Maria Fontanellas is part of this new generation of designers who have managed to form their own brand and struggle every day to find their place in an industry that is avid for novelties, but also fierce. From a family of tanners from Igualada, one of the textile cribs of Catalonia, the young creator tries to promote Mietis abroad with a young team that helps her in the design, positioning and business tasks. In her debut at the 080 Barcelona Fashion show last year, Maria Fontanellas won the Emerging Talent Award. We discuss her upcoming projects…
Tell us what we are going to see in the new collection that you present at the 080 Barcelona Fashion…
The collection ‘Safari to Wonderland ‘ is inspired by the world of the jungle in which exotic animals with well-defined colours and textures will appear and I pay special attention to details. I was also inspired by the glam rock style of the 70s and these two ideas will be mixed together. This collection will be an evolution of the previous proposal.
And how do we visualize this safari glam on the catwalk?
To recreate the animals there will be feathers and specific patterns. You can also see patent materials, bright fabrics and a lot of colour because this proposal is about blocks of colour. I will also use the skin a lot because it is something that defines me and there will be elements from the world of the motor with biker jackets and jackets with military airs.
“The skin is the material that defines Mietis”
The skin as a material is also a symbol of Igualada, specifically the industrial district of Rec…
Yes, the skin connects with my brand and with my family. As a matter of fact the workshop of Mietis is located inside the tannery where my father has the factory.
How has the family business influenced you?
It has completely influenced me because my father beyond being a tanner and businessman also likes fashion. He encouraged me to pursue my dreams by launching a skin line and helped me create my own brand. On my part, I studied in Milan and just two years ago I graduated and I passed a pattern making and sewing course which was very useful for design.
Family support, visibility on the Catalan catwalk … It’s not a bad start!
Yes, in this case winning the prize of 080 has allowed me to launch my second collection and in my house I have part of the infrastructure of the tannery where I have the clothing and design workshop. The rest you have to do yourself and it consists of hours and hours of work.
“They have helped me, but the rest you have to do it yourself”
Even so, the beginnings must not have been easy…
They are difficult and you constantly need support from other external elements. Always look out and make contacts to avoid losing business opportunities. For example, the brand right now has a showroom in Paris wher the collections are on show to promote them in the different international markets.
What is the next challenge for Mietis?
The most immediate has been the launch of the website with a capsule collection of leather jackets and bags. Gradually, I will also be introducing the spring collection to see how it is responding amongst consumers. In parallel and with my team we are looking for new multi-brand distribution channels to make the brand bigger.
“In Gratacós there is always something new and interesting”
What role does Gratacós play in all this set up?
I have been coming to your shop since I was 17 years old and I made my first research work with your fabrics. I’ve also designed dresses and I’ve always come here since I’ve been in fashion. In Gratacós, I feel at home and I love the fabrics that you offer, especially the fancy ones. I rely a lot on the fabrics and then design the collections. I love your lace, brocade, Jacquards … There is always something new and interesting!
And how do you see the future of Mietis? Do you rule out working for others? I do not rule out collaborating or nurturing other brands, but today I am focused on what is mine and I am very excited to move forward.
The Gratacós questionnaire…
Your indispensable garment … A leather jacket
A fetish fabric … Organza
A colour you never give up … Bright colors
A designer you admire… Raf Simons
An infallible style rule… Always put some colour in your life
A space that inspires you… The Marchesi cafeteria in Milán
A word of advice for the designers starting out… Learn also how to sew
Your ‘leit motiv’… Put passion into your work
As usual since 2000, Pantone has unveiled the colour that will prevail next year and will directly influence areas such as fashion, design or decoration. Thus, 2018 will be dyed Ultra Violet. An intense, genuine and revolutionary purple tone that, we have seen for instance in one of the most iconic costumes worn by the deceased Prince or the colour that flooded his house after the news of his death.
According to the authority of colour, this tone “evokes a style of counterculture, the grip of originality, ingenuity, visionary thinking that leads us into the future,” according to Laurie Pressman, Pantone’s vice president. A choice that corresponds to a longing that the world needs: “We live in complex times. We see the fear of going forward and how people are reacting to that fear. “ The colour, Pressman adds, “is one of the most complex because it takes two shadows that seem diametrically opposed, like blue and red, and joins them together to create something new.” The ultra violet leans more to blue than to violet, “which speaks of the spiritual quality of the conscience”.
How will it be worn?
Ultra Violet is a cold and vibrant color that adds a certain mysticism. This unique combination of red and blue is easier to match than you might think initially. In fashion, for example, it can be combined with gold and silver among other metallic tones to give it that luxurious and dazzling look. In contrast, mixed with greens or greys, it “evokes natural elegance,” according to Pantone.
Brands such as Raf Simons, Ralph Lauren or Hugo Boss have already uploaded it on the catwalk in Autumn looks. The purple fever continues also in Spring. This has been portayed in the Moschino designs presented at the Milan Fashion Week last September.
As we pointed out at the beginning, this colour is closely linked to creativity and is related in areas such as music. Artists like David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Prince or Katy Perry have worn it on more than one occasion. Even Richard Wagner surrounded himself with Ultra Violet when he composed. This tone was also used by the British suffrage movement of the early twentieth century and in turn, was one of the colours most used by Andy Warhol. Finally, this deep violet is also linked to the cosmos and the tonalities of the universe, a trend that we have seen as in recent years that also influences the fashion industry.
Find some more inspirations with our Ultra Violet fabrics and unleash your imagination with this ingenious and mystical tonality.
The Christmas holidays are just around the corner and from Gratacós we are launching the last showcase of 2017, precisely in homage to these festive days of calm, peace and family meditation. Did you imagine that it would be something classical? If so, you were wrong because the last showcase of the year is romantic, but unconventional, like the creator who signs it: the designer Juan Pedro López.
“I wanted to do something a touch naughty that disengaged people from the traditional Christmas image,” says the creator of Barcelona. Thus under the concept, ‘Think Pink’, which is also the message written as graffiti on the wall of the shop window, “life is painted pink to make it more beautiful and pleasant,” explains Juan Pedro López. The mannequin is also pink, as are the different fabrics that wrap and decorate it, and the painting utensils that accompany it. Neither is the traditional Nativity scene as a religious representation of Christmas missing in the shop window.
Juan Pedro López: “You have to paint life in pink to make it more pleasant”
The colour of romanticism is accompanied by some shades of gold expressed with several strategically placed garlands and purpurins that give it that sophisticated air which is associated with the end-of-year celebrations and which perfectly express the designer’s meticulous spirit. It is a chromatic expression of love in a time of tensions that invites us to tease out the most fraternal side of people. “We are going to reduce that climate with a touch of pink,” he concludes.
Currently Juan Pedro López combines his work as a designer for other brands and as a teacher with that of a stylist. It is a task that he is also passionate about and where he can show other facets that connect fashion with art. Soon we will be introducing his new projects to you in a more complete interview.
The showcase will be in Gratacós during the Christmas holidays. Come and visit us to discover all the details!
After the valuable teaching imparted by Alejandro Resta and Núria Sarda, this month one of the big needles has come by the Gratacós space : Francis Montesinos. The popular Valencian designer took over the show in the third presentation organized by the initiative Designers Fashion Experiences for the second year running during the autumn months . With a casual language, some humour and a rich portfolio of anecdotes that review his extensive career in the sector, Montesinos knew how to win the love of the public (students and lovers of fashion in general) who did not hesitate to write down the advice and learn from the ins and outs of his professional career.
We review some of the questions from the interview as well as their answers. For even more detail you can read the information on the website Designers Fashion Experiences.
How does Francis Montesinos understand fashion?
Fashion is my way of life. I started when I was very young, when I was about 14 years old, I began to know it existed and I was already browsing to find out more about it. At 15, I started creating clothes. At that time I had a girlfriend and I made her clothes: I went to the fabric stores, I looked at the magazines … I discovered how things were done like a collar or sleeves. Without realizing it, I learned the first part of fashion, a part that is not real but wonderful.
Remind us of those beginnings after that first phase and, how was the sector in the 70s?
At that time there was nothing in Valencia and in 1974 I came to Barcelona. I have to add that everything I had learned did not help me at all. I remember that I started in the industrial area of Barcelona and that’s where I set up my first workshop. I was very lucky because I lived a moment of change, of transition between haute couture and prêt porter -A- and I could count on the expertise of the pattern makers . In 1984, I went to Madrid, where the Madrid movement started, but in fact it was also made up of designers from all over Spain. Also to mention that I lived the hippie movement in Spain that also influenced my collections. That’s why I tell you that I’ve had the good fortune to experience two great changes in fashion and learn from them.
“The Madrid movement and hippie movement have influenced my designs”
What is the value and importance of the fabrics?
At that time I liked fabrics a lot, like I do today. I remember going to markets to touch the fabrics, to feel their shape and to imagine what I would do with them. It was as if the fabric was telling me what to do with it, not the other way around. That is why I always say the same thing: it is very important to touch a fabric, appreciate it and know what you will do with it. Personally, I like natural and organic fabrics like cottons, silks, wool … I think they are more authentic.
What values would you like to transmit to the new generations?
Perseverance. I think you do not have to get tired of yourself, you have to learn to turn things around, to do new things without losing the signs of identity that is the most important thing in your career. In my case, prints with unique colors identify my work. In this profession you also have to be fast and patient at the same time and it is very difficult to achieve both simultaneously.
Francis Montesinos will have experienced some failure …
Yes. In the whole of my career I only decided to close once because of a mistake in the past in the registration of the brand that got me into debt financially and damaged my creativity, but then fortunately I saw that it was nonsense and I decided to fight. I promised myself that I would get back up, and I did.
“It is very important to touch a fabric, appreciate it and know what you will do with it”
What are the keys to success in each parade? It is the work of a team that is exposed in just a few minutes…
I am one of the few who do everything. I want to say that I do not let anyone put the music on, the lights, the outfits … Now I do not get as nervous as before because I have a team of young people who know how to do everything.
What is the importance of interpreting a design? The work of the designers and seamstresses …
I remember Mrs. Concha, who was the head of the workshop, she had the upmost patience to make me see how important her profession was because I gave more importance to design than to the production. From this I learned a valuable lesson: the day you find a pattern maker, treat her with love because they are worth gold.
How do you deal with the ego?
I have never thought about being famous. Never in my life. I have always thought that I like this profession and that I want to learn from it every day. I enjoy my profession and thats it.
What is your best design?
The best design I’ve done is the one I have not done yet because once I’ve made a design I do not like it anymore. I mean, once I created it, it has lost the mystery. I’m passionate about doing something new.
“I have never thought about being famous”
Who would you like to dress up?
I ‘ve already said it on previous occasions that I like to undress more than dress -he laughs-. I believe that there must be a communion between the brand and the client . If you do not like it, you will not wear the dress, that is obvious.
And finally, tell us about the business. How to survive?
The textile business has always been very problematic and the “rag” is what gives you the least money. There are other aspects that are more profitable, such as designing a pair of glasses, a mobile phone … You have to try to work your way up bit by bit.