Q: Tell me about yourself.
María: I’m 23 years old. I’m from the south of Spain, not from Madrid. I’m only in Madrid because I’m working here. I studied fashion design and art in Valencia, Spain. Then, I moved to Madrid because I had a lot of work here. I started working as a stylist and some small fashion design things. So, I moved here three years ago. I’m working now as a fashion design and stylist. I also have my own brand, Les Fleurs. Right now, it’s only vintage, but we’re developing a collection. I’m the designer for that. I’ve also been working with other fashion brands, but this is the first time with my own collection. So, I’m very excited.
Q: In terms of your own style, how did that develop? What made you so interested in fashion?
María: I started in fashion when I was young— very, very young. My grandma was a seamstress. So, at home I always had tons of fabrics and clothes. My grandma made all of my clothes when I was young. I was like, “Okay, I like this fabric or this fabric.” So, it was at home when I started getting interested in fashion. But, I was always looking for art by myself. I was inspired by art and fashion. When I was 18, I said to my mom, “I want to do fashion design,” and she said, “Okay.”
Q: What kind of art were you inspired by?
María: I started with impressionism. I love the colors— the warm colors blended with blues and greens. I love this kind of palette because it says a lot, but it’s not too strong. With impressionism, there aren’t hard lines, but you can see things within the painting. You can interpret many things from a single painting. Then, I started to think surrealism was cool, so I started with abstract art.
Q: So, you do art as well?
María: Yeah, I paint but I’m not good so I don’t like to show my work. But, I love to do it. I’m always doing art because I do the drafts for fashion design.
Q: How has your style developed as you’ve grown?
María: When I was about 10 years old, I would just watch my grandma. I’d ask her to add a flower or little thing to a piece of clothing. When I was 12, I started to choose more things for my clothes. Then, at 16, it was a different period. I was in a rocker/emo girl phase. I had two years like that because of the music I was listening to. Then, after that I continued with my fashion. I started to become really interested in fashion clothes. My mom and grandma have a huge collection of clothes. Especially, my grandma— she loves fashion. I still have her clothes. They’re my favorite ones.
Q: You did a campaign for the brand, Malababa. I love it because their products are so color-oriented and geometric, and I feel like those qualities came through so strongly in your photos for them. How did you come up with the concept for the campaign?
María: When I saw Malababa’s work, I was in love with the colors and how they work with leather— even leather earrings. I love this because you can mix the shoes with the earrings. I loved the colors though because they made me think of cubism and abstract art. So, I started doing a mood board to create the color palette. I’ve always been really interested in color because I’m always creating color harmonies in my mind. I feel like I have a color photographic memory. I remember colors always— maybe not the person in the colors, but the colors always. Then, I used my friend’s studio and called a furniture store to say, “I need all your pink furniture, all your yellow furniture, and all your furniture.”
Q: Aside from building the environment for the shoot, how did you design the poses of the models? They’re in shapes that match those of the furniture, and it feels so dynamic.
María: I saw the furniture, and I said, “Okay, I want the girl to do the same.” And the girl was like, “What?” And I was like, “Yeah yeah, do this.” *demonstrates pose*
Q: You also did a video project with Dior. You’re in the video, but were you also involved behind the camera?
María: I did the creative directing for this video, too. It’s really different, but I love it. They called me saying they needed a video for the perfume. They said, “You have to think about what love is to you.” I’m very passionate and intense when it comes to love. I was always interested in the art piece by René Margitte, “The Lovers.” They are kissing with fabric over their head. I used this as a reference then built around that. I love to do video versus photo because you can mix more things. This video was a mix of everything.
Q: Right, video can be so different than photo. Did you have to think about the audio too?
María: Yes, you have to think about it because the audio and the video are happening at the same time. For this video, there were times where I didn’t want audio or didn’t want music. So, my friends suggested putting a poem in the background instead, and we did that.
Q: Now shifting focus to your store, Les Fleurs, let’s talk about that collection and its relationship to the concept of vintage. I feel that vintage naturally falls under the idea of nostalgia and a longing for a past time or era. What are your thoughts on that, or how do you relate to nostalgia?
María: You can call me nostalgia because I’m always reading old books, watching old films, wearing old clothes, and searching for old furniture. I don’t know if I’m from this age but maybe from the nineteenth century. Les Fleurs started with nostalgia because I grew up travelling to France with my family because my dad’s family is from France. I always go to Brocantes [a French vintage market] with my mom. So, the brand started with this concept because the brand started with my mom. We are the team along with one of my best friends, Inma. I’m very happy because people like the project. It’s about nostalgia always.
Q: What are you looking for when you’re selecting vintage clothes? Does it have to be a certain amount of years old or from a certain time period?
María: No, I’m not looking for a certain time period. I’m looking for, first, the quality because it’s very different to buy a polyester shirt or a cotton shirt or a linen shirt. Then, I’m also always looking for color, too. After that, I look for the design with the right aesthetic. I’m always looking for nineteenth century things because they’re very soft and feminine, but also a bit masculine at the same time because often times they’re big clothes. I love to wear big shirts and big jackets. I think it’s the power of being a girl and a man at the same time— to be comfortable with your clothes. When I see a bag that you can’t find anywhere else, my heart burns. It’s so exciting. I’m like a vintage hunter.
Q: What is your go-to outfit or your favorite outfit to wear?
María: I love to wear black suit pants and a big suit jacket with shoulder pads and gold earrings and maybe platform sandals. I like to be comfortable at the same time, so always big stuff.