The Opulent Purist
The successful Spanish fashion designer Juanjo Oliva talks about his artistry and his new film project – and about his first encounter with the Titan ONE . We visited Silhouette’s ambassador in his studio in Madrid to show him the new Titan ONE.
After just returning from NY a few hours ago, he’s already back in his studio. Beautiful evening gowns from his new collection have been draped on mannequins. Soon the models will arrive for the fitting. Final details need to be discussed with his team, since major customers are expected to arrive from South Africa, the Near East and Asia next week.
Juanjo Oliva is one of the most famous and successful Spanish fashion designers in the world. In the past 14 years his fashion label Juanjo Oliva has been known for the stunning fusion of purism and extravagance. Women love him for designing fashions that give them a look that is both avant-garde and seductive. His garments are not only adored because they are spectacular but also because they are very wearable.
“I capture the moment and translate it into fashion“
“I capture the present moment and translate it into fashion,” the 43-year-old explains his creative process. A present that is inspired by the past and the future. The details of his fascinating designs, such as incorporating graphical retro elements and innovative fabrics and other materials, reflect this intriguing concept and take fashion and wearing comfort to another level and into a new age.
The man who brings a touch of magic to women is sporting a classic look today. He is wearing a cream-colored crew neck sweater and gray flannel slacks – and Silhouette glasses, the Titan Minimal Art. The Icon. A statement with purpose. To him eyewear is the final and essential touch in accentuating your style. “The perfect eyewear reflects and highlights your personality in a harmonious way,” Oliva points out.
His studio is located in Madrid’s Trafalgar neighborhood, which is currently very popular with the creatives. We visited him there to show him the new Titan ONE. He immediately notices that the design parallels his own work in many ways, “The Titan One is the masterful result of the fusion of apparent opposites. The refined design of the glasses adds to a sophisticated look, and they are extremely comfortable, light and pleasant to wear throughout the day and on any
“The Titan ONE is the masterful result of the fusion of opposites“
Oliva considers details that are fascinating at a second glance to be very important in his work and in the design of the Titan ONE. “A good designer has to come up with something new all the time and show that not quite everything has been envisioned or invented yet.” In his opinion, the Titan ONE, made of a single piece of high-tech titanium, is exceptionally innovative, even revolutionary. “It’s amazing to see how something ordinary can be radically transformed into something new and this stunning. The Titan ONE is a new vision in eyewear design. It is pure design, future-oriented and minimalist,” the fashion designer comments. The purist design language runs through the Titan ONE as well as through Juanjo Oliva’s collections, to which he has recently added handbags. His studio too is purist in design and serves as a showroom, workshop and apartment. Particularly impressive are the clean and uncluttered lines in the salon, where an eye-catching black shelving system with just two golden vases and another one providing a splash of color gives you a taste of the designer’s style. But then, in juxtaposition to this is a small statue of a saint. There it is again – a small detail, an apparent break in style, which, however, ultimately gives rise to a fascinating style.
In the corner of the apartment are two large Rimowa suitcases that haven’t been unpacked yet. He just got back from New York, the place where he had also attended college and started his career. Before heading back to Madrid, Oliva made a detour to the Art Basel exhibition in Miami Beach. Traveling, sometimes for weeks on end, is an integral part of his professional life, especially since 2012, when he started working together with El Corte Ingles, the largest department store chain in Spain, and his collection “Juanjo Oliva for Elogy” became available in 20 stores in Spain.
The Titan ONE was the center of everyone’s attention at the famous fashion designer’s studio in Madrid. Juanjo Oliva is one of the first to have an opportunity to wear the new ONE. In his opinion, the Titan ONE is a new vision in eyewear design
“Local identity and spirit instead of international randomness”
“It’s extremely interesting to get international feedback,” he says. He gets some of his inspiration when commuting back and forth between Madrid, Paris, Dubai and the USA. Despite his international success, however, he believes it is absolutely essential to preserve the Spanish identity and spirit in his work to a certain extent. Juanjo Oliva feels that in an increasingly globalized world it is important to appreciate and embrace inherent attributes, such as joie de vivre, pride, vitality and refinement, to avoid the appearance of lacking diversity and being interchangeable.
In an effort to support the traditional crafts, Oliva, a native of Madrid, has the majority of his collections made in Spain, mainly in Madrid. This is also something he has in common with Silhouette: Tailor-made craft at the highest level is the foundation of his work. And, just as Silhouette eyewear – light, beautiful and comfortable to wear – becomes one with the expressive contours of its wearer’s face, so do Juanjo Oliva’s beautiful designs become one with a woman’s body and accentuate style and personality. One of the most famous models has arrived at the studio for the fitting: the Spanish supermodel Nieves Alvarez. She is his muse, consultant and close friend. With her as the leading actress, Oliva dared to do something he has never done before. He made the nine-minute film “XX.” It is a tribute to women’s beauty and the elegant, feminine magic of Juanjo Oliva’s creations. “A collection is of course very important,” he says, “but how the collection is introduced and presented is just as important.” He sees films as a medium with increasing potential, especially since they can be circulated on social networks.
Juanjo Oliva continually strives for creative innovation, and that shows in his exquisite fashions. Standing still is just not in his nature. He finds it advantageous that his work and life blend together. His recipe for happiness is simple, “Sometimes it’s enough to just decide that you’re going to have a great day for it to turn out to be a truly unique and wonderful one.”
Juanjo Oliva is one of the most famous Spanish fashion designers in the world. And he is also Silhouette’s ambassador. Oliva works closely together with the luxury department store chain El Corte Inglés, which offers his collections in 20 stores in Spain. His designer label Juanjo Oliva is represented at the world’s major fashion shows. Juanjo Oliva lives and works in Madrid.www.juanjooliva.com
PHOTOGRAPHY: Regina Recht