deciding to move to Laguna Beach sounds alluring, but in some ways, was like being trapped in paradise. The pace and style of business life was different here, and there was a totally different life-feel with the sudden separation from my family, social circle, and business network. Unexpectedly, being in Laguna and the social isolation juxtaposed with the propinquity to beaches and the ocean afforded a new found freedom. It was the freedom to observe and to experiment as an artist of my own design, to take control of the personal narrative, and to discover and develop previously dormant aspects of my own creative voice as a designer. 
 
I’ve been able to reacquaint myself with the great poets and how their writings effortlessly capture the mood and the essence of a woman. In designing collections, I’ve always been focused on the interplay of physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences, and how they are expressed through a woman’s personal growth and self-awareness. Lately, I’ve also come to appreciate my design work as a storytelling medium, and the poetry has found its way into my designs. How a woman chooses to dress and communicate herself to the world is inextricably woven into articulating her personal narrative- more so a strong, free-spirited mood that is so much more than just a look – it’s about how it makes you feel. That’s not to say that changing our lives is as simple as changing our clothes, rather, it can be as simple or as excruciatingly difficult as changing the script in our personal stories.
 
The stories we tell ourselves reflect our belief systems, insecurities, and aspirations.  In many ways, we become the story, whether negative or positive, self-defeating or productive. The revelation is that each of us is the guardian of our own story, and the nature of our personal narrative is fundamental to who we are and who we become. Our time in this world and journey through life can be viewed as the interplay of our personal paths with those of others. It’s metered by those moments of confluence where we follow the same paths with our loved ones, friends, and strangers – no matter how fleeting or extended, banal or emotional, negative or positive, the experience is what matters.
 
Some of my fondest life moments and travel memories were borne of communal gatherings around sharing food, libations, and time and laughter with relative strangers. I’ve found that happiness is when these once-strangers-now-friends always call on your birthday. It’s these small expressions of kinship, these genuine gestures that enrich our days and remind us why each day is truly a gift. I’ve started to host dinner parties in Laguna as an outlet for conversation in an offline world , planting new seeds whose roots are just beginning to germinate and grow the foundation of an eclectic community of business people, artists, media types, and spiritual and physical health seekers.  Not only does this allow me to ease into a new family but provides me the opportunity to share my experiences from travels and the skills I was taught by locals. Its satisfying to know that what I create and serve, pleases someone else. At the core, it’s about the power of a shared meal that’s centered around the simple love of food and about the simple interactions leading to lasting friendships that can’t be reduced to pixels on social media.  It’s about embracing an emotional luxury of connectedness. 
 
I view life now as a quest for wholeness, not just happiness.  It’s about the series of choices that we make along the way, a combination of the joys and sorrows we experience, the friends and family who come in and out of our lives, and all the while staying true to yourself.
CREATIVE SUCCESS
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”  — Pablo Picasso
I think the secret to success is recognizing that to achieve it, you need to let it go. As a creative, your craft has to become something you can’t live without. It’s about channeling pain, pleasure, power and passion. Once you’ve fallen in love with your own work, it feels as though you have no competition and that’s a liberating path to success.”

I believe in pursuing your dreams, finding your gifts, and making them tangible. Sometimes it’s clear how to get there, and other times it’s like trying to hit a piñata – you keep swinging while blindfolded, missing more often than not, until you score waves of sweet rewards.

Each of us has an artist in us and we resonate with different media and inputs. I’m a visual and auditory artist, influenced deeply by both the images of what I experience and the rhythm of music that I hear. Fondly, a beautiful rendition of Concierto di Aranjuez by the great Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo has been the backdrop of prints.

Creativity has its own rhythms that can range from chaotic, to organic, to regimented, and we each need to find the unique rhythms that bring out our best work. It took some time to truly understand mine as I began designing. Ideas often come before dawn and from a combination of free form thoughts pulled from nature, things imagined, people admired, stories told and read, and sights and cultures experienced.
 
Surviving cancer gave me the most precious gift. It gave me another chance to live life. It gave me the SENSE of reality, a true perspective on self-awareness. While the experience shaped my independence and confidence, fashion ultimately became the instrument that defined my creative ‘path to freedom’.



“Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary.”
– Chuck Palahniuk