Esteban Cortazar celebrates Colombian tradition and talent at Colette

It was a year ago that designer Esteban Cortazar found out that in 2017 France would be celebrating a year of Colombia. The invitation was intended to reinforce the bilateral relationships between the countries through artistic and cultural initiatives, as was done previously between Vietnam and Korea. 

The designer Esteban Cortazar, photographed by Jaime Rubiano

“In that moment I knew I had to do something to celebrate my country and the Colombian design community… and bring them to a context that would show them in a new light,” the designed said on a flight to Cartagena. As such, the alliance with Colette, the famed Parisian concept store where he has shown his collections for the past two years, was inevitable. And listening to Cortazar’s proposal, Sarah Andelman, the store’s founder and creative director, accepted without hesitation.

It follows that from July 10 to 22, Esteban Cortazar will present at Colette a curated selection of Colombian products that will include everything from artisan crafts to art books, typical Colombian sweets, and accessories. Likewise, during the first week the store’s windows will recreate the aesthetic of the “tiendita” found in Colombian towns, with materials brought over expressly for the occasion. Locals will also be able to get a taste of the country’s flavors thanks to a menu created by Colombian chef Carlos Peñarredonda of the Parisian restaurant Candelaria. 

One of the pieces from the Esteban Cortazar x Colette collection - Colette

Additionally, the project will include a collection of around 15 pieces from Esteban Cortazar in collaboration with the brand SevenSeven, as was the case with the presentation of his first foray into sportswear with the “Made in Colombia” line. Among the most emblematic elements presented in the project will be a cloth bag decorated with illustrations by the designer’s father, the artist Valentino Cortazar; a limited edition book on the famed Colombian artist Fernando Botero published by Assouline; accessories handmade by the indigenous communities Wayuu and Kuna; the décor, which will include chairs by industrial designer Ramón Laserna; pendants by Mercedes Salazar and Casa Chique, and the musical selection of singer J Balvin. Additionally, Cortazar has invited artists who reside in Paris, such as the jewelry designer Yaz Bukey and the brand We Dare Paris to reinterpret their creations with Colombian inspirations.  

In a time in which fast fashion reigns and the “see now, buy now” model seems to dictate the fashion calendar, Esteban Cortazar takes a pause to savor the taste of tradition, of the artisanship and “savoir-faire” of his compatriots. As such, what could appear to be an ephemeral presentation will attempt to go farther. “The beauty of the project is the spirit of the pop-up, full of alternatives and possibilities. It allows us to create an atemporal concept which can travel, opening in new markets and showing in other countries,” commented Cortazar, confirming that he’s already worked on the idea due to the enormous interest Japan has taken in the project. “It’s about products that have always been there and simply needed another space to show them in a new light,” he concluded. 

“What started out as something small has become the biggest project of my career,” Esteban Cortazar said, overflowing with the anticipation of the opportunity of working with brands which he believes in and supports, promoting tourism with the help of the government agency Procolombia, and at the same time collaborating with Colette. “Colombia isn’t just crafts and coffee,” concluded the designer, defending the evolution of his country and the effervescent mode fashion has taken for the past few years. It will be enough to get close to Colette to prove that statement. 


 

Translated by Emily Jensen

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