When you debut in New York Fashion Week at only 25 years old, you know you’re onto something big. The incredible designer on our first cover of 2017 is the Barcelona-born designer Katarina Grey. Her trajectory is out of this world: she graduated from Parsons, and worked at iconic Haute Couture Houses like Giambattista Valli, Marchesa & Oscar de la Renta before taking a leap of faith and creating Katarina Grey, her very own brand, where she brings together her vision, her inspiration, her finesse and her strenght combined with the best touches of the Fashion Houses she experienced first hand.
I don’t follow trends, you know? It’s all about what comes to my mind.
I applied to Parsons when I was only 17 and I got in, but my parents didn’t allow me to start there, they said I needed to get a “real degree” first, that fashion wasn’t a real career, so if I wanted to study it I had to get a degree first; I had to keep deferring until I was done with my Business Administration Degree. The hard part of studying something I didn’t like, was postponing my actual dream.
I worked with designers like Giambattista Valli, Marchesa and Oscar de la Renta while I was still a student, and after graduating I kept working for Marchesa and Moncler; when my OPT was over, I decided to take the leap.
Working for Marchesa was incredible. They put you right in the middle of the action. On my first day, I was given an extremely expensive fabric and they told me: “Here you go, dye this manually, and if you mess it up, know that it costs this much”; I messed it up a little at first but I actually ended up doing it right!
I’ve absorbed a little from every designer I’ve worked with. From Giambattista Valli I took with me the art of couture and how to do the final touches, and the fluidity of his dresses; from Marchesa I learned about dyeing everything by hand, hand-made drapping, and from Moncler I learned to love leather and to treat it properly.
My first runway was in the Mercedes Benz – New York Fashion Week 2012. I was so nervous I spent the night prior to the event crying non-stop, and for a whole month I had been having nightmares where nobody would attend my show. But everything turned out great, people really enjoyed it. I realized that all the details I noticed, things that were wrong, people wouldn’t see them, and the critics were fantastic.
I was only 25 years old and there was so much pressure!
The world of fashion is very competitive, but to me, that’s neither a motivation nor an obstacle on the way, I simply ignore it. I stay in my lane, I don’t try to compete against anyone, and I don’t take it as if others were competing against me. I just do what I believe I must do.
“What I’d like is to be able to dress a woman in every moment and occasion, since she wakes up in the morning until she arrives to the coolest party in the evening.”
“In all my collections there is drape. I work on the mannequin so I love drapping and that’s why it’s present in all my collections. My clothes are all hand-made pieces whose patterns can’t be replicated.”
I use delicate fabrics to create outfits for strong women… I love contrasts.
“If you look carefully, I like mixing delicate materials such as the finest silk chiffon sewn directly to exotic leather such as stingray, which is an extremely difficult process… and that’s what I love!”
Recently I’ve created a special dress for Beyoncé (for her shows) which isn’t out yet. I’ve seen photos from the fitting and it’s quite shocking… it looks spectacular on her; in Spain, I love dressing Macarena Gómez, she wears many of my creations and we’ve actually ended up becoming good friends.
“The type of women who wear Katarina Grey are strong, independent… the type of women who don’t need a man, they don’t need anyone… women who have the power to inspire.”
I love transparencies, they’re a recurrent element in my work, but the kind of transparencies that aren’t vulgar, the ones that are even elegant.
“Actually, I always wear black pants, a tee and a sweater. The exact opposite of my brand!”
Blanche, my bridal collection, has what we call a “Street-Style Provence “. It’s the first collection. It’s like a “non-bridal bride”, but always delicate and romantic. It’s very different from the rest of my collection, but at the end, you have to do something just a little bit commercial. so that people can see themselves wearing it.
If I could give myself an advice when I started, it would be: don’t start! (laughs) There are many, many stones on the road! But, kidding aside, the real advice I would give myself if I could would be: before you start, take a better look at the business side of fashion, instead of jumping straight to the artistic part where everything is so beautiful… Create a business plan that makes sense! It’s not as easy and pretty as I initially thought it would be!
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