Dreamy, curious, insatiable seeker of beauty and passionate for culture and sociocultural trends.
“I feel inspired by traveling; I also find inspiration in memories, a puddle of water, a bug, a movie, a fish shop … beauty is in every corner. I’m very fortunate of living between Rome and Barcelona, incredibly diverse cities, but both extremely beautiful in their own, unique way, both filled with art, history and culture.”
The French word haute means ‘high’, in the sense of top refinement and haute couture refers mainly to the exclusive, custom-made pieces created by the best fashion designers in the world who use the most exquisitely inputs and fabrics on the market and that always turn to the most accurate handmade work.
Haute couture has had a lot of influence in the fashion industry and onto the fashion trends since Charles Frederick Worth revolutionized the role of the designer in 1958: from the initiative of this Englishman to sign or label his garments, the designers passed of being dressmakers and seamstresses to gaining recognition and later to turning into the current big fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior, Lanvin and Yves Saint Laurent, who have been experimenting with such pieces from their foundation up to their more recent collections.
Luxury materials, fashion trends, sophistication and elegance at their peak are some of the features that fascinated 8-year-old Raquel Oliván, – actual fashion director of the Italian bridal magazine Sposa Moderna since 2013 – when she first encountered a Haute Couture fashion magazine. This same fascination would also led her to study art at the School of the Llotja in Barcelona to major in fashion.
How do you define your work in the magazine and the importance of a fashion director role in today’s publishing industry?
“Today, the role of a fashion director inside a fashion magazine is fundamental to give it a state-of-the-art vibe and a clear guide aligned with current fashion trends. In my case, my job is not binding me only to create and produce fashion editorials; I have also been involved in the updating of the general image of Sposa Moderna, plus working alongside with teams of other subjects such as graphics and marketing. In the same way, I work on some other projects like artistic direction of an old space that needs a restyling or any kind of creative task.”
”Sposa Moderna has a curious look, a constant observation of today’s women and brides in their continuous evolution. In what can be considered as a kind of metamorphosis of style, of personality, the magazine tries to capture this essence and communicate it to its readers.”
When mentioning why haute couture has managed to maintain itself over time in Italy, Raquel affirms that Italians are great businessmen and have managed to combine quality, design and a particular attention to detail in everything they do nationally and internationally with their personal stamp, ”Made in Italy.”
“The way in which clothes are worn convey a mood, an attitude. If you go to the financial center of Rome on any given morning, you can watch this sense of easy elegance in action. It’s a fashion parade.” – Sonnet Stanfill, curator for the Victoria and Albert Museum
What is your point of view of the fashion industry in terms of current brides? Which brands or designers, according to you, have stood out?
“A few years ago, the bridal sector within the fashion industry has begun to awaken, giving room for new and unique insights of what a bride is, where the personality is not a slave to tradition. Before the fashion industry was very homogenous; brides didn’t get to show their own individual style, they used to dress as Disney princesses. Today, there are a wide variety of dresses, accessories and fashion trends for each type of woman. For example, Yolancris – bridal and eveningwear brand from Barcelona – has been one of the first to interpret this essence and present out-of- the-ordinary collections.”
Current fashion trends
“There is still a nostalgic look at the past: today, the 70’s are strong, the logo mania, sportive shoes with sophisticated looks, the trash trend and the Parisian chic and the Italian vintage. There are more and more proposals every day; today’s fashion trends cover almost all tastes because they are born in the street, in social media. The big fashion labels have been able to identify the needs of consumers.”
“The world of fashion has changed a lot over the years, new markets have emerged, which have brought about large investment from different sources. But people’s tastes have also changed. Today’s rhythms are faster and the industry has been asked to churn out ideas and collections at great speed, when invention and quality actually take a lot of time. Perhaps what we need is a return to a more authentic, human pace, and I hope to see a change in this direction in the years to come.” – Giorgio Armani.
Bridal fashion trends for 2019 advance the return of midriffs – as French designer, Rime Arodaky suggested – with elegant versions of a short top piece and a matching skirt. The jumpsuit has been one of the most recurring looks recently; the British-American designer, Savannah Miller confirmed this trend in several styles. In contemporary marriage celebrations, the bride wearing more than one dress is a trend that has come to stay.
In this case, the mini or short dress has taken the main role, has been established and well-grounded by designers Justin Alexander, Idan Cohen and Vera Wang, – designer who has imposed the use of pastel colors in bridal gowns by means of embroidery – beside the shrug that stood out in Monique Lhuillier.
Raquel adds, ”dresses with bardot shoulders or cold shoulders, the tattoo effect created with beautiful lace, asymmetrical necklines and fitted dresses known as naked dress have been the guiding thread of bridal fashion trends. Three of today’s strongest elements are long sleeves – a trend that become one of the most popular after the dress worn by Megan Markle, Duchess of Sussex – with dramatic touches, flared, or romantic a common component of the designs by Sébastien Luke, Leanne Marshall and Viktor & Rolf.”
According to your impressions of Rome, how do you define fashion aesthetics of its people and what is the biggest difference you have seen between Spain and Italy?
“Italy is a country with a great cult of sui generis beauty; in Rome they dress in a more classical way than in Milan, for example. The main difference between Spain versus Italy regarding fashion is that Spaniards dress, among other things, reflecting their personality, unlike Italians, who dress in a more homogeneous way, relying more on national fashion trends.”
“I like the racial elegance of Colombian fashion designers, their ethnic, colorful and greatly feminine fashion proposals. I have recently discovered Francesca Miranda and Isabel Henao; nevertheless, I’ve been following Maria Elena Villamil a long time ago.”
‘Where to’ in Rome
”Art gallery, boho-chic restaurant and cocktails place, Adoro Alembic in the heart of Trastevere. I like the nights at the Palazzo Damma hotel, the cafes at Canova, on Sundays at the Porta Portese’s antique market, and the picnics at Villa Pamphili.”