As much as I fancy the display windows and the impressive shop design of some high street fashion brands I usually prefer concept to mono brand stores. There is just so much more to discover in well curated shops like Suivi or Paula’s Room. But it’s a different story if a retail store bears the signature of the designer herself, like the story of Cortana.
The Cortana store in Palma really is a show-room. Imagine a stage for dresses draped like costumes of ballet dancers performing on two floors. A basement and a mezzanine in minimalistic design, situated in ancient whitewashed walls. Actually, the clothes hang on metal poles from the ceiling – straight elegant silhouettes of translucent materials in beautiful colors, neatly arrayed. Their clear cuts, selected materials, colors and patterns remind me of pieces of art.
That comes as no surprise: Rosa Esteva studied art history and fashion design in Barcelona before she returned to Palma to open her store. First she took Mallorca, followed by the peninsula with stores in Barcelona and Madrid, now she takes Hollywood. Rosa’s fashion graces red carpets of royal palaces and movie theaters.
Her clothes are solely made from natural materials: silk, cotton, linen and wool, frequently organic. Some pieces feature exclusive patterns – Rosa’s own watercolors that were printed onto silk. While the fabrics come from France and Italy, the collections are produced in small ateliers near Barcelona. Cortana dresses are precious, costly yes, but they are also timeless and of exceptional quality so you can wear them forever. Like my friend Cristina Lozano just explained: wearing a piece of fashion many times is a great contribution to a more sustainable lifestyle.
There is an exception, though, Cortana dresses made for one day, only: wedding gowns. Rosa Esteva had designed the first one for herself before she made them a regular part of her fashion line. And who wouldn’t agree to her leitmotiv: “The most important thing in a dress is the woman who wears it.”