September 5, 2013
by Keith Widyolar
Behind the Scenes at Desigual Spring/Summer 2014
An Interview with Manel Jadraque
Keith Widyolar spoke with Manel Jadraque, Desigual’s Managing Director about the collection.
NYLC: What’s the theme for the season?
MJ: Our first time for Desigual in New York. We are very excited 40 minutes before showtime. Desigual is a global brand today. To show the collection here is the perfect place.
The collection this season is called Happy – Mediterranean – Chic. “Happy” because it’s the attitude of the brand to be optimistic and energetic. “Mediterranean” because we are from Barcelona, Spain and we take inspiration from Mediterranean so you will find Navy style and blues and greens from the Mediterranean. And “Chic” because it’s very trendy the collection. We follow 1970s shapes. The use of fabrics and shapes are very feminine. It’s very sexy. It’s our newest and best collection ever.
NYLC: How is this this collection different from your previous ones?
MJ: The newest is the use of graphics. You know Desigual is graphics and colors, but this collection is more soft, more quiet, a style more relaxed. Also the use of graphics, very geometric, following the 1970s. These are the two main differences. It’s more mainstream if you like, more for everybody.
NYLC: Graphics were one of the original inspirations for Desigual. What inspires the collection now?
MJ: Graphics are the DNA of Desigual. Desigual started with graphics and graphics defined Desigual.
NYLC: How do you see the evolution of the brand?
MJ: Now it’s a big collection with 1,000 items. We have 28 designers. Christian Lacroix is the main designer for this line. It’s more sophisticated, incorporating more trends. We are a very contemporary brand so we change with time.
NYLC: What was the inspiration for the logo?
MJ: Well the name is Desigual which means “different.” I think it defines very well the spirit of the house.
NYLC: Who is your ideal customer?
MJ: We work for everybody. We are very mainstream as a brand. In fact we say we work for [ages] 0-100 years.
NYLC: How do you want your customers to feel when they wear Desigual?
MJ: When you wear Desigual, you feel more happy. That’s the idea. It’s beyond fashion. Desigual is an attitude.
NYLC: Is that a Spanish characteristic?
MJ: Spain is like that: Funny, happy, sunny.
About the Collection
Just as Jadraque said, Desigual’s Spring 2014 collection is a little softer. It’s still Desigual, but a kinder, gentler, more soft-spoken one. The bold and bright patterns and layered textures in the collection show the influence of lead designer Christian Lacroix, the Haute couture French designer known for his costume designs for opera, theatre, dance and music productions based on historical costume and clothing.
Lacroix is from Arles on the Mediterranean coast of southern France, less than 300 miles from Desigual’s home base in Barcelona, Spain, so Desigual is not reaching very far for its inspiration. Lacroix has the same Mediterranean coast sensibility.
Desigual is a global brand that has been posting 50% growth year over year and is likely to become a billion dollar operation this year. The clothes are indeed a little different, but I think the main reason for the brand’s success is that happy is the brand’s core character, and they take it to heart. After all, Desigual was founded in Ibiza, the famous party island off Spain’s Mediterranean coast where all of Europe goes to enjoy the Summer.
There was a happy, playful feeling backstage. It shows in the photos. One of the model’s told me she was excited to walk in this show because she gets to smile.
My fall and winter coats last season were Desigual. Everywhere I went, I got comments from people, and I never ran into anyone dressed like me (thank God). This collection is a slight turn towards the mainstream that references 70s silhouettes and pop art patterns. It’s still different, but a kinder, gentler Desigual.
Some of the clothes from this collection, especially the short all-white or black and white pattern dresses, will be perfect for that first warm Spring day in New York when everyone suddenly sheds the gloomy wardrobe of winter and dresses to express the feeling that they are happy, very happy to be alive.