San Andrès Milano
After graduating in fashion and tailoring in his native Mexico, 35-year-old stellar craftsman Andrès Caballero went on to win scholarships to the Instituto Marangoni in Milan and the Paris American Academy. After that, he simply rose, like cream, to the top. Since opening his atelier in 2006, his San Andrès Milano label has gained enormous respect from those in the know for being the last word in “Made In Italy” cut and quality. Caballero takes inspiration from his home country’s rich and colorful cultural heritage, and describes himself as “a maniac perfectionist.”
This season he did something entirely unexpected—he ignored Milan Fashion Week’s runway, and instead treated the global fashion cognoscenti to a curious art installation in an atmospheric warehouse-style space. He launched his Fall/Winter 2017/18 collection on surreal sculptural mannequins fashioned from wire, accompanied by a bespoke electronic soundscape. “The idea was inspired by my visits to museums and my love of contemporary art. I enjoy experimenting with new ways of expressing and communicating fashion—ways that are more conceptual and visual.”
The sumptuous collection is an Aladdin’s cave of saturated, sparkling colors, where fuchsia collides with sky blue and pastel pink. Bright, floral jacquard meets mohair fur inserts in A-line dresses and bell-sleeved jackets. Everything shimmers with intricate crystal embellishments drawn from a palette reminiscent of the warmth and vitality of Mexico—Bluette, Mexican Pink, Mandarin Gold, Silver, Stone Gray and Deep Black.
Andrès Caballero likes to start each piece with a hand-drawn sketch, and then creates a tailored fit by draping fabric on the mannequin using the time-honored moulage technique. “I may not work this way forever,” he says. “We use many new techniques, especially for graphic patterns and color variations. In the near future we may well need to industrialize the products due to the increase in demand and the volume required for my collections.”
For his Fall/Winter 2017/18 themes he consciously drew on Mexico’s history and heritage via the ancient Toltec traditions—the group of fierce warrior artisans and superb craftsmen who dominated central Mexico from 900 to 1150 AD. “The main concept for this collection was craftsmanship, artisanal intelligence, strong warriors, and womanly beauty… As well as the Earth Mother instinct.”
Ultimately, says Andrès Caballero, he designs for “career women with strong intellects, who recognize and appreciate quality, making them feel elegant and feminine, but also comfortable.” With his signature romantic, contemporary expression of his Mexican roots and top-class craftsmanship, he’ll never be short of devotees with strong intellects and the ability to appreciate quality, that’s for certain…
Photography: Rick Elmos