Spain may not be the first country that comes to your mind when you hear the word “fashion”, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t— on the contrary! We present you with five Spanish fashion designers you should definitely know if you are into this exciting world of couture!
He is by far the most famous Spanish Fashion Designer to this day and a central figure in haute couture. Cristóbal Balenciaga was indeed commonly referred to as “The King of Fashion”!
Balenciaga opened his first haute couture workshop in 1917, when he was only twenty-two years old. Shortly after he had moved to Paris, he got his first overwhelming success with his first Parisian collection in August 1937. His creations stood out from the beginning for their sober cut and the bold combinations of colours. In 1960 he even designed the wedding dress for Queen Fabiola of Belgium.
“FASHION YOU CAN BUY, BUT STYLE YOU POSSESS”, IRIS APFEL
Coco Chanel said that he was the only authentic “couturier”, since he was about the only designer able to design, cut, assemble and sew a dress from beginning to end. Christian Dior called him “the master of all of us” and Hubert de Givenchy continued to refer to him as “the architect of haute couture” until he died last year. The permanence of his legacy shows that these testimonies are still valid today!
Manuel Pertegaz was born in Olba in 1918. He opened his first establishment in Barcelona at only 25. Ten years later, Harvard University awarded him the prestigious Fashion Oscar. Pertegaz’ fame was so wide that he was proposed as Christian Dior’s successor as head designer for Dior but chose to remain in Spain. In 1964, his fashion show at the Spanish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair was a huge success. Manuel Pertegaz even succeeded in charming Ava Gardner, Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn with his designs!
When he died, Spain’s education and culture minister, José Ignacio Wert, stated that to think of Pertegaz was “to think of elegance.” And indeed, this concept of elegance seems to be central in his work. According to the Pertegaz website, “Pertegaz defined the elegance of Spanish women over decades, a distinguished elegance with serene and delicate glamour. His concept was that of a swan-like woman, fragile whilst at the same time majestic.”
One of the most famous shoe designers is Spanish! Yet, Manolo Blahnik started designing shoes by accident. In 1969, he had the chance to meet Diana Vreeland, the editor-in-chief of US Vogue. He showed her his portfolio of fashions and drama set designs, and she advised him to concentrate on designing footwear. Blahnik followed her advice and became within a few years the renowned designer he is today!
He opened his first shop in London in 1973 and his creations were a success. He is mostly known for luxury female footwear and particularly for the stiletto heel he helped revive. Diana the Princess of Wales, Madonna and Sara Jessica Parker, among others, have worn his creations.
David Delfín was born in Málaga in 1970. He felt fashion as a “multifaceted art” and thus drew inspiration from other forms of art: painting, cinema, etc. He became well known in 2002, when he presented the Cour des Miracles collection at the Pasarela Cibeles in Madrid. This collection was inspired by the painter Magritte and the film director Luis Buñuel and presented the models with their faces covered with hoods and hanging ropes around the neck.
Regularly transgressive and controversial in his works, David Delfín was awarded in 2016 the National Prize for Fashion Design by the Ministry of Culture “for the boldness, courage and social commitment of his work, with a marked Spanish identity.”
Alejandro Gómez Palomo
The Palomo website states that the Palomo brand combines: “the dramatic spirit of the southern Spanish character of Alejandro Gómez Palomo, together with a sophisticated and urban street style of London, where he spent his formative years studying at the London College of Fashion.”
Palomo is thus an international brand, reflecting the international background of the founder! In 2018, Alejandro Gómez Palomo was invited by the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode to present his autumn/winter collection. Palomo Spain thus became the first Spanish brand to be invited to do so.
Several celebrities wore his clothes, such as Harry Styles, Rita Ora, Beyoncé, Rosalia, Paco León, Miley Cyrus… He is considered as a major figure in the new Spanish fashion designer generation.