Face to Face with Isabel Goiri Basaldúa
by Susannah Grant
“Haute Couture is not what it was……nowadays it´s so much better” beams Isabel Goiri Basaldúa, the third generation Creative Director of Casa Basaldúa who talks to us about her innovative plans to keep the family-owned fashion house at the forefront of design in Spain.
Casa Basaldúa has been a glittering reference for elegant Haute Couture in Madrid for three generations, how has the House evolved since your grandparents founded it in 1956?
Well, both the generations before me were very much fashion visionaries in their own way. My grandmother, Luisa de la Quintana would travel frequently to Paris to source cutting-edge fabrics and techniques that were hitherto unknown here in Madrid. Whilst my mother, Chus Basaldúa, put Casa Basaldúa firmly on the haute couture bridal gown map, introducing colour into wedding designs for the first time. Having literally grown up in the atelier I took over the creative helm in 2011 and since then we have chartered a course that encompasses a prêt-à-porter collection and even a jeans´ line alongside our bespoke haute couture wedding dresses.
What sets Casa Basaldúa apart from other Haute Couture designers?
Certainly the ability to really interpret a woman from the inside out because when you really understand the core of that woman it comes through in the clothes you design for her. There are many other fashion houses that design wonderful clothes but they don’t focus as much on the woman who wears them as we do. To the extent that there have been many occasions when we’ve come to know our clients better than she does.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Absolutely everywhere and anywhere. For example, the metro is a great mecca for fashion ideas as you see so much diversity in people, ages and looks.
Why the return to designing a fashion line alongside the bridal collection?
Well, we wanted to reach more women with pieces she can have fun with. This year’s prêt-à-porter collection crosses over seamlessly from day to evening and it’s very versatile with giant poppers and interchangeable straps.Dressing up in the evening seems to be having a bit of a revival these days.
Tells us about the launch of your new techno-creative fashion school, La Tecnocreativa in Madrid this Autumn
Yes, we’re very excited as for years we’ve seen the decline of many of the old dressmaking skills that were once part of our heritage in Spain. We intend to revive these crafts such as traditional patternmaking, embroidery and lacemaking. Our courses are Basaldúa-branded and they will be very functional and practical. Ironically, many fashion students these days don’t know how to put together a meaningful portfolio that really does them justice.
Does technology play an important role in Casa Basaldúa?
Absolutely, I love the combination of the both the physical and digital practice of designing. Technology and innovation also play a key role in our courses such as how to put together digital moodboards, using 3D and virtual reality in fashion design.
What would you do if you weren’t a fashion designer?
I’d love to be a potter….practising the ancient Japanese art of Raku. I did a course one summer and fell in love with the technique.
Who are your favourite iconic fashion designers?
Well they run the full spectrum of Gandhi at one end who actually wove his own clothes to Steve MacQueen at the other!
How does Spanish Haute Couture differ from the Italian or the French?
I think that creativity and cutting-edge style is in our blood yet we don’t shout about it. The Italians are certainly the best marketeers as well as the French to a lesser extent. However, the Spanish are much more reserved about promoting our products. We need to nurture the Haute Couture legacy that we have, hence the need for a technical fashion school that champions our heritage.
What’s your secret Madrid?
Probably having dinner in Rasputin. Both my husband and I studied Russian and this is a much-loved haunt of ours.
Casa Basaldúa, Calle Serrano 8. Madrid Tel 913 08 11 26. www.basaldua.es