Something hurts in the depths of the fashion industry when one of the great masters vanishes.It is as if the end of a prosperous cycle or a stage of great achievements is over to give rise to uncertainty.The nostalgia of thinking that any past time was better is a bad companion.
This week, the sector has lost one of its top representatives, Hubert de Givenchy.The French couturier died in his sleep on Saturday aged 91. Givenchy defined himself as “The eternal apprentice”, he left this world whilst dreaming.It’s funny how visionaries do not stop dreaming until their last breath.
A career between fabrics
Hubert de Givenchy was born on 21st February, 1927 in Beauvais in a Protestant family belonging to the French nobility. His father died when he was two years old and the designer was raised with his mother and grandfather who owned a tapestry factory in which he also collected fabrics, furniture and other typical objects of the time. As he recounted on multiple occasions, from very little he wanted to dedicate his life to the world of the fashion, but it was not a profession that was well seen at the time. In 1944 he left the family nucleus to move to Paris with the dream of being a seamstress. In the French capital he studied at the School of Fine Arts along with other dressmakers such as Robert Piguet or Elsa Shiaparelli. Shortly after arriving he opened his own workshop in Paris and did not hesitate, after a short time, to establish his own brand: the Maison Givenchy , which he began in 1952. Two years later he became the first designer to present a line of luxury ready-to-wear that catapulted him to success. It is also at that time, in 1953, when Givenchy met the teacher Cristóbal Balenciaga with whom he maintained a great friendship and always declared himself an absolute admirer. In fact, the French couturier became the promoter of the Balenciaga Museum, founded in 2011 as a sign of commitment for what he considered a source of inspiration. From Balenciaga he inherited a way of doing and understanding haute couture as a symbol of timeless elegance.
After a long career, in 1988 the luxury group LVMH acquired the Maison Givenchy. The creator relegated his position as the firm’s great owner, although he continued to design collections for the brand. Other designers occupied the position of creative director such as Galliano or until recently, Riccardo Tisci .The same Givenchy retired in 1995 with a symbolic parade in Paris. Despite not being inside the circuit, Hubert de Givenchy never disconnected from the sector he loved until the end of his days: “I will stop making clothes, but will never stop discovering. Life is like a book: you have to know how to turn a page. “A great lesson in life from one of the twentieth century needle masters.
The dressmaker (and friend) of Audrey Hepburn
Givenchy dressed up key personalities of the 20th century, such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Wallis Simpson, Grace Kelly, or Carolina de Monaco. His favourite however was always Audrey Hepburn. In fact, beyond the professional, the actress was his muse and friend for years. The first encounter with the Belgian actress arose in 1953 at a key moment. Then, Hubert de Givenchy agreed to lend her several models for the movie ‘Sabrina’ that would be released a year later. That collaboration marked the beginning of all the collaborations that were ton come on and off the big screen. The designer created for the actress iconic designs such as the black dress she wore in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961); the creations portrayed by Fred Ataire in ‘Angel Face’ (1957) or the lace piece and black mask worn by Hepburn in ‘How to Steal a Million’ (1966). They had so much mutual trust and admiration, that Givenchy even had a book of sketches dedicated to Hepburn, entitled ‘To Audrey with love’. “I always respected Audrey’s taste. She was not like other movie stars because she liked simplicity, “said his muse’s couturier.
Fashion is paying homage to the sweetness of the softest tones in the chromatic spectrum. Pastel colours are the kings of a season, which is tinged in pale tones that give it a certain romantic and boyish look, with mixtures that include light blues, water green, pale rose, baby blue, lavender and the palest of greys. The collections of Michael Kors, Tom Ford, Emporio Armani, Giambattista Valli, Victoria Beckham and even Chanel, have been impregnated with this colour palette that is presented in complementary blocks within the same look and that without any doubt express the freedom to experiment with colours, soft textures and gradually lightening fabrics. They are tones that when well combined, soften traits and favour tanned skin.
Let’s look at some of the colours most in fashion this Spring-Summer 2018 according to Pantone.
This pink shade with bluish reminiscences is taking over from the Millennial Pink that so much triumphed last season – and that continues to mark the spirit of a generation-. It is a lavender pink colour, very fine and delicate, that gives off calm and tranquility. Michael Kors, Kenzo or Tom Ford have opted for this tone in Spring.
Another seductive pink from the soft palette. Almost Mauve is a very soft, almost mauve shade, which seems almost white, an ephemeral and delicate colour like a rose petal that lends a very subtle tone to the chromatic creation. Some designs by Rachel Zoe, Giambatista Valli and Tom Ford go for this most nostalgic of hues.
Orange is present in its most subdued version: peach, a warm tone that intermingles with the pink and whose reference is the flowering dahlia. It is a discreet, but attractive colour that is also a hit in the make-up industry. Rachel Zoe and Paul Smith have opted for it wihout hesitation.
Little Boy Blue
Baby blue is back once again for the warmer months. This inspiring colour of the brightest of skies reminds us of innocence and purity, transmitting tranquility and comfort. This calm tone finds its best allies in lavenders and quiet greens. Versace and Ralph Lauren have featured it on the catwalks.
In our online website, as well as in the Gratacós shope you will also find the new selection of pastel fabrics, so that you can create your softest chromatic blocks. Choose fabrics without too many textures and dare to experiment.
Checks are an ever-present, especially between seasons. Quite apart from winter, this geometric fabric is renewed also in spring to accommodate new shapes, sizes and shades. Thus tartans, Prince of Wales prints, lumberjack check and classic tailored fabrics are rescued from the winter wardrobe to be adapted to that of Spring.
Though this fabric is usually associated with coats and jackets, checks also feature in dresses, trousers, T-shirts and even the most improbable summer accessories. If last year was the triumph of the Vichy paintings and the country style of Brigitte Bardot, this season gives a conceptual twist, opting for a more sober type of check which is at the same time elegant, principally in neutral tones. Yes, we are still talking about one of the trends of Spring-Summer 2018.
How is it being worn on the catwalk?
There are many valid formulas and each designer is committed to checkered fabrics in his or her own way. Even so, they are presented in two ways. First, in sober looks with a British accent and accompanied by well-structured clothes. Don’t hesitate to review the collections of Chanel, Balenciaga, Fendi or Dries Van Noten to find some of the basic garments of the season that exhibit this geometry.
At the other extreme, checkered fabrics are worn in unusual mixtures where the square shapes coexist with striped fabrics, floral prints or more checks which are quite randomly arranged in an ode to the mix & match style! For one example of this take a look at the new collection by Miu Miu, Marni or Balenciaga.
On colours too nothing is prescribed. Brown, khaki green, burnt orange and all the natural shades are present together on the cat-walk for this more British line, whilst bright blues, reds or pale pinks coexist with other blocks of colour in contrasting combinations.
You will find some of the checkered fabrics of the moment on our website. Alternately, visit our shop and we will advise you. Meanwhile, we’ll leave you a sample.
Fashion is art. And as such, it serves as an inspirational canvas to other artistic disciplines such as painting. And especially that of the maestro Joaquín Sorolla, a painter who served as a graphic chronicler of his time, portraying modernity and haute couture at the same time through his works, which were full of aesthetic content linked to fashion.
To do homage to his artistic career, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum has organized an exhibition, in collaboration with the Sorolla Museum, which analyzes specifically the influence of fashion on the work of Joaquín Sorolla and which can be seen simultaneously at both venues, from February 13 to May 27.
The exhibition, curated by Eloy Martínez de la Pera, gathers together more than seventy paintings, from national and international museums and private collections -some of them never publicly exhibited-, together with a selection of period dresses and accessories, with valuable items which were also borrowed from important institutions and private collections, many of them unpublished.
A chronicler of modernity
Sorolla was a great lover of fashion and became the perfect chronicler of changes in the trends and style of clothing that occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His works in fact bring together an evocative catalogue of dresses, jewelry and accessories, created in his relaxed and vigorous style. Accuracy in the details of the dresses, emphasis on the fabrics and a pictorial catalogue of complements present in the portraits -most of them female- painted by the artist between 1890 and 1920, which go hand in hand with the fashion items located in the different rooms of the museum. Sorolla portrays women, extolling their condition and femininity with looks that inspire confidence and positions that mark a certain empowerment. The Valencian artist conceived of women as independent beings who were not governed by conventions in a style of painting that broke frontally with the classics.
The exhibition is divided into four sections: ‘ Sorolla in private’, ‘ Portrayal of society’, ‘Elegant summer’ and ‘Modern country’, retaining in each block different elements that shape the environment of each theme. It is a unique opportunity to discover in Madrid the work of the artist and his special taste for immortalizing the fashion of the time through his paintings.
THE SHOP-WINDOW …
An opera singer in a futuristic key plays impassive, vibrant melodies to the stars facing a wall in mauve tones with the golden letters of Gratacós, which recreates that fantastic and radiant universe created by Ibone Sologaistoa. It is accompanied by a blanket of cotton clouds that surround it floating in this musical dream where aesthetics coexist with art. “Fantasy universes inspire me and I always try to convey them in everything I do”, explains the young designer from Bilbao. This “Queen of the Stars”, which stars in the February showcase, impresses by its ostentatious presence. A voluminous dress in vibrant colours occupies much of the space. Violets, reds and roses in contrasting tones and textures. A long layer of mint green gauze with the zodiacal constellations embroidered in gold envelops the cosmic diva’s attire. “I was looking for this contrast between colours, fabrics and brightness. One thing I was clear about was that I wanted to work with materials that radiate a lot of light, “explains Ibone. She adds: “I conceive of the cosmos as something bright, colourful and magical.”
“I conceive of the cosmos as something brilliant and magical”
Finally, a diadem of stars decorates the short hair of the fictitious singer, with a hairstyle that irrevocably reminds one of Ziggy Stardust, the alter ego of the multifaceted and multidisciplinary, David Bowie. “He was always an important figure for me in terms of an icon, not so much for his music that I discovered later,” says Ibone. For this we must go back to the film ‘Inside the Labyrinth’ where the British composer played Jareth, the mysterious King of the Goblins. “I am fascinated by that mystical and extravagant aesthetic that the character has, that despite his being bad, he manages to hook us with his power of persuasion,” she concludes.
ABOUT IBONE SOLOGAISTOA …
Ibone Sologaistoa is a dreamer by nature and quickly spoken. Born in Bilbao, she moved to Barcelona 7 years ago to continue experimenting in the world of illustration and then in fashion design. Another of her passions that she is now perfecting in the Guerrero School. It was precisely in the activities promoted by the centre where she came across the inspiring talks by the Designers Fashion Experiences team in which Gratacós participates. And from there, she got to know the design contest organized by their information initiative. “I had never won anything, but my philosophy is ‘make plenty of noise’ so that they get to know you,” explains the artist who conceives of fashion as an extension of her own essence: “My drawings and my designs always connect with this bizarre and ostentatious universe that I so adore. “
“My designs connect with a bizarre universe that I adore”
The design ‘Queen of the Stars’ was chosen for its originality and colour by the members of the jury formed by the designers Alejandro Resta, Celia Vela and Oscar Léon, participants in some of the presentations of Designers Fashion Experiences. After appearing at Autobeltran, Ibone Sologaistoa’s creation will be located throughout the month at Gratacós. “It is written in the stars”, says the message embroidered on the cosmic diva’s cloak. So be it!
The catwalks of Madrid and Barcelona are leaving in their wake a hundred creations from the designers of the moment. From Gratacós we have seen some of our fabrics on the catwalk in the collections of Autumn-Winter 2017/2018. We highlight the most relevant looks:
Moisés Nieto’s New York party
Moisés Nieto broke away from the oficial calender of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid to turn to the Matador Club of Madrid into the Manhatten Area Club of the late 80’s in a nightlife full of glamour that pays homage to art. Here what the designer from Ubeda presents is inspired by the clubbing culture and the excess of endless nights with velvet and sequins in midi Dresses combined with Reeboks so as to keep on dancing. A further highlight were the black patchwork garments where devore, silk and guipure are mixed to stand out brilliantly from the crowd. A final stunning look was provided by some glamorous details such as feathers and garments with fringed silks.
The eighties luxury of The 2nd Skin Co.
Juan Carlos Fernández and Antonio Burillo are inspired by the 80’s for women’s everyday wear. The 2nd Skin Co. One innovation is that knitted garments are incorporated into the most sophisticated looks via high neck jumpers with geometric print and embossed shoulders that are combined with dresses and tops with embroidered sequins and velvet, which in this case understates any excessive glare. Standing out from the old collection is also a blazer-dress of black tweed, which is sleeveless and versioned with strapless neckline. This creation coexists with mini-dresses with asymmetrical neckline and large flowers on one shoulder, mini-skirts and shirt-dresses.
Hunting for Palomo Spain
Palomo Spain was tasked with closing the 67th edition of the Madrid catwalk with a collection exhibited a few weeks ago in Paris. His creation “The Hunting” was performed in the salons of the Teatro Real with male models representing the characteristic ambiguity of Alejandro Palomo’s designs. It was a Fashion show of Baroque aesthetics offering a melodramatic route through the history of the monarchy: iridescent frock coats, chain-mail tunics and medieval reminiscences, tweed jackets and richly ornamented fabrics in what was a majestically exquisite presentation.
The emotional collection by Escorpion
Escorpion presented at 080 Barcelona Fashion one of the few see now, buy now schemes (on-the-spot purchasing) in this edition. Thus the “Feel” collection corresponding to the next spring-sumnmer season by Sybille Horaist is inspired by the impulse to feel, to experiment and to touch. Their experimental presentation is divided into three lines: the first one of harder aesthetics with green camouflage, beige and black tones. The second plays geometric contrasts with zigzags, stripes and borders in various colours. Finally, in the latest looks, the flowers take over the garments with printed sweaters and flowing skirts with ruffles.
The glamorous safari of Mietis
Maria Fontanellas offers plenty of surprises with her collection “Safari in Wonderland”, a winter presentation which we already covered in our interview with her in January (catch it again here). She takes us on a trip to an imaginary jungle full of wonders, where the woman Mietis reflects through clothing her most eccentric and independent side. The presentation of adventurous and sophisicated aesthetics at the same time combines exterior pieces like jackets and long coats of military inspiration with glitter and metallic looks that accentuate the more glam-rock spirit of the collection. Also present are volumes, rounded shapes and the application of feathers that add a point of theatricality.
Palomo Spain has hit the heights and is heading for success. In two years the company of the Cordoba Designer Alejandro Gómez Palomo (Posadas, 1992) has passed from anonymity to be on everyone’s lipse. And the critics predict him a good future in the fickle fashion industry. He is not lacking in merit. The key to his success has been to revolutionize the masculine wardrobe with clothes that boast transgression, creativity and colour without limits: provocation as a flag. Palomo Spain dresses men in traditionally feminine articles of clothing creating a peculiar eighties universe with an Almodovan aesthetic. His creations are fresh and innovative, with garments that are equipped with all luxury of details and silhouettes that blur gender barriers.
The firm not only designs for men in its more feminine offerings. Palomo Spain takes a step further. Artists such as Miley Cyrus and Rossy de Palma have exhibited his creations on the red carpet. In fact, the fame of this designer grew exponentially when Beyonce chose a gown by the Spanish company for the public presentation of her twins last July. In November Rita Ora appeared in a bathrobe by Palomo Spain at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
After having gone through several fashion weeks, such as that of New York, Alejandro Palomo’s company was chosen to open Paris Male Fashion Week, one of the most important events in the sector, held in mid-January in the French capital.
The collection which he presented for next autumn-winter 2018 / 2019, is entitled ‘The Hunting’ and is inspired by the aesthetics of hunting, combining the more masculine English essence with the spirit of the South, much more folky and ornate, full of colour and prints that are distinctive features of the Cordoba brand. In the designs there is no shortage of furs, tweed, tartan, velvet or wool in classic cuts of the Montería, such as full skirts, corsets, capes and coats. It is an offering of green, persimmon, red and orange tones full of details, as are the line of accessories by Tolentino of Seville that accompanied the winter collection: traditional hats, felt forras… that give the finishing touch to the glamorous hunting looks.
In February, Alejandro Palomo will also have his spot on public television, participating in the new talent show by Spanish Television, Master Seamsters, a fashion programme that displays the art of the designer, emphasizing everything that is behind the fashion media spotlights. It is a contest in which the young designer will act as jury and mentor along with veteran designer Lorenzo Caprile and the Valencian María Escoté.
Gratacós support the talent of Palomo Spain and wish him many more successes.