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Juana Martin

Mar 18, 20 Juana Martin

Spanish style has recently appeared in more and more collections of both ready-to-wear and haute couture lines. Mostly interpreted by foreigners. But how would Spanish designers themselves translate the quintessence of their national DNA?

We sit and talked to the Andalusia-born couturier – the first one since Balenciaga’s era who showcased her work within spring-summer 2020 Haute Couture Week.

Stunning and captivating by her inner force and integrity, Juana Martin is in her early forties. Her Parisian collection inspired by flowery courtyards –patios- in Cordoba, hometown of the designer, introduces to the audience a contemporary vision of thousand-year style. Feminism in femininity, or, if you want, strength in fragility; a perfect balance of opposites: volumes of ruffles and extravagance of accessories offset by purity and certain minimalism of cuts and colors.

Rossi di Palma, a good friend of our protagonist, stole her show, which was set in the Spanish Embassy.

“Rossi perfectly suits to express the heart of flamenco – the DNA of our brand. The way she moves, how she feels – it’s in her blood”, – posited Juana. Appositely, astonishing di Palma, a long-dated muse of Jean Paul Gaultier, walked in his last couture show just a day before Juana Martin’s one, without mentioning Rossi being a favorite actress of Pedro Almodovar.

All 26 looks of the collection were prepared within.. ten days preceding the Parisian presentation. Meanwhile the finishing of outfits is so perfect, and, based on my more than 10 years’ experience in the industry I can suggest that finishing is what really differs couture cloths from fast fashion, that I cannot hide my admiration.

The designer smiles: “If only I had more time, the quality would have been much higher!”

The original prints on flawless airy dresses is the fruits of collaboration with another talented friend – painter Lila Cabellut. Organza – predominant fabric – is from the Italian Como. While the reversible handmade embroideries on the lapel of white jacket recreate the flowers on the old Andalusian manila shawls.

Participation in an haute couture week in Paris on a level playing field with the legendary ones – a long dated dream-came-true for this Spanish girl with gypsy roots she is proud of.

Thinking of little girl’s fashion dreams’ realization, brings us to another ‘fairytale’ story of success. The story of Russian couturier Ulyana Sergeenko who entered the official program of a couture week few seasons ago with pieces deeply inspired by the history of her country. But if Ulyana has been backed up with nearly unlimited budget, Juana could rely only on herself and her devoted team. Moreover: a designer who hasn’t been hiding her family origins and created the whole aesthetics of her fashion brand based on their traditions caused discontent of her brethren in native Spain.

“After our Parisian show my phone is constantly ringing. Those, who used to ignore me, now hasten to express their marveling. But what is really important is that I am receiving lots of messages from young people, designers who are just starting; they thank me for being an example of ‘impossible is possible’.”

“You know, all my clients are so different, both in terms of age and social status. My aim is to create authentic, inspired by our culture cloths which is accessible for everyone. I don’t conceive couture as a prerogative of the very rich. Well, and honestly Zara – it’s not about Spain.”, – says designer when I ask her about millennials and the place she would occupy in a very exclusive Parisian fashion scene.

“I take off my hat to the houses with long history: Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Dior ..their craftsmanship is unique and unsurpassable. However, I don’t compare myself with anyone and don’t compete – I’m telling my own story, which is resulting from my personal experience.”

To my last question about the secret of her success, Juana animates: “The only secret is hard work, sometimes up to 15 hours per day, with tears and sufferings and…the support of my guardian angel.”
She calls guardian angel her father. As a catholic believer, she addresses to him in hard moments and is sure that the help comes as her prayers are heard.

After 15 hours of daily work they could not be ignored)