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Couture Fashion Shows in a 16th Century Palace – Madrid Has It All

Couture Fashion Shows in a 16th Century Palace – Madrid Has It All

Welcome to The Director’s Cut, an interactive column featuring fashion, beauty and career advice from RGNN Director and Founder, @isabelevabohrer.

In a world dominated by fast fashion, “artesanía de excelencia,” or “craftsmanship of excellence,” is hard to come by. Not at Atelier Couture. Founded in 2015, Atelier Couture set out to fill the need for a platform for high fashion designers from all over Spain to showcase their collections.

Before the start of the runway shows | Photo credit:

Now in its 11th edition, this season Atelier Couture brought together a program of fourteen runway shows, eighteen collections and three exhibitions. 100% made in Spain, including the design and the production. A fact that, even in the luxury market in which companies such as Loro Piana just this week have been outed to rely on “unpaid on farmers in Peru [to produce $9,000 sweaters],” as BOF reports, is easier said than done.

A vertical garden as the photocall – love it! | Video credit:

The runway shows hadn’t even started, and everyone was already in awe. Why? The location. Atelier Couture celebrated its 11th edition at the Palacio de Santoña, a 16th century palace in the heart of Madrid on Calle Huertas. From the outside, it appears inconspicuous; a grey stone façade, one of many buildings on the same street. Enter and a majestic staircase leads you up to the opulent main salons, but don’t forget to look up, the frescos on the ceilings are more than impressive. Today, the Palacio de Santoña is home to the Cámara de Comercio de Madrid (Madrid Chamber of Commerce), and occasionally houses exclusive events such as Atelier Couture.

The ceilings at the Santoña Palace in Madrid | Photo credit:
Another one for the ceilings… | Photo credit:

At first sight, many of the catwalk looks were white, – bridal fashion is at the core of Atelier Couture, – but numerous designers also showed glamorous, colorful designs for guests, not only for weddings but exclusive events and ceremonies in general. The location is a classic, while avant-garde would be a better term to describe the designs showcased. Oswaldo Machin, for example, is well-known for designing for the modern woman; “powerful, rebellious and elegant,” to use his words.

Oswaldo Machin has been designing for “powerful, rebellious and elegant women” since 2012 | Video credit:

Tweed suit embellishment details at Oswaldo Machin | Photo credits:

But designs for women weren’t the only ones at Atelier Couture; throughout the 2-day runway shows, the designers showcased a diverse selection also for men, as well as genderless options.

The designers stemmed from all parts of Spain and equally varied was the inspiration behind their collections. If you have ever traveled throughout Spain, you will know how one region differs from the next, be it in landscape, food, language and more. Contrast Galicia with Andalusia, for example, and you will know what I am talking about. And that’s not even touching on the Balearic and Canary islands.

The perfect two-piece for a beach wedding, wait until you see the back! Design by Oswaldo Machin, based in Lanzarote | Photo credit:
Here it is! Design by Oswaldo Machin | Photo credit:

The local origins of the different designers were clearly evident catalyst behind their couture creations. Susana Hidalgo’s looks, for example, were replete with the quintessential ruffles so ever-present in Andalusian fashion; her main studio is on Calle Larios, one of the most notorious streets in Málaga. But that’s not to say the inspiration stops in Spain.

The Andalusian origins are clearly evident in the designs of Susana Hidalgo Alta Costura | Video credit:

Flowers, capes and coats at Susana Hidalgo Alta Costura | Photo credits:

Diazar Atelier, from La Palma, for example, titled its collection “Ámitys,” referring to Ámitys of Media, King Nebuchadnezzar II’s wife, to whom he dedicated the construction of the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Babylon vibes at Diazar Atelier | Video credit:
Embellished one-shoulder dress at Diazar Atelier | Photo credit:

All in all, it was a magical window display of the finest fashion creations in Spain, complemented by a seamless organization by the Atelier Couture platform (which cannot always be said about fashion weeks; if you have not read up on why “New York Fashion Week Needs a Mom,” read this article in Vogue Business…). The months and months of hard work and preparation that go into each of the hand-crafted pieces has paid off, and we look forward to the next edition.

All smiles for couture | Photo credit:
On the way out, look at the hallway floors 😍 | Video credit:

Thank you, Atelier Couture, for inviting us.

Questions or comments? Follow me on IG @isabelevabohrer or TikTok and say hi! See you soon!

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