Meet Leandro Cano - Grounded Futurist
One of Spain’s meteorically rising stars, Leandro Cano has been honored with multiple awards including Who’s On Next Vogue 2017, and lauded by Suzy Menkes and Alber Elbaz. His designs have been frequently spotted on Lady Gaga and other notable celebrities.
What's your name(s)?
Where are you from?
Ventas del Carrizal, Spain.
Describe your signature design style in five words.
Spanish, artisanal, contemporary, voluminous, punto (a woolen fabric).
What's your biggest source of inspiration?
My inspiration comes from different places. One of the biggest is my hometown, Ventas del Carrizal, in Jaén, southern Spain. My town is well known for its olive trees, whitewashed white houses, and the expansive and colorful fields. I'm also greatly inspired by the women around me, singers, artists, family, and of course, the great masters of fashion.
Do you think true innovation in fashion is still possible?
This occupies my mind sometimes. The great virtuosos of fashion seem to have already invented everything, but on the other hand, I believe that new generations still have a lot to say. Innovative fabrics, manufacturing technology... these provide openings for new and unexplored territory.
What role does the commercial aspect play for you? Does it limit your creativity?
Unfortunately, yes. If we don't sell, we can't live, practically speaking. Because of this, I don't always get to design what I want.
What other art forms inspire your collections?
Sacred art, like that of Goya or Sorolla, as well as sculptors like Chillida. Music is another art form that inspires my collections - flamenco has always been present in my life.
Do you prefer to follow or subvert trends?
If I had to follow trends I wouldn't be in fashion. I try to live oblivious to trends. I do what comes naturally from my heart, no matter what the color or silhouette of the season is. I value my creativity over any trend.
Do you thrive off of spontaneity or careful planning?
It depends. I am a naturally spontaneous person, so that spills into my first design iterations and sketches, but when finalizing a collection, I have to start thinking carefully about the justification behind every aspect.
Are you a romantic person?
Jaja... I guess so. It takes a certain element of romance to be in fashion in the first place!
Do you prioritize aesthetics or functionality?
This is an ongoing point of contention between me and my team! Personally, aesthetics are most fundamental, but for those who deal heavily with the commercial aspects, functionality is a little more important. Neither is objectively right, they're just two sides of the same coin.
How do you think the industry is going to change as automation takes over?
Certain processes will become fully automatic, but because of that, people will value the authenticity of the more manual aspects, as responsible consumption becomes more and more important.
Which fashion designer do you have the most respect for?
It's impossible to choose just one, but several immortalized favorites would be Cristobal Balenciaga or Viktor & Rolf.
Are your designs connected with or inspired by your heritage?
My heritage forms the DNA of my designs. I am physically and emotionally connected to my past and to my country. This is reflected in every collection I make.
Did you undergo a formal design education?
Yes, I actually studied design at the fashion school in Seville!
Do you think collaborations between companies and designers are cash plays or real attempts at innovation?
I think it might depend on the type of collaboration. From my experience, it is impossible to strike a perfect synergy with corporations on joint projects.
What first made you passionate about fashion?
I grew up surrounded by women who instilled in me the beauty of good clothing. This was the first thing that attracted me to the world of fashion.
Once you’ve mastered a certain style, is it difficult to continue evolving it?
You have to try to improve yourself with every new collection. The moment you feel like you're in your comfort zone, it's a sign that you have to move on to something else. That's why fashion is so difficult - the evolution has to be continuous.
If you had to invent a new color, what would it look like and what would you call it?
A combination of olive green with the blue of the sky. She would be called Carmen, like my grandmother.
If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
I'd go to the moon, to see planet earth from another perspective.
What is your favorite film?
It's too hard to pick just one. The work of Pedro Almodovar is close to my heart and reminds me of my youth. I also love the film Titanic.
Do you have any rituals when starting a new design?
I go back to my hometown, lock myself up, and let myself go.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world on a new collection, who would it be?
That's a tough question! Perhaps Rei Kawakubo.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
The ability to be invisible!
Check out Leandro Cano's new collections here