Custo Barcelona Interview | MORE IS MORE
In the early 80’s two brothers, Custo and David Dalmau, were traveling on a motorcycle across America. Interested in graphic design, and inspired by the lax attitude of southern California, they came up with the genius idea of starting a business crafting T-shirts filled with screen-prints and colorful illustrations. With designs unique and rare for the fashion industry of the time, the venture immediately became an international success. Now, Custo Barcelona encompasses everything from suits to swimwear to accessories. Always loyal to their colorful aesthetic, prints and textures, theirs is still a favorite brand among celebrities and many other loyal and devoted customers.
20 years after their debut at NYFW (New York Fashion Week), we had the honor of witnessing the presentation of Custo’s Spring-Summer 17 Collection, which he has ironically called “WAY MORE”. For this collection, which emphasizes the idea that “more is more”, Custo Dalmau has taken the brand on a big step forward. For him “More”, with a capital M, is the key concept and answer behind every possible question: more elaborate 100% hand-sewn pieces, wealthier materials, more creativity, and a more powerful and intense silhouette.
Nowadays, Custo Barcelona represents a specific lifestyle, embodying much more than an aesthetic. This is what Custo shared with us about his initial years, his collection, and himself.
- When you started this journey with your brother, were you dreaming of becoming one of the most renowned brands in the fashion industry?
No, not at all. We actually never studied fashion; I studied architecture and my brother David was an artist. But we were, and are, very passionate about what we do.
- You have a special relationship with NYC. How did that start? What does it mean to you to be part of NYFW each year?
We are from Spain. We started in the States in 1996. We decided to give a try to the US market. It was not easy, but we were handed some good opportunities that we took advantage of, and suddenly we were invited by the NYFW organizers to do a runway show. We were the first foreign designers to do that. And well, since NY, together with Milano and Paris, is one of the three iconic fashion capitals, we decided to continue. This is the 41st runway show for us in New York. We are very happy, because besides being a good platform for the US market, anything that you do here has an international projection.
- After REBORN, the Fall Winter Collection 16/17, and its tremendous success, what’s the concept behind the Spring Summer 2017 Collection that you are presenting here today, at NYFW?
We always give titles to collections that will try to describe its spirit and philosophy, and we called it WAY MORE ironically, because it is a non-minimalistic collection. We are trying to create a collection that creates value, with a lot of details that create an upstream product in comparison to what the industry offers. While the industry is full of fast fashion, we are creating a prêt-à-porter, very rich in details but transpiring harmony and balance.
- What inspires your design process?
Being creative in fashion. The reason for continuing doing this is that, in each collection, we try to be different from the rest of fashion projects in the market. The key words for us are creativity and innovation.
- Why color?
35 years ago color was something very natural for us. In those days, people used very little color in fashion. We decided to use color because we see life in color and, as you can see, we have been very faithful to our philosophy through our continued use of it.
- What values does your brand stand for?
Creativity and contemporaneity, because we are trying to develop something for today.
- What is luxury, from your point of view?
Luxury, for me, is a state of mind. A situation in which you feel a little bit better than in your reality.
- What is your biggest desire at the moment, and how do you see Custo Barcelona in 20 years? How do you project the expansion of the brand?
Our aim is to continue to develop a product that keeps our identity, while also bringing a new language every season.
- In the past you have collaborated with other companies bringing your identity to interior spaces. Is there any other project coming up? How do you interpret the relationship between fashion and architecture?
Right now we don’t have any projects other than the ones specifically related to the fashion industry. Creativity, for me, is the relationship between fashion and architecture, or any other artistic discipline.
- What’s the secret of your success? Could you describe what success means to you?
Success to me means being at peace. Being happy with myself.
- Do you believe you can be, do and have anything you want?
With will and enthusiasm, you can achieve pretty much anything. I think willpower is indeed a very strong force, and it allows you to do almost anything.
- How do you balance your personal and professional lives?
I try to keep a clear boundary. I have five kids, so I don’t bring family to work and I don’t bring work to my family because I think it’s very important to keep a separating line in order to foster harmony on both sides of it.
- Could you please share with us a personal tip to inspire our readers to follow their dreams?
Following your dreams is very important, and at the same time you have to be ready to make some sacrifices. Sometimes dreams don’t come easy, but it’s very important to succeed in making your dreams come true.
In this collection, Custo Barcelona sought to return to the richness of using multiple fabrics in every piece, combining them in harmonious ways to create exceptional garments. Dozens of different threads were used to produce highly visual fabrics that are a far cry from prints. Sequins on silk, transparencies with a shiny finish, metallic, multicolored patches and Lurex fringe are just some of the components of a collection that flood the senses.
The color palette included mixtures of rose petal and aged gold, optic white and terracotta hues, bubblegum pink and mauve –vivid colors, often mixed black and bright mixtures, that serve as the common thread throughout the collection.
For men, WAY MORE philosophy is applied in shirts with bright embroidery, skinny-cut trousers with detailing on the sides, fully embroidered or semi-transparent shirts, sequined or devore velvet T- shirts and transparent trench coats.
The bomber jackets, trench coats and suit jackets are the perfect accessory for this new athletically inspired collection in luxury fabrics.