Agatha Ruiz de la Prada began her career in the world of design at the age of 20. First as an assistant in Madrid in the studio of Pepe Rubio fashion designer. And then, in a 49 m2 studio independently. She organized tea afternoons where she showed small collections, everything she drew by hand. Recognizes that at first it was very difficult to sell. “I liked selling. That is important. You have to like to sell. I moved in a very small circle, my cousins, my neighbors, the girls in my school. I tried to sell them my clothes. In that moment I appeared a lot in the press, but everyone said `Ágatha is crazy ‘. They said so much that at some point I thought it could be true”.
A fun-filled beginning
The Madrid movement was a countercultural movement that emerged during the first years of the transition from post-Franco Spain and that lasted until the mid-eighties. It had an innovative, liberating and modern character, which knew how to break with the traditional. And there was Ágatha. She was the youngest of all, the only girl and also the only one who knew the Contemporary Art museum. Thanks to the influence of his father she obtained a pictorial education, who knew all the museums, the galleries and the studios of the artists.
“I had two important things that completely marked my life. The launch of my first perfume (year 1992). At that time a designer dreamed of having a perfume. It was an obsession. If you had a perfume you had triumphed. And then, an exhibition that I made of crockery, the most beautiful I have ever made in my life. I did it in an art gallery, in Juana de Aizpuru”, Ágatha remember it with a smile drawn on her face.
El Corte Inglés, Paris and New York
Following a headline in a newspaper where the designer expressed her desire to sell their products in El Corte Inglés, for her brand was a before and after. She entered the great surfaces with her perfumes and then with the rest of her products. Remember, for example, some notebooks that she made of those that were sold very many. And also remember that the first year they sold seven hundred thousand units. Everything was explosive and on the rise. One of her dreams had already been fulfilled.
Then there would be another dream: Paris and New York, which were not long in coming. Agatha Ruiz de la Prada opened a store in Paris, Milan and later New York where she rented a loft above the store.
What are the next steps of your brand?
“Nobody has any idea what’s going to happen. We are in a great whirlwind. No one has an idea of what is happening in fashion. Before, the way was, for example, to make some suits for a rich lady, they paid for them and that’s how it worked. Now nobody has an idea of what works.
The fashion world of an era was haute couture. But haute couture died, since today a suit of these is worth between three hundred thousand and five hundred thousand euros, who is going to spend that money? Then the Prêt-à-porter that is also very expensive. And later the low cost. For example, a Prêt-à-porter suit is worth five thousand euros and something similar is given to you by Zara for fifty euros “.
What it does ensure is that it will continue to have fun as it has done so far. Playing and without looking at the clock.
For the designer the stores are a real madness. She maintains that she is going to turn them into something very funny. She take a tour of three flagship stores that have closed their doors or are to be done in the coming months. Vinçon, Barcelona’s historic store founded in 1941 in a Catalan modernism building that closed in 2015. Paris, its main fashion jewel, Colette, will close in December this year. And in Milan, Corso Como, will also close its doors. And Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada has not been left behind.
In March 2011, after 30 years dedicated to the world of fashion, the designer opened the Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada Foundation. A large archive of the artistic, cultural and intellectual work of the designer. It is a collection of more than 3,000 dresses, 700 drawings, 300 posters and innumerable ‘agathized’ objects – from dishwashers to surfboards, dolls or motorcycle helmets – are one of the largest collections of a contemporary fashion designer. And through the foundation, participates in the project “We Wear Culture” of Google Arts & Culture, a cultural platform at the edge of the vanguard of digital possibilities.
The designer says that “People look for the roots, look for a brand to have history.
We are in the midst of a whirlwind in which the fashion industry is changing completely.