Behind-the-scenes with a Victoria's Secret wing designer

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

By: Logan Sowa

Armando Farfan is a master of his craft. As one of the incredibly talented artisans behind the famous wings you see during the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show each winter, he knows a thing or two about glitz, glamour, performance, and the "it" factor it takes to pull it all off.

We had a chance to sit down with Armando and talk about his experiences and how they've shaped his work -- from being a circus performer as a child, to working with stars like Pink and Katy Perry and of course, the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Needless to say, he's an impressive guy.

The art of performance has been instilled into Armando since, pretty much, the day he was born. "I am a 6th generation flying trapeze artist, on my mom and dad's side," he told us, "but I'm sort of the strange one, because I veered away!"

When he was very young, Jill Krementz wrote a book about him. Part of the "A Very Young" series (she also wrote about a dancer, a gymnast, a horse rider, and so on), Armando was the center of A Very Young Circus Flyer, published in 1979. And as such, was asked to speak to and perform for even more audiences when he was as young as 7.

"It's an interesting upbringing," he joked.

But performing wasn't his only passion -- he also loved to make things. When they moved to Las Vegas and were no longer traveling the world, he was able to focus on more than the circus, and his inventive spirit soared. Combine that drive to create, to weld, to take things apart and make something totally new -- and the fact that his accolades have led him to work with and choreograph shows for Pink, Celine Dion and more, and it leads to another incredible performance act: The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

See the incredible wing creations from last year's show:

66 PHOTOS
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2015
See Gallery
Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2015
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Elsa Hosk walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at the Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)
CNBC EVENTS -- 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show -- Pictured: Model Bridget Malcolm walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in New York City on November 10, 2015. -- (Photo by: Adam Jeffery/CNBC)
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model and Victoria's Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel from South Africa walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images
Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Maria Borges walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: The Weeknd performs as Victoria's Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio walks the runway at the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: The Weeknd performs as Constance Jablonski walks the runway at the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: The Weeknd performs as Victoria's Secret Angel Behati Prinsloo and model Joan Smalls walk the runway at the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: The Weeknd performs as Joan Smalls walks the runway at the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Victoria's Secret Angel Lily Aldridge walks the runway at the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: A model walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Valery Kaufman from Russia walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: A model walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Shanina Shaik from Australia walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Megan Puleri from Ohio walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model and new Victoria's Secret Angel Kate Grigorieva from Russia walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model and New Victoria's Secret Angel Sara Sampaio from Portugal walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Ming Xi from China walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Lily Donaldson from The United Kingdom walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Selena Gomez performs onstage during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model and New Victoria's Secret Angel Taylor Hill from Illinois walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Models Jasmine Tookes, Lais Ribeiro, Elsa Hosk, Candice Swanepoel, Adriana Lima, Behati Prinsloo, Lily Aldridge, Romee Strijd, Alessandra Ambrosio, Kate Grigorieva, Monika Jagaciak and Stella Maxwell walk the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Models including Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima, Victoria's Secret Angel Behati Prinsloo, Victoria's Secret Angel Lily Aldridge, walk the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Lily Donaldson from Britain walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Lily Donaldson from Britain walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Gigi Hadid from California walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Magdalena Frackowiak from Poland walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: A model walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Bruna Lirio walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Model Maud Welzen from The Netherlands walks the runway during the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Lexington Avenue Armory on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

And even after all of his experiences, he tells us working on this particular show is still an entirely different ball game. "You have an incredibly tall model, and she's in killer shape -- but what no one understands is that that might be a 6-inch heel, and these women are wearing 30 pound wings made of solid crystal in these super tiny dainty high fashion shoes! It's kinda crazy."

But it also makes Armando's eyes light up when he's talking about it -- simply put, these models impress him so much.

"It's an amazing thing to see and experience, because the models all want to be at their best, at the top of their game. And that's not just 'I worked out today.' It's 'I worked out, I'm in heels, I'm carrying a major weight, my hair is on point, my energy is up there...' It's mind blowing."

He also gave us a sneak peek into one of the wings he designed this year -- worn by Angel Sara Sampiao.

"For Sara's wings... it's like Indiana Jones, how a whip moves. So a whip goes from semi-rigid, to rigid, then very pliable at the end. So picture that, attached to your back. If you move in a certain way, you'll get a very fast reaction out of the whip-like motion. So we created this concept around a smoke effect -- how do we suspend these curls in time, and bring that to life in wings? So they move slowly. They move like smoke."

(Fashionista.com got to attend Sara's fitting -- so you can somewhat see what Armando is talking about, below! But you'll see these wings in motion when Sara goes down the runway on December 5th.)

So what's the most important thing for the models to remember as they go down the runway? Ownership.

"The most powerful women I've ever been around," Armando told us, "whether it was Celine Dion, Bette Midler, Pink, Lady Gaga, anyone we've worked for, they all have that. And if I could ever give a hint of advice to anyone, just own you. F*ck the world, f*ck what they say, and just own you!"

"I've never seen a Victoria's Secret model that didn't absolutely own it, and that's amazing. And important."

We couldn't agree more.

Tune in to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on December 5th at 9pm EST on CBS.

Related: Every single model walking in this year's show:

54 PHOTOS
Every single model walking in the 2016 VS Fashion Show
See Gallery
Every single model walking in the 2016 VS Fashion Show
Walking for the first time

Bella Hadid

(Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Keke Lindgard

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Zuri Tibby

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Xiao Wen Ju

(Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)

Walking for the first time

Grace Elizabeth

(Photo by Timur Emek/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Luma Grothe

(Photo by Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Irina Shayk

(Photo by Venturelli/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Herieth Paul

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)

Walking for the first time

Alanna Arrington

(Photo by Melodie Jeng/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Jourdana Phillips

(Photo by Estrop/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Dilone

(Photo by Vanni Bassetti/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Lais Oliveira

(Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)

Walking for the first time

Georgia Fowler

(Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Megan Williams

(Photo by Dave M. Benett/amfAR16/WireImage)

Walking for the first time

Brooke Perry

(Photo by Michael Stewart/WireImage)

Walking for the first time

Lameka Fox

(Photo by Timur Emek/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Camille Rowe

(Photo by Rindoff/Dufour/French Select/Getty Images)

Walking for the first time

Maggie Laine

(Photo by Michael Stewart/Getty Images)

Returning models

Constance Jablonski

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Former VS Angel Karlie Kloss

(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Returning models

Gigi Hadid

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Returning models

Kendall Jenner

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Bridget Malcolm

(Photo by: Adam Jeffery/CNBC)

Returning models

Kelly Gale

(Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho)

Returning models

Ming Xi

(Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Lily Aldridge

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Rachel Hilbert

(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Returning models

Kate Grigorieva

(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Returning models

Sui He

(Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho)

Returning models

Daniela Braga

(Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho)

Returning models

Valery Kaufman

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Liu Wen (she last walked in 2011!)

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Elsa Hosk

(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Jasmine Tookes -- she will also wear the 2016 Fantasy Bra!

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Sanne Vloet

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Izabel Goulart

(Photo by Kevin Kane/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Josephine Skriver

(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Lais Ribeiro

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Devon Windsor

(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Returning models

 Leomie Anderson

(Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Martha Hunt

(Photo by: Adam Jeffery/CNBC)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Romee Strijd

(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Returning models

 Joan Smalls

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Lily Donaldson

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Sara Sampaio

(Photo by: Adam Jeffery/CNBC)

Returning models

 Cindy Bruna

(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Stella Maxwell

(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Returning models

Victoria's Secret Angel Taylor Hill

(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Returning models

 Maria Borges

(Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho)

Returning models

Barbara Fialho

(Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)

Returning models

 Vita Sidorkina

(Photo by Kevin Kane/FilmMagic)

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Read Full Story

From Our Partners