The young designer duo Victor Cardona Marquès, 28, and Israel Frutos Bonache, 26, founded their spanish brand for ready-to-wear in Barcelona in 2008. Both learned their craft in Antwerp with Bruno Peters and Christian Wijnants and worked at textile laboratories of I+D for brands as Louis Vuitton, Levis, Burberry, Desigual and Mango.
Their newest collection, which they presented in Paris for the first time, follows a “classic minimalist” concept. We met the two designers in front of the Galery Sultana in the Parisian Marais.
Why, after two collections, you did choose to present for the first time in Paris?
Victor Cardona: Paris is simply the capital of fashion… Israel Bonache : …and so everyone is coming here ! V.C. : Maybe New York is becoming more and more important now, but Paris is closer to Barcelona. It’s «only » eleven hours driving…since we had do bring our collection here by ourselves. But Paris is the center of it all. Even Balenciaga came here to work. And for us as Spaniards he is our hero!
What made you become a fashion designer?
V.C.: Already as a little boy I imagined what I wanted to see in the streets, because I liked clothes a lot. At 15 years old I started to draw men’s and woman’s collections…So I decided to go in this direction. I.B.: When I was 18 years old we met in school and we immediately found us, we were always sitting together designing imaginary collections. And since then, seven years later, we’re working together… V.C.: We have a different style, a different mentality but we can really work very good together.
How do you conceive your collections, especially this one made out of pleats?
V.C.: We always take a tailoring concept out of fashion which is about constructing clothes and we start to work around this idea. This time, for our third collection, which we call “Lesson 3” we concentrated on the terme “Bellows”: We have a lot of folds, but they are not pleats like Miyake. We do them in the style of an accordion or an old camera, like our shoes with accordion heels. In fact, we were interested in side folds, which are two parallel fabric folds used to increase depth, to create volume and generate movement. Our pleats are more or less deconstructed.
Your taste for deconstructing and shaping a minimalistic silhouette has it been influenced by your work in Antwerpen with Belgium designers as Bruno Peters or Christian Wijnants?
V.C.: No, we already knew before that we like minimalism. In Antwerp we worked many months for Christian Wijnants as interns and we learned a lot about fashion but as well about the business side of small companies. Then we started to produce “patrons” for Trois Quarts, A.F. Vandevorst, Walter van Beirendonck and Dirk van Saene.
Do you consider your collection as avant garde with a surrealistic touch?
V.C. : No, for me it’s more classical, it’s about tailoring suits with a different concept. Surrealism is very important for us, because we like Magritte, Bunuel or Dali. In a sense we work as surrealists in taking a given concept and then turning it in to something different. We try to change the perspective on things.
What kind of art is inspiring you?
V.C.: Music! We are obsessed with Creedence Clearwater Revival and we need to play one of their songs in order to get started!
How does the Cardona Bonache works as a company?
I.B.: We are three: Two fashion designers and one graphic designer who is working on the prints. And then we collaborate with a lot of friends, mostly stylists and art directors.
Is Barcelona a creative and supportive place to start a career as a fashion designer?
V.C.: It’s difficult to start as a young fashion designer in Spain, but in Barcelona we are really at home. We have all our friends and our producers there, which helps us to survive with our small structure. But in Spain our work is not fully understood. So if we want to show it to the world we need to carry it to Paris!