What if Spain were the new fashion epicenter? Iberian designers are at the forefront of style, exporting their talent abroad. Focus in Catalonia on an unprecedented effervescence.
What strikes you at first glance is the light. Warm, radiant, dazzling, it engulfs the entire city under an azure sky, like an antidote to depression. In Barcelona, on the palm-lined coast as in the historic Barrio Gotico, there are countless days of sunshine – almost three hundred a year in all of Spain – nor the number of trendy addresses, trendy boutiques, designer galleries and trendy restaurants.
For a handful of years, Spain has established itself as the new European creative Eldorado, inspiring and attractive, with a highly desirable way of living. In addition, four Spanish cities are among the ten best cities in the world where it is good to live and work, according to the study published in March 2020 by InterNations (the largest expat community, with 4 million members). “Here people are extremely cordial, talking to passers-by and cultivating a genuine joie de vivre spiced with eccentricity,” underlines Véronique Vaillant, a sparkling Franco-Spanish based in Barcelona and creator of the label very popular with fashionistas, Editing The Etiket . “This colorful and unbridled side, clearly enshrined in Almodóvar’s Movida, can be found today in all facets of the country’s culture, whether we are talking about music, film, painting, architecture, gastronomy or fashion.”
In video, the Emerging Talents fashion show during Milan Fashion Week, Spring-Summer 2022
A little bit crazy
Last April 5, opposite the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, a cheerful demonstration of “trendyness” took place at the Los Àngels Monastery. Behind this facade of 16th-century Gothic architectureand century was held on the opening night of the 28thand edition of Barcelona Fashion Week, which brings together the cream of the crop of the Iberian Peninsula just a few days after its cousin, Madrid Fashion Week.
Long considered a country on the fringes of the fashion world, Spain is now revealing its full potential, thanks in particular to a new style guard, with original philosophies, whose talent is now exported internationally: the Palomo Spain label, by Alejandro Gómez Palomo , who is American seducing celebrities, such as Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus, with its sexy romantic fashion twisted with Iberian influences; the sour flamenco style of María Escoté seen on the shoulders of singer Rosalia; blazers, trench coats and trousers in all sizes and styles from Louis Rubi’s LR3 label; the spirit of freedom and the indolent sexiness of the collections of Glo Lladó, the designer of the Eikō ai brand, trained in Central Saint Martins in London…
Instead of following trends, this younger generation is creating their own aesthetic, inspired by history and Spanish pop culture
In only a few collections, these designers have shuffled the codes and won the votes of the fashion world. “Instead of following trends, this young generation is creating its own aesthetic, inspired by history and Spanish pop culture,” analyzes Blanca Miró, the influencer with 565,000 followers who is used to the front rows of fashion shows and who also has twists, women’s wardrobe classics with a whimsical touch via the La Veste label. “It is this difference and this touch of madness that increasingly fascinates us abroad.”
Fashion is a playground for me, where joy prevails over trend
Véronique Vaillant, creator of the label The Label Edition
Being an outsider in the fashion world, far from industry regulations and the usual seasonal influences, is also the DNA of The Label Edition, the eco-friendly label and made in Spain launched in 2019 by señora Vaillant, a hit in the United States and across Europe. “A floral shirt with oversized sleeves under a men’s cardigan, a sweatshirt over a tuxedo shirt or gold leather trousers paired with a checked blouse, fashion is for me a playground, where joy ‘becomes the trend’,” explains the designer who presented her new collection on April 6 at Libertine, the very popular cocktail bar in Casa Bonay, the vintage-style hotel in the center of Barcelona, a few blocks from La Sagrada Família. That evening, though his happy friends had traveled to attend his virtual fashion show.
There was actor Luka Peroš, who plays Marseille in the hit series money robbery (Netflix), the young duo of interior designers from Quintana Partners, Benito Escat Velez and Pol Castell, new “children of design”, or even Pablo Bofill, the son of the late Ricardo Bofill, the Spanish architect of the internationally renowned: all the Spanish creative hype gathered in a chic and relaxed atmosphere to share platters of Iberian charcuterie and a cana artisanal or a glass of natural wine. “It may sound a bit cliché, but that’s how it goes in Spain, Véronique Vaillant whispers in our ears. Whether it’s a fashion event, the opening of a restaurant or a club undergroundyou always come across personalities from all walks of life.”
The art of blending
A little further, between Jean Nouvel’s Agbar Tower and the large beach of Bogatell, you can also feel this positive energy. Known as the former industrial district of Barcelona, in a few years Poblenou has become a paradise for tourists seeking street art and the stronghold of creative people, with its Design Museum and its many lofts, workshops, fashion boutiques , coworking spaces, advertising agencies, art galleries and even food trucks with DJs.
“Welcome to Brooklyn in Barcelona,” laughs Maria Fontanellas, flaunting her colors in a flashy red patent leather trench coat with sleeves pimped out with pink feathers, from her clothing and accessories brand Mietis, which has just opened a hybrid concept store in this neighborhood. mixing art and fashion. “How can you imagine anything other than pop and cheerful fashion when you wake up every morning with a view of the Mediterranean?”, the designer laughs. And then we are lucky that we can count on exceptional craftsmanship here to make our wildest dreams come true.”
Like them, the Spaniards cultivate an explosive personality. They are experts in the art of whimsical mixing of styles, folklore and colors. “In Spain everything is fusion,” she continues. So, in the Sant Martí district, whatever their activity, everyone takes pleasure in making each other discover their know-how. Especially in the time of thees la hora congratulations», which in French translates as «the blessed hour»… that of the aperitif. Spain or the joy of life.