He has been in the sector for more than two decades, but he maintains the same passion as the day he begun. Santos López is the designer for Santocostura. Fom his workshop in Barcelona, he directs an artisan bridal brand with made to measure garments using quality fabrics and unique embroidery. His collections know no trends or fads and maintain a sophisticated timelessness with perfectly cut silhouettes. The Santoscostura dresses have appeared in a number of magazines and have been centre of attention on the red carpet. Nevertheless Santos López knows that being in the spotlight is one thing, but to get to the top, one must work very hard.
You define yourself as an artisan, rather than a designer.…
The value of our brand comes down to making artisan dresses with unique details that can only be done by working with one garment at a time. I like to preserve the traditional way of working with my hands, because handicraft is something that is coming to an end in Alta Costura.
At University, they forget to teach the most essential part of a business and I am not referring to the designer, who I do not deny is the soul, but they do not show the work of those who sew. They do not show the students how to sew and this is a skill that is disappearing. There is a general belief that it is a devalued job that does not require training, but this is not the case and the truth is we are losing workforce. When the seamstresses no longer exist, Alta Costura will disappear because this art that can not be exported to China nor India.
Despite this, we are going back to our traditional ways, or at least we are more conscientious …
Here is the inconsistency. Consumers value handicraft and customisation, but we are missing artisans to carry out this type of work.
«Consumers value handicraft but we are missing artisans»
Did you inherit your passion for sewing?
Yes, but not in a professional way. I studied Fine Arts because there were no specific university degrees for fashion. I later did various pattern and garment making courses and I learnt by myself. I never doubted this was meant for me.
Do you have any childhood memories?
I remember when my grandmother and I sewed laces together.
What was the first thing you sewed?
A bridal dress for one of my sisters dolls. I think it was a Nancy doll.
What did you learn in your first job?
That you need to work hard. The catwalks and the attention from the media are secondary,. You concentrate on designing and producing. It takes a lot of hours and a lot of effort.
What appealed to you about the bridal sector?
When I was 12, I read a book on the history of fashion and I recall being fascinated by it, especially two pages that talked about brides. When I finally decided to launch the Brand, I wanted to do something very artisinal. In the bridal sector there is always a lot more margin for handicraft and on top of that you are offering a daydream.
«In bridal, aswell as offering handicraft, you are offering a daydream»
What creative process do you follow in Santos Costura?
We work in two different ways. Firstly, we decide on a leitmotif and as from there we work on the collection with previously used fabrics that we join together with other embroidery that we make ourselves. The structured way would be think of the idea, draw the design, the patterns and prototypes. Secondly, we talk to the customer and gather up her ideas and tastes and we modify the garment in the collection until it meets her expectations.
What is the Santos Costura bride looking for?
They are looking for exclusivity and something that reflects their personality. It is true that our collection has a specific style to it but we adapt to what the customer wants so that that the bride does not feel like she is wearing fancy dress. The dress has to be in line with her style.
…And more so in the bridal sector where more than dresses, it is emotions that are sold.
Exactly! That is what we sell. Our work process with the customer is always very close and even though it is my team that starts dealing with the customer, I am always present at some time. I like to meet the brides and attend to them personally. I also like to be there in the dress fitting because it is important that they feel comfortable and I check that nothing has been missed.
What are the trends for 2017?
In the last few years we have gone from vintage to boho-chic gypsy style. This has completely changed now. At least with the brides I deal with. Now we find ourselves with a much more sophisticated bride, that does not want such a big dress, that likes transparencies to insinuate but now to show, with much more elaborated details like gemstones on the dress. These brides want a long sleeved dress, a closed neck and a large opening at the back. There is also a tendency to go back to the basics with a closed plain crepe dress. In general, there is retraint in manners and a sophistication in the small details.
«In general, there is restraint in manners and a sophistication in the small details.»
What are you goals for next year?
The brand is growing alot and I am thinking of things that I did not contemplate when I launched the company. People ask me for dresses from all over the world and my goal is to maintain demand without missing the little details. It is true that in exterior sales points we cannot offer customisation of the dress. We are currently thinking of designing a small collection so that brides that live abroad can have a bit of scope to modify the dress.
The Gratacós questionnaire…
An essential garment…. Some stilettos
A fetiche fabric… Lace
A colour you could not live without… Black
A designer you admire… The maestro Balenciaga and Josep Font de Delpozo
An infallible style rule… Dont look like you’re wearing fancy dress, be true to yourself
Your favourite place in Barcelona… The port
A piece of advise for designers starting out… Be prepared to work hard and never lose your passion
Your vital slogan… Above all honesty
Any style manual will tell you that it is always better to insinuate than to show. How? Through transparencies, strategical cuts, thin fabrics or net type fabrics, know as mesh fabrics.
This season, coinciding with the high summer temperaturas, net fabrics take over the catwalk. Garments and silhouettes that reveal the skin centimetre by centimetre with laborious interweaving that create a sensual geometric print. Mesh fabrics such as netting, fishnet or leotard are now no longer linked with the sports world and move towards luxury in their most sophisticated, delicate and feminine form.
Inspired in the fishermens nets, the large design brands have succombed to the charms of these fabrics, creating optical games all over the body. This is the case for example with Valentino, Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana or Stella McCartney. Mesh fabrics appear explicitly with large holes that are combined with areas of plain fabrics strategically placed to cover nudity in the most intimate areas. These fabrics can be found on bandeau style tops, mini skirts or shorts creating attractive overlapping.
Net fabrics also add a handmade effect to silhouettes when combined together with fringes or frayed effect fabrics that make the garment look incomplete. This style can be seen in some of Louis Vuitton or Acné Studios looks.
Gratacós remains faithful to its vocation to fashion and also has some fabrics with netting effect so you can follow this eyecatching trend. Do you dare?
We love brands with their own style. Those that have originality with emerging or reknowned designers who dedicate all their passion to the needles to create garments that transmit their knowledge and personality within the sector.
For a few years now, a lot of these brands get together in one ephemeral space and exhibit together their latest seasonal offers in order to gain international recognition. It is known that unity is strength…This pop up store is called Barcelona Designers Collective and is sponsored by La Roca Village with the commisiary of FAD (“Fomento de las Arts y del Diseño”– Arts and Design Promotion). The aim of this store is to discover, promote and sustain emerging talent and entrepreneurial vocation.
This ephemeral shop situated in the La Roca Village, houses in one space 300 products of up to 62 catalan creators specialized in fashion, graphic design, illustration, product design, crafts and jewellery . With a casual modern air, these articles fits in very well with the luxury offered in this famous outlet.
In this third edition, participation included designers such as Less-Filling, PeBe, Congo Studio, Naguisa, Après Sky, Zazo&Brull, Georgina Vendrell, Mireia Playa, Romina Gris, Casa Atlántica, Sampere or Safura, amongst others. These were sponsored by well known professionals from various design and creative fields such as Benedetta Tagliabue, Biel Capllonch, Lázaro Rosa-Violán, the chefs Hermanos Torres, Claret Serrahima, Eugeni Quitllet, Miriam Ponsa and Marc Monzó.
All good things come to an end and this temporary shop will be open until the 16th August. It is a good opportunity to get to know the strength and creativity of emerging talent with fresh and summery proposals. We welcome the initiative!
It awakes passions and drives crazy the professionals of the sector. Shoes are a lot more than a fashion obsession. They are the essential accessory to complete a look or more so, define one. In the busy quarter of Gràcia, renowned for its designer shops, there is a space that is leading the way with the originality of its creations.
With a French name, a Spanish origin and a British inspiration, Les Chausseurs is one of those brands whose shop bears the same name, and where one can find genuine works of art. Situated in the Martínez de la Rosa 67 street, it specializes in men and women’s footwear and reinterprets the classic English styles such as the Oxford shoes or the Chelsea boots. This project was launched in 2015 by the entrepreneur and designer Lambert Perera –renowned for also being the creator of the shoes and accessories brand Mus&Roew. Together with his partner María Reyes, they dedicate all their efforts in maintaining the business afloat, and so far it is booming. Thanks to their presence in specialized trade fairs, the network of international customers is continually growing and next year they are already planning to open a second shop and a corner in a shopping centre in Korea.
The footwear is designed in Barcelona and produced in Almansa. It is intended for the modern day dandy looking for the comfort of a good sole without forgoing style. City dwellers that wish to combine elegance with sport for every day wear and appreciate the value of exclusivity and beauty this handicraft bears. Aswell as the shoes, there are other accessories in Les Chausseurs that maintain the same line. For example the Bulgarian silk scarves by Shevitza, the Many Mornings unisex socks, jewellery made by the Madrid based brand Pena Jewels and the interior design pieces by the Basque brand Banoa.
In Gratacós we appreciate design, brands with their own name and charming businesses like this one by Lambert Perera who we have had the pleasure of seeing purchasing in our shop. Who knows…perhaps in the future we will see a new model elaborated with our fabrics!
The intersection of 57th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan provisionally has a new name “Bill Cunningham Corner” and pays tribute to the legendary photographer and fashion portraitist who died three weeks ago at 87. This is where Bill Cunningham used to position himself on top of his old bike with his Nikon camera on his particular hunt down of the most striking styles. Indigo blue blazers, beige trousers and an astuteness to spot fabrics, accessories and details on his targets. Whether every day passers by or famous celebrities such as Greta Garbo who he captured walking down the street without recognizing her. “I’m only interested in their outfit” he used to say. He later displayed his results in the The New Work Times in a photographic column for New York fashion that since 1978 became one of the most sought after sections for the readers.
In fact, the mission of this legendary visual chronicler was to identify each week the fashion trends in the city. His portraits reflected the extravagant characters he came across, just as long as they were in line with that aura of style he looked for. The director of Vogue, Anne Wintour, suggested “we all dress up for Bill”. In 2008, the French government awarded him the “Legion de Honor” prize and in 2009 he was nominated “living legend” of New York. In the same city where he carried out his work, always taking a discreet back seat, seeking out the groundbreaking street fashion, which was really what was successful off the catwalks. Not for nothing, he was referred to as the street style king amongst New York society.
In 2010, the documentary, “Bill Cunningham New York” directed by Richard Press talked about the person behind the character. An audiovisual piece of work that revealed that Bill was much more than a street photographic and his passion for fashion was as equally intense as his work ethics. He was born in Boston in 1929, in the bosom of an Irish family, and before the New York Times he worked for the Chicago Tribune and the Daily News. He started out designing hats and later progressed to the magazines Details and Women’s Wear Daily. In 1967 he owned his first camera and could not give up his hobby of photographing people to document everything that caught his attention.
Bill Cunningham took off in an avid industry of individualisms and passing phenomena. Everybody wanted to be in one of his instant photos but Bill stayed on the sidelines. Even when he assisted the most prestigious fashion shows and high key parties, the visual chronicler maintained his distance. “This way you can be more objective” he assured. Actually, money never interested Bill, known for his modesty and austerity. “Money is the cheapest thing that exists. The most expensive is freedom” he used to say. And we all know that style cannot be bought, even at a time of extreme consumerism. These enduring principles and his expertise on picking up on the peculiarities of the New Yorkers outfits, have glorified the figure of Bill Cunningham leaving behind a deep legacy – aswell as a lesson in life inside the ephemeral empire. In his obituary, the editor of the Times was very precise “The powerful and rich in the fashion world wanted him by their side, but he remained one of most charming, kind and humble persons I have ever met. We have lost a legend and I am personally distraught to have lost a friend, concluded with regret Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.
Samuel Alarcón has once again shown his talent for knitting needles with his new project ‘Etimología del Yo’, presented last week at 080 Barcelona Fashion. The young designer from the Canary Islands –who currently resides in Barcelona, reflected on identity through the agender trend. He did so by making the common theme of his project clothes that do not differentiate gender. This groundbreaking project marks a turning point for the current canons of beauty that are displayed on the catwalk.
Knitted garments are the main form of expression in his collection. Actually, it forms part of Samuel Alarcón’s identity. Aswell as the star fabric, the young talent used other materials to define his style on the catwalk, some of which were acquired in Gratacós. For example the wool crepe in brown, off white and pink shades, that he mixed masterfully with other colours such as black and yellow creating inviting colour blocks.
His collection for next summer also included details that did not get left unnoticed. Romantic key hibiscous flowers on the chest, endless tassles that portrayed movement and voluminous waists in trousers for both men and women. For Samuel Alarcón there are no distinctions because fashion is the same for everyone.
Find the Gratacós fabrics the designer has used here: http://www.gratacos.com/shoponline/en/
It is the colour of purity, it reminds us of innocence and symbolizes peace. White is everlasting. Alien to passing trends, in summer it becomes an essential adding light and brightness to outfits at the hottest time of the year.
White is incredibly versatile and can be worn anytime anywhere. Whether during the day, or at night, it can impregnate with cleanliness tailor made style jackets, palazzo trousers, crop tops, bohemiam style fluid dresses or elegant semitransparent silk shirts. In accessories, it teams well with silver grey creating futuristic inspired pieces.
This season the total white look – white from head to foot – is still in. Minimalist style garments with clean cuts and straight lines that take us back to the refined style of the 90s with brands such as Calvin Klein or Michael Kors. An exquisite combination that has conquered once again both the catwalks and the low cost collections.
The richness of white and its less pure tones such as ivory, bone and cream resides in the combination of fabrics and textures to create immaculate outfits full of different shades that are pleasant to look at and feel. The subtlety of crepe, the floral details of jacquard, the rustic aspect of certain organzas or the romantic look lace mosaics. Without a doubt, the perfect blank canvas to see the peculiarities of each fabric.
In Gratacós, we adore white and we offer you a large range of fabrics for you to conjure up your summer outfits: http://www.gratacos.com/shoponline/en/inspiracion/talco
July marks the beginning of the summer sales. The most sought after articles of the season are transformed into tempting offers at lower prices. It is time to treat yourself to some affordable luxury or fill your wardrobe with basic garments made up of versatile fabrics that never go out of fashion.
In the Gratacos shop in Riera de Sant Miquel, 9, we will also be on sale with attractive offers on many items. So, as from tomorrow 1st July, you will be able to buy our quality fabrics and materials with discounts up to 50%. As usual, our team of professionals will be there to offer personalized advice to each customer, taking into account the designs they want to carry out with the selected fabrics. Our team understand not only fashion, but also needs. For this reason they always recommend the most efficient formula to achieve maximum customer satisfaction.
Before visiting us, if you wish, you can review our extensive catalogue on our online shop and browse through all the materials, fabrics, prints and colours that we have to organize your possible purchases. We invite you to take a look here
Once in the shop, you will see that we have taken the opportunity to change our window display. This original set up has been made by our favourite architect and interior designer Antonio Iglesias, who also designed the new fashion space for Gratacós.
We look forward to seeing you there!
In its eagerness to support local talent and maintain synergies, Gratacós has teamed up wth the designer and illustrator Lara Costafreda. This professional in watercolours lives in Barcelona and is very linked with fashion. This year, the young artist has been given the task of designing the pattern on our tote bag, coinciding with the close relationship that exists between illustration and fashion and the rise of this versatile professional who studied in Barcelona, London (Central Satin Martins) and Rio de Janeiro. This has been an enriching experience for Lara Costafreda too. “Designing this bag has been like a nostalgic trip to the past” she explains. Back then, the illustrator studied design in the BAU school in Barcelona and never missed any of the Gratacós news. “I remember spending many afternoons in the shop looking and touching the new fabrics” she claims.
Do you still not know who is Lara Costafreda?
Lara Costafreda is unbridled creativity and her multidisciplinary talent is already renowned in the fashion industry Included in her portfolio are various first hand projects with Hermès, Cartier and Carolina Herrera. Also magazines such as Elle, Marie Claire and Glamour, or publishers such as Planeta and Gustavo Gili, specialists in design.
Lara Costafredos style is easily recognized. Flowery patterns, luxuriant plants, romantic ornaments and ethereal muses that ingeniously decorate her work and take us to a dreamy universe with surrealist tinges inspired in the Mediterranean.
This year, the designs made by the young illustrator have been used to decorate shoes made by the brand Arrels Barcelona, Joid’art jewellry and the book “Breve Historia de la Moda” by Gustavo Gili.
Lara is constantly receiving work offers and next year is preparing her own publication. We will look out for it. ..
Elisabet Vallecillo and Javier Blanco are the creators of Comillo de Morsa, one of the most sought after independent labels inside “made in BCN” design. The brand, born in 2010, marked a turning point at the fashion show EGO Cibeles Madrid. It led them to exhibit their creations at the Paris show “Who’s Next” aswell as other significant achievements. This marks the start of a slow but steady international expansion as now they are concentrating on consolidating their work within Spain. Colmillo de Morsa has its own shop in the unique neighbourhood of Gracia, but is gaining presence in other designer spaces. It must be for a reason…
Your brand name is surprising. How did you come up with it?
Elisabet- Our name is a reflection of the concept of beauty. The tusk is a reference to ivory, a precious and valuable material. If it comes from the walrus it adds a more grotesque tone. We like the symbiosis of ideas because it is a way of expressing that beauty comes in many ways and can be found in the most unlikely of places. It all depends on who is looking at it and what they can find.
How has Colmillo de Morsa changed since your first catwalk show in Madrid? How have you evolved?
Javier- The essence is still there. We have not changed our philosophy and we stand firm on our principles. Obviously there has been changes in structure because we have expanded and we adapt to the customer, but our way of thinking and approach to the brand is the same.
“We have not changed our philosophy and we stand firm on our principles”
What is this essence you refer to?
Elisabet- In each collection we look for timeless models, checking patterns and key garments with classic cuts. In terms of fabrics, we like to work with silk, cotton, cashmere…We also have a second line made up of basic garments with a more casual touch for day to day wear. Everyone looks for comfort and a carefree style.
So, the creativity is present but you listen to the customer’s needs….
Javier- Exactly, creativity and design remain intact. We have simply expanded our criteria and offer a more diversified product but always within the same parametres.
Really, and what are those?
Javier- Our fashion is quite wearable without being extreme. The clothes are made up responsibly here in the local workshop using environmentally-friendly materials. The customers confide in us because they now we offer design with quality.
“Our fashion is quite wearable without being extreme”
That is the importance of finding your own personality within a saturated market…
Javier- Exactly. In Colmillo de Morsa we do not get carried away by trends. It is something we are very clear about and we like to do our own thing.
Elisabet- As we don’t compete with the fast fashion it seems pointless to be lagging behind market trends. What we strive to do is to make our product following our design and quality rules.
What role does Gratacós play in the creative process?
Elisabet- Firstly, it gives us peace of mind knowing that we are working with top quality material that will achieve amazing results. Also, the huge variety of products they offer. In Gratacós we can buy all types of silks, georgette, organza…also the jacquards when we are looking for a something special for the most detailed garments in the collection.
“Gratacós give us peace of mind knowing that we are working with top quality material”
Local brand with international expansion. Where are you heading?
Elisabet- Now we are in a transitional phase. It is true that a few years ago, we had international presence at fairs where we publicized our product, gained new customers and we sold in Singapure, Dubia, United States….The problem in the end was that by wanting to do so much, it limited our day to day because bear in mind we were a small team and we take of practically everything. Now we have an agent who looks after the international sales but we are concentrating more on the national market.
What are your goals for 2017?
Javier- Now Julia- Elisabet’s daughter-is with us, we want to concentrate more than ever on our shop. Even so, we are always on the lookout for new spaces to expand our workshop and we make new contacts to supply clothes to designer shops. We do not rule out the possibility of opening a new shop, but we will see.
Would you like Julia to be a designer?
Elisabet- Not at the moment – she laughs – she can decide herself when she is older…
The Gratacós questionnaire…
Your essential garment … A printed shirt
A fetish fabric… Any type of silk
A colour you would never forgo… Black
The designer you admirer… Sarah Burton (Javier) and Jil Sander (Elisabet)
An infallible style rule… Always have at hand a good coat or an oversized shirt
Your favourite space in Barcelona… The Korean barbeque Yalujiang situated in Roger de Flor
A piece of advice for designers starting up… They should be clear on the what, where and for whom before launching
Your “leitmotif” … Do what you like