At some point in history, menswear lost its opulence and, with that, its femininity. Ruffled collars were replaced with simple crewnecks, high heels with comfortable sneakers. But Alejandro Gómez Palomo, of the breakout label Palomo Spain, is on a mission to revive this abandoned grandeur.
“I’m going back to those origins of embroidery and rich fabrics,” the designer says, “and reinterpreting them in a modern language.” Now, after three full collections, the queer London College of Fashion grad has gained a celebrity following, with Troye Sivan and Miley Cyrus fawning over his fanciful looks, and Beyoncé sporting one of his pieces in this summer’s reveal of her twins.
Palomo cites his hometown of Córdoba, in southern Spain, as a chief inspiration, recalling the carnivals, balls, weddings, and church services he attended growing up, all of which called for extravagant dress-up. His looks lean heavily on whimsy, with embellishments like delicate florals and feather fringe. The silhouettes are playful and imposing, reminiscent of 16th-century royalty.
While working in the vintage section of London’s luxurious Liberty department store, Palomo became fascinated with archival pieces. “I’d take a vintage Christian Lacroix and pair it with men’s jeans,” he says. “It’s about forgetting gender and seeing the
beauty in clothes.”
Though his subversive approach makes him a bit of an outsider in contemporary menswear, Palomo thinks his work speaks to a liberated generation of fashion hounds totally comfortable with who they are. Whether it’s sequins or skirts, he says, “There’s a really wide world to explore that we haven’t been able to until now.”
Photography: Filip and Kito
Production: Pedro Aguilar de Dios
Model: Diego López