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:
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: