The Spanish bag and small leather goods brand presents a collection of sandals with which it continues to promote artisanal tradition as the only way to express exquisiteness and authenticity.
Prepared in the kitchen of one of the ten best restaurants in the world, the new collection by the Spanish brand is backed by two Michelin Stars and three Repsol Suns.
We asked Mariano García Forcada, Director and Designer of Protocolo, flat out, “doesn’t protocol stipulate that nothing else should take attention away from the bride?” “But a well-dressed groom makes a bride shine even brighter,” he responded. If there’s anyone that knows about style and distinction, it’s Mariano. As a member of the fourth generation of a family whose tradition in the textile industry dates back to 1908, he has spearheaded the internationalization of this company that focuses on providing men’s fashion for ceremonies and formal events. After the recent grand opening of their first store in Colombia, he spoke to us about trends, growth and digitalization. All of this is veiled within the context of their silver anniversary… and they steadfastly raise their glasses with all eyes set on celebrating their fiftieth! -When and why did you decide to specialize in formalwear for men? -Twenty-five years ago there were no stores that specialized exclusively in dressing grooms and groomsmen. We had a multi-brand store, Tenorio, in the city of Zaragoza. We sold so many groom’s suits there that we came up with the idea of opening the first Protocolo store, dedicated exclusively to dressing men at their milestone moments and events, including their weddings. -How are you celebrating your 25th anniversary?-We’ve programmed a series of activities that add a little something extra with regard to our Novios de Protocolo Cava, all of which fit neatly under our celebratory concept of “25 years of keeping the pace with wedding tradition.” We’ve already shown an advance of the 2017 collection at the Madrid Fashion Show and we’re getting ready to present a total look to our international clients and franchises at Barcelona Bridal Week.Plus, we’ve just opened a store in Medellín, Colombia. In Mexico we’ll be setting up commemorative exhibit of these last 25 years in the very near future. And, as a result of the experience and knowledge we’ve gained over all these years, we’re preparing a “protocol tool for knowing what to wear.” They’re tutorial videos where we explain everything from how to tie a bowtie to what sorts of events call for morning coats, tuxedos or white-tie attire. -Any digitalization plans…?-Of course. In today’s market we have to be in touch with our customers. We’re on all the social media channels and we have a blog at www.elprotocolodelsabervestir.com.We’ll begin selling accessories online before the summer. -Protocolo presents one collection a year. How many lines are in the catalog? -We have one line for formal occasions that’s made up of our full evening dress range and the different types of morning coats, that run the gamut from the most classic styles, with pinstripes, to the English version which is slightly shorter and has matching trousers. As for our tuxedo line, we offer the classic version with shawl collars, or more colorful styles that have peaked lapels, in addition to a variety that are made in velvet. Lastly, our most up-to-date line of suits includes styles that have varying lengths made of fabrics in black, hues of blue or grey, with prints and assorted silhouettes. We also offer suit ensembles that match to perfection with our range of accessories, including shirts, shoes, ties, waistcoats, ascots, cufflinks... -You’ve pivoted your approach to provide a total look for grooms and their groomsmen, but you also dress pages, ring bearers and other male members of the wedding party. -The pages are our junior grooms. We design morning coats and suits for them that match the groom’s. For other wedding party members, we have a full collection of morning coats and suits in special fabrics and designs. -How many do you produce a year?-Right now our production is at roughly 5,000 suits per collection. Add to that all of the accessories and bespoke suits. -What fabrics and materials do you work with?-Wool and silk, pure wools, mixtures of wool and viscose, wool and polyester…. Each suit and style is identified by its fabric. When we go through the samples, the first thing we look for is design, quality and lastly, price. We can state for the record that we work with the best fabric manufacturers. The shoes are always leather and patent leather. -What are the latest trends in formal attire?-Right now morning jackets have been using the same fabric for the frock coat as well as the trousers and they cover a full range of greys and blues, not just black; plus they come in different lengths and styles. Tuxedos are being made with draped and special occasion fabrics, and blazers that come in colors like blue and black are preferred. Suits are being made in skinny silhouettes with printed fabrics and contrasting colors, blue being the favorite. -Where does Protocolo have a presence? Which markets?-In the Latin American market, in Mexico, we have our flagship store on Avenida Presidente Masaryk de Colonia Polanco in Mexico City and three ‘stores within a store’ in the Salón Inglés of the Palacio de Hierro department store chain. In Colombia we’ve just opened a franchise in Medellín and we’re set to open another in Bogota before the end of the year. We also sell in Brazil through multi-brand stores. In Europe we have multi-brand points of sale in France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain, where we also have our own stores, four franchises and corner shops at El Corte Inglés.In all they amount to 62 points of sale. Our current export rate is 15% and our goal is to raise that to 40% over the next two years. - And where do you see the potential for growth?-Latin America is our main target market. And we’re currently stepping up our game in European countries like France, the Benelux region and Germany with help from our team of distribution agents. About Protocolo:Headquarters: C/Efedra 9, Naves C35 y C36. 50720, La Cartuja Baja, Zaragoza.Markets: Mexico, Colombia and Europe.Points of sale: 62.Annual production: 5,000 suits plus bespoke services and accessories.Export rate: 15%.Trade shows: Barcelona Bridal Week and Intermoda (Mexico).Website: www.protocolonovios.com
So much has been written about that first espadrille with a wedge heel created by Yves Saint Laurent in the seventies, but Castañer is now sharing the catwalk with Altuzarra and Oscar de la Renta. If certain style icons like Grace Kelly contributed to the creation of the myth, today ‘it’ girls like Jeanne Damas or Alexa Chung flaunt their Carinas and Embetadas on Instagram. That’s because nearly 100 years of history goes a long way, although what is essential remains intact. “It’s extremely important to point out that we are brand that is 100% made in Spain,” Antonio Castañer highlighted, before he began to tell us about how the company is taking on omnichannel commerce and their plans for Latin America, Miami and the Middle East. -How does one of the leading Spanish shoe brands rise up from a product as humble as the espadrille?-The first Castañer studio was founded in 1927. Today this traditional shoe with humble origins has become a genuine fashion icon. The secret to our success has been to combine craftsmanship with fashion, tradition and trends in an exclusive and unique project. Next year we’re celebrating our 90th anniversary. Constant work, the influence of diverse markets, and our collaboration with major brands have allowed us to thrive and continue to grow. -The espadrille is an iconic Castañer product, but your strategy seeks to establish the company as a shoe brand.- Castañer’s origins as a brand clearly go back to the espadrille and we were the first company to position ourselves as a fashion product. But Castañer’s calling is to be a shoe brand. In fact, we’ve been producing winter collections for the past 15 years. Our expertise goes beyond working with jute. The magic of a certain model lies in the structure, the material, the proportions … -And you’ve diversified with men’s and bridal collections, in addition to accessories. -The men’s and bridal collections are two lines where we’re applying an in-depth approach and that have major growth opportunities. With accessories we’re also expanding our current vision and we’ll be developing additional lines that are in keeping with the Castañer essence, style and ‘savoir faire’. -Are you considering launching a children’s collection to provide shoes for the whole family? -The children’s collection is also something we’ve been working on.… We’re a brand that is highly recommended from mother to daughter. We’re a staple in the wardrobes of women who love fashion, but particularly appreciate a well-made, stylish and somewhat timeless product. Whoever tries us once, comes back for seconds, in addition to recommending us, and that’s the result of providing a well-made, comfortable and chic product. -What are Castañer’s leading models?-The Carina is the star product of the women’s collection and its men’s equivalent is the Pablo. We’ve made slight changes to these models in every collection. For summer 2016 we have Carinas in suede, leather, denim, gingham and even glitter. Furthermore, we’ve designed a capsule collection of this model for Net-A-Porter. -In 2015 you reached a record turnover. What are your forecasts for 2016?-The financial year ends in July. In 2015, the company reached a turnover of more than 26 million euros, which is a 13% increase and the best results we’ve had to date. The forecasts for 2016 indicate a 10% growth rate.The results we achieved in 2015 are due mainly to enthusiastically performed work, although behind that lies Castañer’s commitment to retail and the digital world, with regard to sales as well as to marketing. -How is the online store evolving? -Our e-shop is in the top 3 of all of our stores and it’s one of our major pillars of growth, not only with regard to sales, but in building our brand’s popularity. We’re focusing a great deal of effort on our digital channels. The goal is omnichannel retailing. We currently have several projects underway in this respect. And we’ll be launching a new website in the coming weeks. -Nowadays personalization is key to the customer loyalty-building process. Are you considering any sort of customization service? -Yes, and specifically within the new website. In reality we’ve been customizing our product for years now. If a bride comes into a Castañer store and asks for a specific fabric, we’ll make it for her. -You also operate on leading platforms.-Correct, we are available on Net-A-Porter as well as Moda Operandi. -Where does Castañer have a traditional retail presence?-Castañer is currently present in Spain, France, China, Greece, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Colombia and Chile. By the end of July the company will have added another 37 Castañer points of sale. As part of our expansion strategy, our next grand openings will be in Latin America, Miami and the Middle East. About Castañer:Headquarters: C/Menuts, 0 S/N (Pol. Ind. La Farga). 17820, Banyoles. Girona.Staff: 300 employeesAnnual production: 400,000 pairsExport rate: 70%Trade shows: MICAM (Milan), Première Classe (Paris) and Pitti Uomo (Florence) Website: www.castaner.com
Irreverent style and attitude.
We went to find out what gives Seville its drawing power.
More than 470 shoe and leather goods brands presented (...)