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Leandro Cano and Juana Martín promote Andalusian art and heritage at their Haute Couture shows

Translated by
Jul 8, 2022

Andalusia has never been more trendy. Seville, which Dior turned into a picture-perfect postcard in its latest cruise fashion show a few days ago, served as an idyllic setting and inspiration for the brand's creative director, Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, who reinterpreted classic codes of flamenco and religious imagery in her collection. The songs and dances of the internationally renowned singer Rosalía, who, along with a whole stream of groups and artists, has revisited Andalusian folklore from a modern perspective, also draw from the Andalusian culture. None of this seems cliché or old-fashioned to foreigners, but quite the contrary. The sheer richness of Andalusian culture wins over audiences with the sound of tapping feet and rhythmic hand-clapping. It's no wonder that the Parisian Haute Couture Week gave in to its charms.

Juan Pérez / Leandro Cano

Highlighting craftsmanship

Three months of hard work are hidden behind 'Las Bellas Criaturas', a white cotton jumpsuit adorned with large shapes and hand-embroidered towers with blue details, representing the weight on women's shoulders. It was one of the 10 exclusive looks with which the designer from Jaén, Leandro Cano, celebrated his brand's tenth anniversary, highlighting tradition and the value of artisans. The venue chosen for the show was none other than the Embassy of Spain in Paris, where just a few days ago hosted the presentation of another Spanish brand, Oteyza, and which is becoming increasingly recognised as a space at the service of Spanish fashion.

The collection, entitled 'El Baile de los Excluidos' (The Dance of the Excluded), mixed "bucolic and dreamy" references and paid tribute to those who were excluded in the Middle Ages for being different. Following a drum-led grand entrace, an unadorned cross and a black-clad Nazarene opened the show, giving way to elaborate silhouettes of exaggerated volumes. The lineup included a dress resembling metallic armor, made from 1750 meters of chain, a wool suit decorated with more than 3000 golden nails and weighing 15 kg, a red crochet look in reference to one worn by Lady Gaga herself years ago, and even an embroidered maxi dress inspired by the Pope, in a further nod to the Andalusian Holy Week.

"It is an appropriate time to vindicate marginalized people and the craftsmanship that we have in our country that is highly appreciated abroad", explained Cano backstage at his fashion show. His collection was conceived during the pandemic, an inspirational period for the couturier born in Ventas del Carrizal (Jaén), when he spent his time surrounded by the women of his family.

After presenting his latest ready-to-wear collection in Spain last April, Cano added the short documentary film "Caballo Ganador" (Winning Horse) to his artisanal offering, which centered around the savoir-faire of his team of artisans. "I want to show what the artisans I work with do. I want to be a designer who shows and doesn't hide everything that goes on behind the scenes. I'm very proud of this," he said.

Juana Martín

First Spanish and gypsy woman in the Haute Couture calendar

Cordova-born Juana Martín returned to the French capital in style. After having presented her collections in the city since 2020, her last fashion show was part of the official calendar of Haute Couture Week for the first time. This was not only a milestone in her career, but also in Spanish fashion. "I am a Spanish woman, Andalusian, gypsy, mother and worker making history. For me it is very important to convey a view of Andalusia that goes beyond folklore, reflecting history and tradition. We have art, poetry and color," said the designer after her fashion show held in the Lycée Victor Duruy gardens.

As with Cano, Martin sought to pay tribute to her land and culture, bringing the very essence of her region to Paris. The collection entitled "Andalucía" saw Almodóvar's muse Rossy del Palma opening the solemn fashion show wearing a long white embroidered coat. With singer Israel Fernández and guitarist Diego del Morao in charge of the soundtrack, the looks were tinged with black and white, reminiscent of lorquian style. "I wanted to present something dark, to find the light of Andalusia in the color black," said Martin, who added touches of bright orange in her accessories.

The show went on to present a cape fit for a bullfighter with dramatic ruffles around the neck, a casual black look with semi-transparent polka dots, a dress paired with a priest chasuble featuring metallic embroidery, a sphere-shaped beautiful mini-dress with pleats, and structured garments featuring the brand's signature ruffles. All of these pieces were made in the firm's ateliers in Cordova. Accessories were not few: from the classic Cordovan hat to flat shoes designed for the occasion by the French Maison Felger, to masks and trellised headdresses resembling Andalusian balconies. Likewise, the goldsmiths of Plata Pura created the avant-garde and floral silver accessories.

"Globalization compels us to accept differentiation. My goal has always been to combine masculine and feminine codes seamlessly, while cleaning, purifying and elevating the image of Andalusia in the stories we tell. I want our stories to be global and to be understood well beyond our borders", beamed the designer at the close of the last day of Haute Couture Week.

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