Vogue Magazine uses the backdrop of a solar power installation to show the optimistics designs of Palomo Spain.
“With its high-Spanish flourishes, flowery streetwear, and genderqueer freedom, set against the background of a solar energy plant, this Palomo Spain show in Andalusia sent a brilliant signal to the world about the optimistic surge of youth, community, and localism that started growing when the plug was suddenly pulled on the old fashion system in 2020. “This solar energy place is like a light that’s shining in our hearts on the horizon,” declared Alejandro Gomez Palomo. “Everyone can see it from our village in Posadas. You know, this is the place where they do renewable energy, and we felt that about the collection too. It’s refreshed and renewed!”
The inclusive culture Palomo’s built on tailoring his richly colorful, corseted, matador and flamenco–inflected wardrobe, with all its slinky-sexy embroidered suits and voluminous smocks is a neighborhood business, just outside Cordoba. Not only has it changed the fortunes of Posadas for the better, but a wider global community of people raring to buy has grown out of it. “We bring people from all around Europe who want to work here. I mean it’s fun, there’s like a parallel universe that happens here in our small fashion center in the middle of nowhere,” he laughed, gesturing around his studio on Zoom. “Everyone makes their life here in the village. Now I see boys wearing dresses in the supermarket, but the people there aren’t even shocked anymore. Because we have much more freedom in the village than you’d normally have had years ago.”
In procession around the local eco-electricity plant were a signature pink flared pantsuit with intricately-edged black embroidery, an absinthe Cristobal Balenciaga–ish cloak, square panel-shouldered jackets smothered with Chantilly lace, and a corset-top doublet blouse with a handkerchief-point peplum in a sprigged cotton; a padded codpiece here, a marabou matador-ish hat there. All of this floats in the romantic in-betweens of time and gender that make up the Palomo Spain world, but this time, it’s been added to, with duster coats in floral prints, crochet knit shorts, baker-boy and bucket hats, and pieces that were worn by women models.
“So now we have the pieces for the collector that wants the special suit, sequins, or the hand embroidery, and all the drama,” he smiled. “And then we have many other pieces for all the younger community as well that have given us so much this year. It’s just this explosion of optimism, the mood where I felt like, you know, flowers and polka dots and checkerboards and stripes—and everything that could really go together. It’s a bit of that attitude these days of going into your wardrobe, seeing whatever you have, putting it all together and going out.”
He says that outburst of optimism has been generated as a direct consequence of the pandemic-caused break in the established fashion cycle. “I’m really happy because it allowed us the time to rethink. It’s been a beautiful journey for getting to know and understand that there is a real community around the world who are buying us directly. They’ve been making the brand grow and grow every, every month,” he said. “It’s been such a relief for us to stop worrying about this—you know, what are we going to do this season? And how long are we going to wait for the next shop to come along? We got into the fashion world in a time that wholesaling wasn’t, you know, giving us young designers as much. So, we’ve really got to understand that maybe that’s not the business model for us. In fact, we found out we can do in a month of direct sales what we would get doing a season of wholesale”—a massive grin—“and it’s so much easier, and much more affordable for customers as well, if they can buy straight from us!”
It’s Palomo Spain’s fifth anniversary in September. He might have something different up his voluminous sleeve for then, when things might be COVID-clearer. Perhaps—we can hope—it will be an invitation to make a fashion pilgrimage to see what’s going in Cordoba; just as Simon Porte Jacquemus put on that indelible show in a lavender field in his home region in France. Who wouldn’t want to feel plugged into that serendipitously happy, drama-filled mix of modernity and tradition in a Spanish provincial landscape with Palomo Spain? The outlook from there is so bright.
You can see the whole collection here
This article was written by Sarah Mower for Vogue Magazine