MADRID – Sybilla is back on track.
After the sale of her namesake company and a 10-year hiatus, the Spanish designer who regained control two years ago is doing things her way, meaning customers first and service second.
“The big thing is the clients. When you walk into my stores [referring to a series of recent pop-ups in Spain and New York] you see them full of customers trying on clothes,” the designer said, adding that it’s a touchy-feely experience “and for me a nourishing one.”
“This is our takeoff season. I have new investors and a Spanish production partner which will allow me to increase the customer base and produce large-scale. We’re ready — and one of the best things about what’s happening now is how younger people have accepted me,” she said.
During Madrid’s “movida” (or creative movement) of the Eighties, Sybilla, the brand and the designer behind it, were one and the same – iconic and quirky. At the time, she was known for whimsical shaping and ultrarefined silhouettes in a subdued color palette.
“The clothes I create are usually from two different sources — my research of techniques, new shapes and volumes which results in what I call ‘fabric sculptures’ and my experience as a woman. At some point, these two aspects come together and that’s when the most interesting pieces are born.
“I want to offer what women really want and what is not out there. I believe the right clothes can make life easier; they can make women shine,” she said during an exclusive interview in her “research laboratory” fronting the Supreme Court building in downtown Madrid. She was wearing a berry-colored cashmere sweater, tweedy pants in burnt orange and trainers.
“I do woman-friendly pieces with soul and personality. My clothes are cozy and for real people; they’re wearable and dramatic at the same time with very worked-on patterns. They’re meant to make a woman look beautiful and when she walks, for example, the clothes follow her, not the other way around.”
She’s put together a new team which includes fashion veterans like Javier Gómez (Loewe production and development director for 20 years); Ainhoa García (former director of Delpozo); Nikhil Nathwani (former retail director of Carolina Herrera), and Art Luyten, the brand’s U.S. agent.
Sybilla will show in her Rue Saint Honoré showroom from Tuesday until March 10. As she prepares for this, her third ready-to-wear presentation in Paris, she ticks off the following trends for the roughly 80-piece fall/winter collection: “Color is strong this season,” she said, particularly a luminous green, yellow, purple, orange, pink, beige and black, for feather-light reversible layers with minimal seaming in combinations of felt and jersey and what she called “carved clothes,” or sculptural pieces with a 3-D effect. “And we have started a small range of leather and suede garments to be produced locally.”
“Each season we work to develop a craft. For next fall, it’s the application of gold leaf as a beautiful new detail,” the designer added.
Wholesale prices are expected to range from 300 to 1,000 euros, or $328 to $1,093 at current exchange. The brand sells through select stores in Italy and Spain, China and in Japan, where local apparel giant Itokin owns the label. The U.S. is her best market with accounts in Blake (Chicago), Weinsteins and Mameg (Los Angeles) and in New York, Yuta Powell and If, among others.