Internationally renowned brands Camper and Loewe both have humble beginnings in Mallorca. Famous for its leather craftsmanship, the shoe- and bag-making traditions can be traced back to the 19th century when a plague of aphids destroyed vineyards, forcing locals to create a new industry. Lesser-known Balearic fashion designers still embody this spirit of innovation today, with a passion for traditional methods and respect for artisan techniques. Here is Culture Trip’s pick of the best of the island’s fashion designers to keep your eye on this (and every) season.
Mallorcan-born Rosa Esteva is revered for her high-quality, feminine, and timeless pieces. Her brand, Cortana (named after her grandmother), reflects a love for her island roots and Mediterranean homeland. Playful cuts and drapes of silk, muslin, cotton, and linen reveal flowing silhouettes which ooze an air of Balearic elegance. With an emphasis on preserving the profession of the seamstress, all garments are lovingly handmade with exquisite precision and care in small artisanal workshops. It is no wonder that Rosa’s couture bridal collections have captivated many women marrying on the island.
Pedro Monge produces shoes of modern flair with centuries-old Mallorcan craftsmanship, and is steadily securing a place on the feet of erudite gentlemen all across Europe. Entering the small shop in Palma, Monge Shoes, with its fittings of antiquated wood submerged in an aroma of buffed leather, the emphasis on quality and authenticity is immediately evident. Customers are offered a bespoke service, and the finest calf-leather brogues, soft loafers, or woven ikat espadrilles are produced on the island in the artisan workshops of Inca. Monge promises, with a personal tutorial in cleaning and polishing, that your new beloved shoes can and will last a lifetime.
As one of 20 European finalists competing for the prestigious 2016-17 International Woolmark Prize, Pablo Erroz has been carving out a name for himself with his unique and fresh interpretations of clothing classics. After graduating from the Istituto Europeo Di Design in Palma and then studying at renowned Central Saint Martin’s College in London, Pablo has a reputation for having his finger on the international fashion pulse. Blending natural textures of suede, tweed and alpaca wool, he is creating striking and contemporary wardrobes for city life which exude luxury and style.
This family-run business is renowned for its bespoke Tony Mora Apache cowboy boots which have been spotted on celebrities and fashionistas alike. Manufactured in the small town of Alaro, boot-making here is an art form. Every pair requires 100 handcrafted steps, and the soles are made strictly by the Goodyear method: stitched twice and cramped to ensure a comfortable, longer lasting and sturdy structure. Such workmanship comes at a price, however, and it is of little surprise that a top-of-the-range and customized pair of crocodile boots can reach north of €2,000.
For many years, this designer created shoes for her family’s company, before establishing her own bag label Audali in 2012. From a small studio in Inca, the designer makes leather handbags, clutches and wallets, but it is her modern take on the traditional Mallorcan straw shopping basket which has excited the Balearic blogging crowd. These popular cestas come in bright, sunny colors and are often decorated with peace signs, mirrored leather, feathers, and pompoms, thus combing recognizable handicraft with fashionable trends.
Famous for creating pieces inspired by the rich heritage of Mallorca, Isabel Guarch’s jewelry is not only beautiful but also quite unique. Jewels and stones with important historical meanings and recurring icons and symbols from Mallorcan culture are incorporated into many of the designs to create a certain Mediterranean nostalgia. Typically, the pieces use high end materials which are both elegant and timeless, however there is plenty of pretty costume jewelry on offer, too, making the collection desirable for any budget.
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