The atelier of designer Sebastián Pons, Alexander McQueen’s right-hand man for years, exudes Mallorca everywhere. The family home of S’Alqueria Blanca, a district in the southeast of the island, is disguised from the outside as another house in the area that maintains the original walls in earth colors, exposed tiles and door —Cochera, in Castilian Spanish— made of wood that overlooks a small square. The house houses the designer’s creation space, who has chosen precisely this place to present on Saturday the new collection of his signature Muchache. The second part of the exhibition launched last year under the title Aimar Quiscú, which means to love someone, comes to give longevity to the traditional Mallorcan shirt, the Egyptian galabea and the shorts inspired by the sheets, nightgowns and tablecloths that made up the traditional wedding trousseau in Mallorca. Winks to tradition, family heritage, traditional sewing techniques and durable materials.
Talkative and outgoing, Pons remembers stories at home about his grandmother, who told him that she embroidered the trousseau that took years to complete at night, almost dark with a small oil light. Treasures that families kept for generations and that have been given to him to make garments for the new collection. Inspiration comes naturally. We are committed to sustainability and giving a second life to elements that remain reviled over time, ”he explains. The iconic garment of the collection is the Mallorcan shirt “that has almost disappeared”, despite being a versatile piece that suits all types of sizes. That is precisely one of Muchache’s signs of identity, which does not distinguish between measures or genres when creating. “Labels off, that’s fine now. Before, a boy could not wear a pink polo shirt or a girl a football shirt and nonsense like that, everything was pigeonholed. The garments are garments, Muchache’s are 50% designed, the other half is put on by whoever wears them ”, he emphasizes.
The Pons workshop is an open space that overlooks the crops in the area. The sketches hang on the walls, there are mannequins, fabrics, pencils and scissors. Work with your dog’s company Pinyol and his partner Biel Modino, who is in charge of marketing. Next to the workshop window, in a small frame, is a photo of the designer Alexander McQueen embracing two women in a field under a vine. He seems relaxed, smiling. “I miss the person, him as a friend. You were laughing, he was very happy, funny, he cared a lot when you had a problem, he was a person with a heart of gold, “he says of his mentor, whom he met in the early nineties in Central Saint Martins, the prestigious London fashion and design school to which the Mallorcan arrived at the age of 18 and with a scholarship.
The McQueen person, however, was very different from the designer, who became “quite intense” when he worked, with many emotional charges with “ups and downs”, as Pons recalls. “During the years that I worked with him, I grew a lot as a designer,” he confesses. He brought his friend McQueen home one summer to spend the holidays and went back to London in love with Mallorca. “He wanted to come on vacation and bring the whole team and his friends from England. He rented a house in the mountains near the Santueri castle, he rented it for several summers ”says his friend, who acted as a driver because the designer did not have a license. Together they toured the island, visiting beaches and towns from north to south: Alcúdia, Calvià, Valldemossa or Deià, where they sometimes recognized him. Every year they held a costume party. “He loved it, each one was dressed in a different way. The rest of the time was going to the coves, to the beaches, all very relaxed ”.
The English designer got so used to summers on the island that he ended up buying a house in the Santa Ponça area. “He called me at six in the morning and told me he was at the airport to come buy a house. It was the moment of the housing bubble and it was all very expensive. In the car I told him not to say what he could spend, because they were going to take everything out of him, ”says Pons. McQueen ended up acquiring a designer home “with a lot of marble and that was very similar to the one in London”, despite Pons’ attempts to get him to acquire a Mallorcan country estate with land to put it to his liking. The proposals fell on deaf ears because the only thing McQueen didn’t have “was time.”
That recovered time is what the Mallorcan creator appreciates, who does not long for the frenzy that surrounds the world of haute couture. “Not at all. I don’t miss the maelstrom of the fashion industry. I have been and seen it, if I had not experienced it I would long to go to Paris or New York. But I have already lived it ”. These last few years on the island, at home, have served him to value what he has now and keep what he has achieved at home because he greatly appreciates “quality of life and freedom”, which are not possible in the elite design. “In that environment you don’t feel free at all, it is a fast and slave industry. I was chained to that world, ”he says.
For the creator, the rules of the game have changed in the industry, especially with the emergence of social networks and the coronavirus pandemic, which leads the customer to be “more aware” of the garment manufacturing process and to seek “sustainability ”On the product, something that promotes Girl because the design, production and elaboration of the garments is carried out with zero waste techniques. Quite the opposite of what Pons thinks is the style in Spain, for him the main power of the call fast-fashion or fast fashion with cheap garments of little durability. “It is a booby trapper, it is trying to make fashion at a low price. And that’s a lie, “he says bluntly. In his classes as a teacher at the Barcelona School of Design, he has found that there is a quarry in the country, but few professional opportunities: “Either you stay trying to work at Zara or you go abroad. There is no other ”.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.