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the work of numerous designers including Villalba

Posted Mar 15 2013 6:57am
Spanish businesses also lack experience with merchandising techniques that increase sales. Many don't know how to balance a collection, for example. Instead of including a set number of slacks, dresses, separates and evening clothes in a variety of sizes that would suit the largest number of customers ,sheath bridal gown ,  they often simply make what they like. As a result, despite substantial government aid in promoting the fashion industry and sponsoring seasonal presentations in Madrid and Barcelona, most Spanish designers are still not major players in world fashion. "Spain has enormous promise," says Kalman Ruttenstein, senior vice president of Bloomingdale's. "But so far, the promise is better than the reality." 

Fledgling industry: In a way, it all makes sense. Spain's fashion industry is only about 10 years old. For the 36 years of the Franco dictatorship and during the immediate post-fascist period, factories provided clothes, not fashion. (The great Spanish designer Cristobal Balenciaga had to emigrate to Paris to forge his reputation.) The country's largely conservative mass-market clothing was distributed mostly within Spain .Japanese school uniforms .  The wealthy went to a few couture designers or had French designs copied by private dressmakers. In the early 1980s, after the advent of democracy, all that began to change. As in other fields--film, art, literature--a creative vanguard has emerged. 

The most famous of the newcomers is Sybilla, a delicate, reclusive 27-year-old design innovator from Madrid whose bohemian clothes are gaining followers in fashion capitals around the world. Some of her sheath dresses are decorated with elaborate cutouts, or elastic lattice work. Her clothes are feminine but not overtly sexy; hemlines often drop unfashionably below the knee. An eggplant-hued wool dress is mid-calf length, almost monastic in its simplicity. Some of Sybilla's dresses are so austere they remind you of something Julie Andrews might have worn in "The Sound of Music," right after she left the convent. 

Needless to say, their appeal is limited to a small coterie. But Sybilla's fans follow her with the passion of true believers. They find something in her clothes that transforms the designs from drab to dramatic. Maybe it's the cut. "When people say my clothes don't look like others, I think they're saying they have something to do with Spain," Sybilla says.


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