Carla Canadell: from studying fashion in Barcelona to dressing Beyoncé

Dreams are there to be fulfilled and even more so if you decide to study fashion design in Spain to be able to work in haute couture.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
15 August 2023 Tuesday 10:32
9 Reads
Carla Canadell: from studying fashion in Barcelona to dressing Beyoncé

Dreams are there to be fulfilled and even more so if you decide to study fashion design in Spain to be able to work in haute couture. That is why the main design schools in our country encourage their students to learn new languages ​​and look for internships abroad, where it is possible that, with a lot of effort and commitment, they will gain access to a maison and not stagnate in the fast fashion circuit.

This has been demonstrated, and by far, by Carla Canadell (Girona, 1996), who is currently working for the Dutch Iris Van Herpen in the capital of the Netherlands. Nicknamed The Enchantress by the great Suzy Menkes, editor of Vogue International, due to her unique abilities, Van Herpen seems to possess an exquisite and enviable formula for fusing craftsmanship and technological innovation.

Trained in classical ballet as a child and graduated in fashion at Arts Arnhem in Amsterdam, she won a scholarship in the studio of Alexander McQueen, from whom she inherited her passion for theatricality, organic forms and the Renaissance.

For all these reasons, it was to be expected that on a tour like the Renaissance of the great Queen B, in which her stylist wanted to incorporate designers from all the countries where the tour stops, an exclusive dress would be requested from Van Herpen , an extremely dreamlike design that, precisely, has been classified as the most impressive of the entire tour to date by the main fashion headlines around the world. And who was sewing part of it and even embroidered the singer's name on the label? Carla Canadell.

“Through the halls of the workshop we heard that we were going to create a dress for Beyoncé, but we did not know for what occasion, if it was a red carpet, a concert or a charity event. Shortly after I arrived here in January, we were given the drawing of the dress in question and it was easier to guess its purpose”, the designer tells us exclusively from Amsterdam.

Trained at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Barcelona, ​​the creative director of Canadell's thesis was the renowned designer José Castro, who died last June. After finishing her studies in Barcelona, ​​modeling at the 080 Barcelona Fashion and doing an internship at Cortana, she decided to continue her training at a prestigious French language center, since she also wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to learn another language. She ultimately decided to go to Brussels and pursue a master's degree at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, a multidisciplinary center known for going beyond teaching fashion and embracing synergy with other fields of design.

“I was hesitating between Paris and Brussels, but in the end the Belgian capital seemed more welcoming to me and the school caught my attention from the beginning because its leitmotiv is to show first-hand not only textile techniques, but also the History of Art and the possibilities of design in its different aspects. It was an incredible experience”, explains this young woman from Girona that in Van Herpen's atelier she is working with materials that she never thought could be applied to fashion, such as silicone and resin.

Fabric research, modeling on a mannequin, craftsmanship to the millimeter and 3D printing are some of the many tasks at Canadell in Amsterdam. “I am delighted working here. They give us a lot of freedom. Obviously we have guidelines that we must follow, but if you find a way to achieve the same result in another way, they listen to you. Iris is also the designer I admire the most, I am fascinated by what she has achieved as a woman in this world of men, also taking into account that she does not come from a family linked to fashion, like me”, Canadell remarks.

“I still remember when in 2nd year of Baccalaureate I wondered what to study and I had many doubts. I didn't want more theory, I wanted something more creative and it was looking at my Instagram when I realized that I was following a lot of designers and brands, so I thought, if that's what catches my attention the most, maybe I should try my luck in this one. world. And from there, studying and researching, the illusion that I have felt for some years to be able to have my own brand or work in a Haute Couture firm in the future was born. I don't close where ”, he adds.

Canadell has not had it easy. Upon returning to Barcelona after her studies in Belgium and participating in a collective exhibition at the Espace Vangerborght gallery in Brussels, the pandemic arrived and she was locked up at home thinking over and over again about how to continue with her dream. She was asking for an internship job in all the couture houses that she liked and, finally, last January they accepted her candidacy in Iris Van Herpen.

In two weeks she moved to Amsterdam and has hardly rested since then, since in addition to the production of Beyoncé's dress she was working on the firm's collection for Paris Fashion Week, which took place last June and where he was finalizing details in the backstage.

Under the name of Architectonics, Van Herpen presented a series of organic silhouettes inspired by the concept of aquatic architecture: dresses with fluid cuts and a multitude of peplums, capes and hand-embroidered details on 3D printing that seek to represent hybrid life under the sun. sea ​​facing the challenges of climate change. In the designer's words: “For most people, fashion is just clothes. But in reality it is much more than that. Fashion is a highly personal way of showing the identity of each person, their culture, their values, also at a collective level. For me it is crucial to show all this from the deepest perspective”.

Its multidimensional silhouettes, in which the movement of the texture is the epicenter of the pattern, manage to create the illusion of ethereal garments that have seduced personalities from the world of cinema and entertainment such as Cate Blanchett, Lady Gaga, Scarlett Johansson, Björk and Camilla. hair, among others. This ability to embrace the designer's individuality forcefully and fearlessly has drawn back Beyoncé, who has worn her clothes before.

This November, in addition, a retrospective of the work of Iris Van Herpen, who is only 39 years old, will open at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. It will include 100 looks among which many bet will be the dress in which Carla Canadell has collaborated.

Beyoncé's musical tour ends on October 10 in Kansas, United States. A tour that has taken her all over the world and in which her songs are accompanied by a futuristic aesthetic intermingled with the legacy of queer culture and postmodern black music. The staging, with voguing dancers and robots accompanying the singer's choreography, is another of the great attractions for the audience.

The wardrobe has also been key in Harry Styles' tour and in the one that Taylor Swift is carrying out these months. Both, like Beyoncé, have found a crucial ally in fashion and haute couture houses to turn their gigs into viral videos and images. What's more, in the case of Swift, her most spectacular looks from video clips and world tours are being exhibited until September at the Museum of Art and Design in London.

For the Renaissance tour, Beyoncé has had other signatures at the summit, such as Alexander McQueen, who signs a custom bodysuit with silver bugle beads and crystal embroidery sewn by hand on a black mesh; Loewe, under the direction of J.W.Anderson, with a 3D-printed bra in a silver chrome finish and another look consisting of a satin bodysuit with Swarovski details and matching cargo pants with lurex crystals; Balmain, with an outfit covered in pearls; and other houses with a long history such as Moncler, Courrèges and Paco Rabanne. Likewise, there are several independent designers to whom the queen of pop has wanted to give prominence, such as the Londoner David Koma or the Japanese firm Anrealage.

Fashion and music, a pairing that has been in perfect harmony for more than half a century.