Spanish brand Yolancris makes Haute Couture debut in Paris
Yolanda Pérez's eyes welled up with tears as she received an ovation from the audience gathered at the Hôtel Le Marois - France Amériques, a stone's throw away from the Champs Elysées. After five years during which the brand has presented 12 ready-to-wear collections in the French capital, Yolancris hosted its first runway show during Paris' prestigious Haute Couture Week on Wednesday, 23 January. A trial by fire which the label looks to have pulled off.
The road to Haute Couture Week has been a long one. After six months of applications to become a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and secure its place on the official runway calendar of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, the label founded in Barcelona in 2005 fell at the final hurdle, ending up in second place behind Balmain. It wasn't until 14 December 2018 that Yolancris' managers decided that they would put together a presentation all the same, the idea being to showcase the brand's work and then try their luck again the next time applications open in March. As Pérez commented backstage, "showing in Paris is a strong bet for improving the positioning of the brand."
Entitled "Opera Prima", the collection paid homage to Yolancris' hometown of Barcelona: from the colours of the Palau de la Música to the almost architectural forms inspired by the city's iconic facades, all of which was strung together by references to the Catalan capital's emblematic trencadís mosaics. Silk, tulle, plumetis and velvet were combined with jewels, sequins, patchwork-like pieces and even origami flowers in organza to create an aesthetic which was at times Victorian but which never lost sight of a more contemporary pop style. This was most evident in the jumpsuits and dresses that were either transparent or nude with golden beadwork, not to mention the nod to national poetry incorporated through quotations from Federico García Lorca printed on one of the dresses. Special mention must go to the headpieces, which were produced by Sevillian brand Tolentino, also known for its collaborations with Palomo Spain, while shoes were the responsibility of Ana Marttin, another Spanish brand. This all came together to make a collection that more than won over the show's audience, which included model Inés Sastre, acting as the presentation's patron.
"The Yolancris woman is very sensitive, but sometimes she's a self-assured woman who stands her ground. In all of these looks, I want there to be a very feminine presence," commented the brand's co-founder backstage after the presentation, pointing out that while the embroidered golden dress which closed the show was the outfit which required the most time to put together, her favourite piece was a much simpler pleated white number. Passionate about couture, Yolanda Péres went on to explain, "I've always preferred making party dresses and haute couture pieces to bridal gowns." Currently the brand's production is equally split between bridal and couture, a segment "which has driven a lot of growth for us recently, with the United Arab Emirates, China and Singapore being our biggest markets."
Launched in Barcelona in 2005, Yolancris is led by two sisters who grew up absorbing the savoir faire of their mother, who was the production manager of two large bridal companies. Only one year after its foundation, the brand took the plunge into the international market thanks to the Collezioni La Sposa boutique in Brescia, Italy, a major reference in the bridal sector, and it was in 2008 that it presented its first bridal show during Barcelona's Gaudí runway shows. The opening of the the brand's first international flagship in São Paulo with Casamarela Noivas and its first runway show at Paris Fashion Week were a turning point for Yolancris, which went on to be stocked at iconic NYC bridal store Kleinfeld. Having been the first Spanish brand to present at the New York Bridal Market in 2016, Yolancris opened its first store in Barcelona last year, setting up shop at number 508 of the city's Avinguda Diagonal.
Looking to the future, the brand, which has already dressed celebrities such as Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Spanish singer Rosalía and the Kardashian sisters, will return to Paris for its ready-to-wear presentation, and will also be heading to Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week. Furthermore, Yolancris has promised to resubmit its application to become a member of the exclusive Parisian Haute Couture club this coming March. The last time a Spanish designer made the cut was in 2008, when Josep Font was invited to present his Haute Couture collection by the Chambre Syndicale. But with all their solid work and effort, it looks like Yolancris could yet make it there too.
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