Marina Afonina wearing Albus Lumen Shirt
Stylist, designer, mother, traveller – Marina Afonina proves to be multi-talented. After a decade working in styling and feeling a gap in resort wear, Marina sought to build her own label, Albus Lumen, that could provide a certain kind of easy luxury. In the lead up to summertime, we spoke with Marina to learn more about her daily life and the influences that inform her work.
- You work as both a freelance stylist and a designer for your label Albus Lumen, what continues to inspire you about clothing?
Everything really, the relationships between clothing and travel, books, nature etc..Also the aesthetics of Italian and French cinema which were really big growing up. These things are what inspire me to design for Albus Lumen. I love my job as it gives me an opportunity to be creative and express myself. I have been lucky enough to have amazing support system throughout my career.
- Your designs are influenced by feelings of European Summer, where are some of your favourite places to travel in Europe?
I love Europe; the history, the people, the fashion and also the sense that there is a real understanding of the classics there. When you are in Europe you can really see the difference in people's choice of clothing. I think they have a higher appreciation for quality and tend to be less driven by trends. Paris would definitely be my favourite city to visit. It always inspires me! I love the culture, the people and beautiful architecture.
Marina in her favourite city, Paris
"I get inspired by the real women around me...my mother, she has always been a woman with true style and confidence."
- You moved from St Petersburg to Sydney when you were 17, what can you share with us about your upbringing in Russia?
I miss Russia. It's a country with an amazing, rich history and a beautiful landscape. I had a childhood filled with lots of fond memories, especially of travelling every summer to the Black Sea with my parents. The Resort 18 collection was inspired by Italy but also influenced by my childhood in Russia. The Anoushka dress is an example of inspiration from Russia, with this dress referencing ‘the peasant girl’.
- What can you share with us about your routines for self-care?
I have an extremely busy and full life with a hectic work schedule as well as being a mum to my 6 year old son Oliver. I keep my routine simple - I make sure to drink lots of water, get a weekly massage and my monthly light sessions at Karpati MediSpa in Double Bay which keeps me fresh and rejuvenated. I do wish I had more time to exercise, this is something I have set as my New Year’s resolution.
- Do you have any daily practices that help you achieve balance?
On a daily basis I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle to help me with my energy level and to strive for balance in a simple, achievable way.
- How does living in Sydney inform your work?
Sydney is a great city with beautiful weather and the beaches that come with it. I love it especially in the summer time...there is nothing better than going to the beach on a hot day! My favourite swimming spots would be Camp Cove or Nelson Park.
- Is there a particular Albus Lumen design that you consider to be a personal favourite?
My favourite piece would probably be the Fisherman's Oversized Linen shirt! It’s such a classic piece and one which I think everyone should have in their wardrobe.
- What kind of a space have you tried to create in your studio? How do you like your work environment to feel?
We have a super tiny office here so we try to keep it really clean and simple with some greenery and lots of daylight. I love burning candles and my collection of fashion and interior books.
- There is femininity and strength in your collections, who are your Albus Lumen muses?
I get inspired by the real women around me. Starting with my mother, she has always been a woman with true style and confidence. With Albus Lumen I try to focus on real clothes for real women.
- Can you share with us something you are currently learning about or are interested in?
I have been intrigued and obsessed with Egypt for a while now. I would love the opportunity to do a course on Ancient Egypt in my spare time in the future.
Greenery and daylight at the Albus Lumen office