Diego Villalba, the designer.


Portrait Diego Villalba by Fede Cardenal 01Alfredo Villalba founded his eponymous fashion brand, ALFREDO VILLALBA, in Madrid in 1976, together with his wife Maria José Millán. Since 2007 their son, Diego Villalba, fashion designer, is the Creative Director of the Couture House and family business, a takeover that is not only generational but also creative, commercial, brand image and communication. A new vision, a dynamic approach, that is positioning ALFREDO VILLALBA as a benchmark in the competitive and demanding global field of luxury fashion.   This is his story.

The aim of the founders Alfredo Villalba in Madrid, 1976, was to recreate the Madrid Couture Houses characteristic of the 1950s. Couture fashion, made-to-measure, flagship stores, a personalized client service and designs wrapped in a luxury manufacture which defined aspects of modernity at the time, is the formula behind the local success that ALFREDO VILLALBA reaped from the beginning.

The founders, Alfredo Villalba and Maria José Millán, understood the importance and the benefits of controlling all the processes involved in creating fashion; design, production and sale. Under a single business structure they brought together a couture atelier and flagship stores established for the local market.

Rapidly ALFREDO VILLALBA stood out as a benchmark brand representing modernity and luxury for a new generation of women in Spain. In Madrid, in the year 1976, the concept of fashion prêt-à-porter was booming. ALFREDO VILLALBA sensed that there would always be a demand for luxury fashion, for personalized and exclusive, client service, that a modern and contemporary design was not in argument with qualities and details relevant to luxury. and own manufactures.   The fashion brand is built over the foundations of a concept now very much in vogue, prêt-à-couture.

Their son Diego Villalba, current Creative Director of ALFREDO VILLALBA, grew up in this ambience: luxury fabrics, patterns and toiles, seamstresses and embroiderers busily occupied in delicate and crafted tasks, beautiful models and dream dresses.   A childhood lived wrapped in fashion, from the atelier to the flagship store. Diego was late in defining his vocation as a fashion designer.

He graduated in economics at CEU, Madrid, and during his youth in the 90s, he noted that many luxury fashion brands were leaving behind out dated dress codes and searched in design and creativity for new aesthetic protocols to renew their brands, an avant-garde luxury. Diego Villalba knew at that moment that his future resided in fashion, in the family business, and defined his mission: to transform   ALFREDO VILLALBA into a benchmark global luxury fashion brand. Diego Villalba the creator and fashion designer was born.

Diego Villalba Fashion Designer Creative DirectorDiego Villalba began with the millennium his long and arduous process of training as a fashion designer. Master in Fashion at Marangoni Institute in Milan and six years of training in the Couture House and family business where, under parental guidance and direction, he gained experience in all areas of the business: design, couture, material prima, management, customer service. Six intense years, culminating in 2007 with his appointment as Creative Director of ALFREDO VILLALBA. The career of the fashion designer, Diego Villalba begins.

From the beginning the designs and the models by Diego Villalba out stand in fashion magazines and red carpets. The creative seal of the fashion designer is defined by a very specific aesthetic signature. His philosophy defines the new ideologies relevant to fashion, luxury and couture. The lifestyle of the 1980’s, music, fashion, art, the clothing of street fashion, urban tribes, streetstyle in all the versions and musical currents: from punk to rock’n’roll, pop to indie, hip-hop to rap, the history of fashion and the history of the dress, are the main sources of inspiration for Diego Villalba. A very personal creative research whose essence is based on attracting antagonistic and which ventures towards creative anarchy resulting in models of a unique beauty, a beauty that is reached by ordering an apparent aesthetic chaos.

Diego Villalba, is more than a fashion designer, a creator, he is an expert in sewing, an authentic couturier.   His experience and savoir faire is applied in all the couture processes of the collections and exclusive, bespoke, models, by ALFREDO VILLALBA. The selection of the delicate, exquisite, fabrics characteristic of Haute Couture are the starting point of the inspiration for Diego Villalba, he manipulates, he adapts adding applications, creating textures, resulting in a beautiful textile collage recreated in luxury. Fashion and models very recognizable that cast a powerful and seductive visual image far removed from minimalist codes, an approach to fashion design that breaks predetermined concepts and places luxury concepts at the forefront of vanguard trends. Jeans and a T-shirt are the usual uniform for the fashion designer Diego Villalba, the atelier of the brand his natural habitat and vital space.

From the heart of Madrid, in the barrio Salamanca, Diego Villalba designs and manufactures the seasonal collections of the Couture and Prêt-à-Couture lines by ALFREDO VILLALBA, in addition to exclusive, bespoke, designs, made in Atelier Villalba.   The process of creating a couture model begins with the selection of fabrics. The materia prima proceeds from weavers exclusively dedicated to supplying Haute Couture brands and houses in Switzerland, Italy and France. The delicate treatment of construction of the model is performed using the technique of moulage; directly above a mannequin, where motifs from other fabrics are cut and applied by hand on the base model. Subsequently details of rhinestones, metal or Swarovski crystals are added hand-stitched one by one.

Diego Villalba Fashion Designer Creative DirectorFinally, each model is thoroughly inspected, the seams are hidden and the final adjustments are made.   All the couture models and bespoke requests by Alfredo Villalba entail between 150/300 hours of work only in their sewing which is carried out entirely by expert petite mains at the Atelier of the luxury brand in the barrio Salamanca, in Madrid. Currently ALFREDO VILLALBA accounts with two flagship stores situated in the two most exclusive enclaves of luxury shopping in Spain; calle Serrano in Madrid, and Puerto Banus in Marbella.

Additionally, the fashion luxury brand is also available in exclusive boutiques and points of sale of reference in the global luxury retail market.   Diego Villalba brings to the family business new zest also in the area of ​​Communication. ALFREDO VILLALBA is a fashion brand coveted by fashion editors, stylists and celebrities that outstands in the media and always demanding fashion magazines. Covers, fashion editorials, interviews with actresses, red carpets, and the models created by fashion designer Diego Villalba for ALFREDO VILLALBA, leave no one indifferent.

Fashion designer Diego Villalba resides with his family in Madrid, he designs and creates for ALFREDO VILLALBA a the Couture and Prêt-à-Couture Collections, further to carrying out exclusive designs in Atelier Villalba, has just launched a micro collection of hand bags and slippers. Working with enthusiasm and determination together with his brother Alfredo Villalba – Global Expansion Director, to achieve his main goal: to transform ALFREDO VILLALBA into a benchmark global luxury fashion brand. An aim, a mission that already is reaping attainable success, situating the luxury fashion brand on the path towards the summit of luxury and vanguard fashion.

Madrid, August of 2015, to be continued…

In images portrait of Diego Villalba by Fede Cardenal. Madrid, April 2015.