Madrid, Capital of Fashion

The history of Spanish fashion is one of diversity, tradition and elegance. Spain has been the birthplace of great fashion houses whose reputation for originality and exclusivity dates back more than three centuries. 

From the luxury and exclusivity of Loewe, the elegance of Balenciaga, the modernity and eclecticism of the great designers of the Movida Madrileña, the Gazelles of Fashion of the 80s to those showing promise today. 

Balenciaga, Elegance Itself.

The “architect of seams” was Spain’s signature designer.

In 1919 Balenciaga opened his first atelierin Madrid. He was the leader of haute couture and dressed the Spanish Royal Family and the aristocracy. A few years later he moved to Paris and created a completely innovative style featuring a line of drooping shoulders, pinched waist and round hips.

His designs showed influences from the great Spanish painters and from Cubists and he dressed stars such as Greta Garbo and Grace Kelly. 

He was a legendary figure who retired in 1968, with the arrival of prêt-à-porter.

Balenciaga’s haute couture house is still well-known in the fashion world and has nurtured great, internationally famous designers such as Paco Rabanne, Hubert de Givenchy and Oscar de la Renta. 

La Movida Madrileña

The streets of Madrid witnessed the Spanish Transition and one of the most important events in the country’s history, the “Movida Madrileña”. This was an artistic and social phenomenon. It was a spontaneous movement, which awakened talent, freedom and creativity. 

The movida was a vibrant, crucial time for the world of fashion which experimented with shapes, volumes and materials. The “Movida Madrileña” was one of the most memorable times in the retail sector and inspired the best international designers.

Pedro Almodovar along with the cast of “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown”. Los Angeles, 1988.

Manuel Piña was the designer who dressed the Movida Madrileña. He laid the foundations of the Spanish prêt-à-porter after Balenciaga’s impressive haute couture. New York and Japan were enchanted by his experimental collections and he was the inspiration for the Cibeles Show, the current Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid.

A few years later, big firms such as Jesus del Pozo, Roberto Verino, Adolfo Dominguez, Antonio Miró, Sybilla spread their wings in the city. They were the so-called “gazelles” of  Spanish fashion in the 80s. These promising designers established the sector in Spain that laid the and put Madrid on international fashion map. 

Madrid, Capital of Fashion

The way fashion evolves mirrors, in one sense, the changes and trends in society.

The fashion week in Paris was officially established in 1973 and only 12 years later the Cibeles Show was born. In 1985, six brave Spanish designers presented their collections at Plaza Colón in the first Madrid Fashion Week. 

In the 90s, the luxury fashion sector in Spain awoke from a long hibernation. The city’s wealthy were enthused by the movement and the big fashion companies discovered an emerging market in Madrid, which began to require much more exclusive fashion products. At that time, the big international firms such as Dior, Loro Piana and Jimmy Choo, opened in Madrid’s best districts particularly in areas such as Calle José Ortega y Gasset. 

Street Style. Jimmy Choo Fringe Bag

Thirty years later, initiatives such as MBFWMadrid have become authentic showcases of Spanish fashion and big names in the sector have participated in the show on the 66 occasions it has been held.. Loewe, Vitorio & Lucchino, Ángel Schlesser, David Delfín, Roberto Torretta and Roberto Verino are some of the firms and designers who have presented their collections at Madrid’s impressive show.

In addition to the well-known MBFWMadrid, the city hosts numerous festivals, events, associations and shows such as MFShow and Samsung EGO. These events aim to promote and provide new takes on Spanish fashion, which further strengthens Madrid’s connection with fashion. Shows, exhibitions, performances and presentations of new talent allow the general public to experience fashion and the world which surrounds it. 

These foundations and their history mean that Madrid today is one of the most influential international fashion capitals alongside London, Paris, Milan and New York. Madrid is the home of great designers and fashion houses and hosts several international firms.