Take a journey with us to South Beach, Miami, where the sun shines bright and anything is possible. Presenting the new collaboration from Desigual and designer Esteban Cortázar: Cada día es para siempre, a colourful, sunny series featuring both the photography of Andy Sweet and art from Cortazar’s father, Valentino Cortázar. Schön! sat with both Esteban Cortázar and Desigual Chief Marketing Officer Guillem Gallego for a conversation about the new collaboration and so much more.
Hello Esteban! So nice to meet. Why did you call this campaign “Cada día es para siempre”?
“Cada dia es para siempre” is a phrase my dad has said ever since I can remember, and it’s also written in a lot of his paintings. To me, it means to never forget those experiences and memories that make up our life story, and it reminds us to live each day to the fullest and honour our history and what makes us who we are. I thought it was a perfect quote for a collection that is inspired by the past, designed for today and wearable forever.
You featured some of your father’s art in this collection. What about his art made you know it was perfect for this collection?
The collection is inspired by my childhood growing up on South Beach in the 90s when I lived with my dad above the legendary News Cafe. He had one of the first artist studios on Ocean Drive at the time and developed many styles including “El Beso” in black, white and red strokes. So it was a perfect fit for the collection to develop this print with him, as it is an intrinsic part of the story.
This piece also features photography from Andy Sweet. Can you tell us more about your personal connection to his work?
I have been obsessed with Andy’s work since I was a child when I first started to see his photographs while living in Miami. He captured that magical light and essense of the beach and all the amazing retirees who were moving here in the 60s and 70s, way before the golden era of the 90s. I thought the mix between Andy’s work and my fathers was a perfect combination to celebrate the magic of South Beach.
If you had to define the ethos or spirit of the collection, how would you do it?
All about optimism, love, spontaneity and freedom.
What’s a South Beach experience from your youth that you loved, that our readers can still experience today?
I always say my last meal on earth would be the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant, which can still be experienced today, and a beautiful beach day on South Beach is always my favourite.
How do collaborations like this series with Desigual keep you inspired?
Collaborations are a great way to learn from other people, other experiences and visions, and when they match, magic can happen. I think that’s what happened here.
What are you most looking forward to for a post-pandemic world?
Dancing with lots of people — to hug and to kiss.
Turning to Guillem Gallego, Chief Marketing Officer of Desigual. Very nice to meet you. Introduce us to the label’s collaboration with Esteban Cortázar. What about his work made you know it was perfect for a Desigual collaboration?
The relationship with Esteban began about a year and a half ago. We met when he joined the community of artists and influencers we are associated with, and we instantly connected with each other. We were intrigued by his joyful and optimistic approach to life, his energy, his personality and his designs. We were captivated by his relationship with Miami — a city we have also embraced and the place where we presented our 2020 collections as part of Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 — and we quickly realised that the relationship could go one step further. The result is this magnificent collection which we are now presenting and which we are both very proud of.
If you had to describe the ethos or spirit of the collection, how would you do so?
It is a collection that is inspired by Esteban’s childhood, which saw him grow up surrounded by artists and an eclectic cast of characters in Miami’s South Beach. With it, we aim to deliver good humour, Latin charisma and a casual chic that is welcoming to everyone. The collaboration with Esteban Cortázar represents our passion for diversity, colour, joy and art. This combination of elements creates an inescapable affection between Esteban and Desigual. We work as a brand that supports a variety of talent and alongside Esteban we are presenting a collection of seventeen garments designed to rekindle the zest for life.
This collection is the combination of two prints: El Beso, by Valentino Cortázar, Esteban’s father and one of his influences; and the photographic work of Andy Sweet and the images he shot in South Beach in the seventies.
What are some of the pieces that you would say best represent this collection?
The most iconic piece in this collection is the slip dress featuring the El Beso print, which is the work of artist Valentino Cortázar, Esteban’s father and his biggest inspiration alongside his mother. Valentino’s love for colour, women, life and the joy of living is the unifying theme of his creations, and Esteban decided to work with him on a piece that showcases one of the most prevalent motifs of his work.
The collection also pays homage to legendary photographer Andy Sweet. We have a patchwork of his pictures taken in South Beach in the seventies, before the frenzy and craziness of the nineties, when retirees, who were the area’s true pioneers, came from across the world with their eccentric looks to enjoy the Florida sun. A highlight among the items featuring the Andy Sweet print is the total denim look, a very Desigual style that harks back to the brand’s origins. Desigual was created in 1984, in Barcelona, and the brand’s first piece was a denim jacket made from offcuts of vintage jeans. In 2017 we reissued this piece, naming it the Iconic Jacket.
What does a major label like Desigual seek in a collaborator — and collaborations more generally?
For Desigual, the most important thing is to work with artists and designers who share our values and purpose. We love collaborating with people who, like us, want to convey joy, optimism, energy and a desire to live life to the fullest. Since its inception, Desigual has been known for its unique and distinctive designs that ensure those who wear them stand out. That is what we strive for. We love learning from our collaborators, stepping out of our comfort zone and experiencing new things. This collaborative work teaches us a lot and we believe it brings innovation and freshness to our collection.
After years like 2020 and 2021, how does a brand like Desigual prepare for the (nearly, hopefully) post-pandemic world?
We are working on a key project for September, but we can’t divulge any details just yet. We hope to be able to release some information soon and that Schön! will also be able to participate in that process.
What can we expect next from Desigual?
Regarding product, we will absolutely be continuing to promote capsule collections and collaborations. This formula is something we began to focus more on a couple of years ago. Of course, we have been working with Monsieur Christian Lacroix for 10 years now, but the collaboration strategy and the deliberate search for partners to help us forge this path is a more recent development. So far, we have worked with the likes of artist Miranda Makaroff, Spanish designer María Escoté, Spanish brands such as Victoria and Ecoalf, and now with Esteban Cortázar. We are particularly excited about this collection and hope people will like it as much as we do. We also have strategic projects linked to digital innovation and sustainability in the pipeline.