When we tell people about our selection of Spanish fashion, they often give us a puzzled look. Because when they think of Petra Karthaus, they think of the finest from France, the most interesting from Italy and what’s gorgeous in Germany.
Spain, not so much.
So we tell them the story of how Barcelona became an A-list hub of design. Then we show them the clothes. And they’re never puzzled again.
A Quick History of the Spanish Textile Business
In the 20th century, Spain was where Italian, French and German clothing designers put their factories. Labour was cheap. Weather was good. And a trip down to check things out could always be bookended with quick jaunts to Ibiza and Majorca.
But most importantly, it was because the Spanish were excellent workers.Their craftsmanship was far superior to what designers found in the Far East, they were proud of what they did and both traits shone through.
Then two things happened: the 1992 Olympics and the creation of the European Union.
The Barcelona games catapulted Spain back on the world stage of creativity. Not since the days of Gaudi and Picasso had Spanish art and culture been so prominent. It lit a fire under the collective feet of Spain’s creative class, including clothing designers who realized they had all the manufacturing they needed in their backyard. They just needed the formal design training and investment to bring their ideas to life.
The Euro Zone solved that problem in two ways. Firstly, it became easier for Spanish designers to study at Northern Europe’s top design schools. Secondly (and more importantly) it infused the Spanish economy with money, helping risk-taking designers either start or expand their lines.
Over the past 25 years, not only has Spain’s clothing industry flourished, but it’s developed a signature look we fell in love with.
Nothing plain in Spain
Everything that makes Spain, well, Spanish comes through in their clothing design. They're big into warm colours, and lots of them. Check out this beautiful tapestry-style maxi dress from Aldo Martins we have in the store right now.
What you can’t see from the picture is how light the dress is. The Spanish do comfortable really well, and if you spend an afternoon drinking Sangria in the sun on the Ramblas, you’ll know why.
Not all Spanish style is that flamboyant. We have a selection of elegant, understated pieces from Aldo Martins that work in even the most conservative settings. But they didn’t miss an opportunity to put their commitment to art front and centre, quite literally.
Next time you’re in, ask about our Aldo Martins collection and about Spanish fashion in general. Dorothea and Clarke can talk about it all day.