What if fashion designers were all size zero? Then there’d be room for the likes of Ashish, Henry Holland and 26 year old Esteban Cortazar all on one runway, as the latter, a prodigal yet jaw-droppingly polite designer from Bogota, fits in your palm as comfortably as a wallet.
Three weeks ago I received an invitation to Colombiamoda 2010, the most significant fashion event in the whole of South America. It’s where a gazillion deals, opportunities and business foundations are laid each year between fashion brands and traders and is the show and tell hotspot for designers new and old.
In Medellin, the man of the moment is graceful Cortazar whose latest collaboration with local retailer Exito is on everyone’s lips. Put into context, Cortazar is responsible for a new line comparable to that of George at ASDA, but let that not give you too much of an idea for the clothes are as modern and sassy as Topshop . With items priced from $12 to $200 it’s no wonder his catwalk show had more press in attendance than Lindsey Lohan’s court hearing. Did I mention that Esteban walked out on his old company to go solo when they brought L-LO in as new creative director? GO ESTEBAN! Did I forget to mention that he was 12 when his designs first received recognition and 13 when his stuff first got showcased? GO GO ESTEBAN!
I bumped into Hannah Gaby, the face of Cortazar’s latest collection – who could miss her – and sat down for a little chat.
KB: Hannah, you walk in shoes that I could never, especially on a runway. How on earth do you do it?
HG: I don’t know, I try to balance it so I feel comfortable in my outfit and I feel the music. When I party I never wear heels, so that’s not why.
KB: How tall are you?
HG: 5ft 10 and a half!
KB: Have you always been tall?
HG: Actually until I was 17 I wasn’t. I had a sudden growth spurt and that’s when I got into modelling. I’m nearly 23 now.
KB: You and Esteban look like buddies in all the magazines, is that how it is?
HG: He’s amazing, hes such a great person and so good to everyone he works with. He’s so talented and my age so it’s so much fun to work with him.
KB: Did he just pick you from the bunch?
Michael [Hannah’s agent]: Antony Veer who was doing the casting asked specifically for Hannah. It worked from there really!
HG: I was so happy because I’d never been to Colombia and it’s an amazing location to visit. Plus, my boyfriend was allowed to come with me the first time we shot the campaign.
KB: Have you been to London? What do you think of it?
HG: I’ve been to London many times. It’s amazing and the weather’s similar to my country [Belgium]. I like the energy in London – it’s so european. I’ve been to london fashion week loads but it’s not the best time to experience London. I think I have a job there in a few weeks. [Michael nods].
KB: Do you and Michael get on well? You seem to.
HG: He’s my neighbour too, he lives around the corner from me. It’s just professional. [laughs].
Michael: To be honest, asa an agent you need to keep things very professional. At the end of the day you’re relied on for so much and for a model to really like the people they work with, having that friendship there sometimes is really essential. You’re not going to have that with everybody but it’s nice to be able to enjoy something with someone you love.
KB: …especially because you have to leave your family. Does that bother you ever?
HG: I’m 22 now. It’s not such a big deal. In the very beginning it was a little bit but I’m a strong girl I can handle my dirty dishes and washing.
I’ll be keeping a close watch on Esteban Cortazar and if you’d like to see what all the fuss is about go check out his website http://www.estebancortazar.com/ and the new line for Exito which I saw modelled at Colombiamoda 2010.
Here I am with lovely Esteban who after a week of interview and paparazzi overload managed to laugh at a crap joke I made at 9am. Interview coming soon …