The last two collections by Antonio Burillo and Juan Carlos Fernández, creators of The 2nd Skin Co., have turned this fashion label into a favorite of both movie stars and devotees of boundless femininity. They work from their Madrid atelier on one-of-a-kind formal and evening dresses while planning their prêt-à-porter line. The designers devote a great deal of time and creativity to recapturing vintage silhouettes, hand painting and embroidering flowers and other prints, and planing all the details of their elegant and modern looks. “We like to create clothes that are considered a current luxury, something for today. We think of ourselves as renewed classics for the 21st century “, says designer Antonio Burillo.
Childhood memories and classic films are the inspiration for their sophisticated garments. “Luxury is a lifestyle and it can have a different meaning for each person. For some, it is driving a Bentley through the streets of Seville or Barcelona, and for others it is to be in a deserted town with no Internet connection. For us, luxury is based on satisfaction, exclusivity and the quality of our creations,” explains Fernández, co-owner of the trademark.
Burillo and Fernández met while working for the designer Angel Schlesser, and soon became friends. “A short time after we met, we decided to join forces and spirits to create our brand,” recalls Fernández. In 2006, they founded The 2nd Skin. Although “the beginnings were hard,” they soon found loyal customers who helped them to “create a brand image,” says the designer.
Movie stars of very different styles, like Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Morrison and Bella Thorne are now the ambassadors of their creations, designed for “a woman who is an idealist but has both feet on the ground,” says Burillo. “We are inspired by a confident woman, hardworking and with a strong personality.”
Burillo says he loves actress Tilda Swinton. She would perfectly embody his designs for the 2014 fall-winter season, summarized in the Red Candy collection presented during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Madrid. This line features garments and accessories that draw from Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz, and 1950s silhouettes reinvented to evoke the taste of the fresh cherries and caramel apples from our childhood. Read more here about fashion.
“We used fabrics like Mikado, duchess satin, and silk organza, which give volumes that look light, but powerful,” explains Burillo. A color palette of “camel, ice and nude complement the central element—red–in a delicate and harmonious way,” he concludes.
For their latest collection, Evening at Kaufmann’s, also presented in Madrid and other international catwalks, they are inspired by the 1970s stills from society photographer Slim Aarons of a party in Palm Springs, California, bringing to mind one of those summer parties in which Miles Davis, Liz Taylor or Aretha Franklin could have met to have a drink around the large pool listening to and singing unforgettable tunes. The guests at this imaginary soiree become movie stars thanks to halter necks, puffed sleeves and back décolleté designed for every moment of the day. “Probably the shirt dresses and kaftans best represent our spirit. We have also reinterpreted our classic cuts in short dresses with high collars or lacing on the back,” says Fernández about the new collection.
Accessories are one of the areas where these young designers would like to grow as a business, “We did a line of handbags in the previous collection and designed the shoes for our fashion shows. It is somewhat complicated, especially finding the right provider,” says Fernández. ”Launching a good range of accessories that meets people´s expectations of quality and design is very time-consuming, but it is certainly something we have in mind for the near future.”
The 2nd Skin Co. is part of a new generation of Spanish designers who are reimagining haute couture, faithful to the legacy of the great Spaniards like Cristóbal Balenciaga and Manuel Pertegaz, but without losing sight of women’s varied roles in today’s society. Fernández and Burillo highlight the work of young designers like Arnaud Maillard and Alvaro Castejón of Alvarno, Juanjo Oliva, Juan Vidal, or designer Beatriz de la Cámara.
The dream of Antonio Burillo and Juan Carlos Fernández continues to flourish. The 2nd Skin Co. operates in 24 countries and is partnering with one of the world’s premier showrooms and fashion agencies Elisa Gaito in Milan. In the US, The 2nd Skin Co. has three outlets, in New York, Los Angeles and Miami Curve boutiques. ■