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Designers "made in Spain" are making waves

  • © Pasarela de Jesús del Pozo. Ugo Camera / IFEMA 2012

    © Pasarela de Jesús del Pozo. Ugo Camera / IFEMA 2012


""Balenciaga is a couturier in the truest sense of the word", Coco Chanel once said of Balenciaga, who today is considered to be one of the most celebrated designers of all time. ..."

"Balenciaga is a couturier in the truest sense of the word", Coco Chanel once said of Balenciaga, who today is considered to be one of the most celebrated designers of all time. The queens Maria Christina of Habsburg and Victoria Eugenie, in addition to actresses such as Jane Fonda, were all seduced by his creations. Over fifty years later, Spanish fashion is still a force to reckon with, and year after year names such as Custo Dalmau and Amaya Arzuaga make their mark on the international catwalks, while various companies in the Spanish fashion sector are garnering success beyond our borders. Spain is still in fashion.

The first "golden" stitches
At the start of the 20th century, Mario Fortuny was already creating authentic myths in the fashion world with designs such as his Delphos dress. Later on, Balenciaga thrilled his clientele with his famous black gowns with their figure-hugging bodices, and the "Balenciaga collar"… In the 1960s, exponents of Spanish haute couture such as Asunción Bastida, Elio Berhanyer and Manuel Pertegaz were invited to show their designs on the catwalks in the Spanish Pavilion at the International Fair in New York. Manuel Pertegaz even succeeded in seducing Ava Gardner and Jackie Kennedy.

Pedro Rodríguez studied new textiles and colours, Paco Rabanne caused a sensation with his style in Paris… These first-rate beginnings guaranteed that the name of Spain was bound to arise in any conversation involving fashion.

The arrival of Spanish prêt-à-porter in the late 1970s and the 1980s saw the emergence of names which have also gone on to win numerous accolades, including Adolfo Domínguez, Jesús del Pozo, Roberto Verino, Josep Font, Sybilla, Purificación García, Antonio Miró, Francis Montesinos…

The promise of the present
Today the runways in the major fashion capitals are never complete without a show with genuine Spanish flavour.

Amaya Arzuaga has for several years been showing her distinctive volumes to great acclaim at the Paris Fashion Week, and La Semaine des Createurs –also in the French capital– features the creations of Spanish designers such as Lydia Delgado and Ángel Schlesser. Another great talent recognised in France? Manolo Blahnik and his shoes (which have come to be considered genuine objects of desire) have been celebrated in the exhibition "Manolo Blahnik, 40 years of glamour".

New York is without doubt a well-known territory for Custo Dalmau and his graphic universe, and for a number of years he has enjoyed great success with his designs on the catwalks of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York, while also succeeding in making his mark at other fashion shows in cities such as Saint Petersburg. The city of the skyscrapers has also played host to collections by other Spanish designers such as Toni Francesc, Joaquín Trías, Miguel Adrover and David Delfín, and to innovative ideas like the video-fashion show '4 EYES' staged in 2009, in which the audience at the New York Public Library were treated to an exhibition of creations by Ana Locking, Carmen March, Juan Duyos and Juanjo Oliva.

And one name stands out above the others in London: Emilio de la Morena, a regular on the London catwalks, which have also welcomed the designer Elisa Palomino. Not to mention the well-known bridal salon, the White Gallery London, where the designers Victorio&Lucchino and Raimon Bundó have recently made their debut.

Dolores Cortés in Miami, Sita Murt and Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada in Moscow and Milán… but also in Singapore, Dubai… These are just a few of the names and destinations which round off Spanish fashion's round-the-world tour.

Spain's ambassador
Thanks to its long history and experience, fashion has become a worthy ambassador for Spanish creativity, culture and identity. In addition to Spain's innovation, there is also the quality of Spanish craftsmanship and its long tradition. Areas in Spain such as Levante and the Balearic Islands are particularly well known for their footwear and textiles, and have produced concepts such as the famous Adlib fashion range on the island of Ibiza. And on the subject of accessories, firms and names like Camper, Loewe, Mascaró, Pedro Miralles, Andrés Gallardo, Chus Burés and Joaquín Berao, to name just a few, prove that Spain also has much to say in this field too.

Exhibitions like "Back to the Roots. A journey into the future of craftsmanship" organised at the Gabarrón Foundation in New York; "20 outfits for Russia: Designers in dialogue with literature" which travelled to Moscow after touring Tokyo, Beijing, Istanbul, Milan, Brussels, Budapest and Madrid, in addition to lectures in New York on fashion in Almodóvar's films, have all contributed to spreading awareness of Spanish fashion as culture.

In fact, some of the latest international catwalk shows have clearly been inspired by flamenco and bullfighting themes.

Shops are being opened all over the world, there are sky-high sales in international markets, major stars choose to wear creations by Spanish designers, there are fashion schools, international workshops... Cristobal Balenciaga once defined what in his opinion a fashion creator should be: "A couturier must be an architect for design, a sculptor for shape, a painter for colour, a musician for harmony, and a philosopher for temperance". It is clear that all those who followed in his footsteps have taken note. And Spanish haute couture –original, intrepid and unique– has managed to make a name for itself in the world of fashion.

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