These days, a certain cynical set may roll their eyes at the thought of another model-turned-fashion designer, but for Vanesa Lorenzo, the relationship between her two careers offers up a unique point of view, one which she has developed to full advantage.
As a blonde Spaniard and successful model at 5’7”, Lorenzo defies several old clichés. She’s been photographed for both Vogue and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and she studied fashion design at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Madrid before launching her namesake label earlier this year. Lorenzo still continues modeling to pay for it all—but refuses to model her own collection—and enjoys the fresh perspective the role of designer allows.
Growing up near the water in Barcelona, wearing the clothes her grandmother sewed, Lorenzo has loved the feel of fresh cotton between her fingers for as long as she can remember. She started modeling at fifteen, and moved to Paris after finishing high school. She paused her career as a model five years ago to attend university, but her education in aesthetics had begun long before. “I’ve always been interested in other aspects [of fashion] besides modeling,” Lorenzo says. “I loved to see how something was made, the art direction, the photography. I was curious about the teamwork behind it all.”
She recalls noticing new fabrics and fibers at shoots and fittings. “I remember thinking, Wow, this is not something I’m used to,” Lorenzo says of wearing fine cashmeres and felted wools. She watched the stylists closely as they pinned the clothes she modeled to edit the shape into the proper fit and feel for their vision, she explains. For Lorenzo, these experiences developed unconsciously into a startlingly advanced understanding of design, cut, and construction, one that didn’t reveal itself until university. She remembers being in pattern class, recognizing instinctively that a particular pair of sleeves just had to be shorter, without being able to explain why.
For her thesis collection, Lorenzo began to develop a concept she calls “A Woman Is Many Women,” and brought it to life when she launched her label in February. She believes that women have many colors and aren’t defined by a specific style. “I’m interested in the woman more than the clothes, in the identity and personality, the different characters that one woman can be. That’s how I see clothes, how I dress myself, how I see women in the street.” Rather than chasing trends or limiting the line to a particular look, be it minimalist or feminine or so on, Lorenzo dreams only of designing collections of timeless pieces in beautiful materials. She wants to create items that become part of a wardrobe. Her Winter 2012 wool trench provides a perfect example. It’s a clean, slightly oversized, buttonless, belted coat of lightweight wool in black with fine details like double seams. “It’s the coat that you always go back to because it’s a fantastic Italian wool that you know is going to be perfect,” she says.
With her clothes currently available at Pez in Madrid and Magnolia Antic in Barcelona, Lorenzo will soon add e-commerce to her website for the coming collection, and hopes to sell in New York soon. Even as she grows, Lorenzo values control and direct contact with the people around her. “One of the most beautiful things in designing is sharing,” she says. Finding the perfect fabric for a particular piece seems far less exciting alone, and her small team works well together. “I delegate tasks, or else it would be impossible, but I still love when they ask me something like, ‘Should we do the seam here at three millimeters or five?’” she says, finding these small moments the most fulfilling. “I say, ‘No, no. Let’s do three, I think it’s nicer.’”
For more information, please visit VanesaLorenzo.com.
Styling by Zara Zachrisson. Makeup by Junko Kioka at Joe Management. Hair by Charlie Taylor at Walter Schupfer. Model: Katlin Aas at Marilyn. Set design by Bryn Bowen at The Magnet Agency.