Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
El Corte Inglés, the biggest luxury department store in Europe, has just recently celebrated 75 years in business. It began as a small tailor shop in Madrid in 1940, and grew to more than 80 stores in Spain. In the seventies, international brands like Burberry and Ralph Lauren were represented at El Corte Inglés for the first time in the country, alongside major Spanish brands like Juanjo Oliva, Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, Suarez, and Loewe. Its flagship on Castellana Street in Madrid is also home to an art gallery, a flower shop, a fine-dining and shopping floor, and a wine cave.
Last November, in response to the growing market for menswear, El Corte Inglés opened Serrano 52 MAN, a seven-floor store in Madrid devoted to men’s fashion and accessories—also home to one of the hippest dining experiences in the city, StreetXO. Whitewall spoke with Magaly Yus, the brand’s Director of Communications and Fashion, about supporting local artists, young fashion talent, and more.
WHITEWALL: This marks the 75th anniversary for El Corte Inglés. What have been some of the key changes for the luxury department store to celebrate the occasion?
MAGALY YUS: El Corte Inglés recently debuted a 200-square-foot, appointment-only VIP space at our flagship location on Castellana Street in Madrid. We continue to experiment with new and different ways to offer our clientele with the best possible experience, whether that be special access to designers or first looks at their new collections. The VIP space at Castellana is just the beginning of that, as we have plans to roll out more VIP spaces at our other locations in the coming years.
WW: For the 75th anniversary, you curated a selection of 75 works with local artists, for 75 days on view at the Madrid flagship. Can you tell us about El Corte Ingles’s other interactions with artists?
MY: This was a great way to celebrate our collaboration with local renowned artists in a unique exhibition for 75 days. This is the result of our constant support to national artists. At Espacio de las Artes we are constantly curating their works, with temporary exhibitions. Artists such as Miró, Tàpies, Canogar, Arroyo, Gordillo, Úrculo, Saura, Carlos Franco, and Matta were all present in our 75th anniversary show.
WW: In your mind, what sets the Madrid flagship apart from other locations?
MY: Our exclusive Spanish designers do as well or better than more well-known brands. Our clientele comes to El Corte Inglés because of the diversity within our fashion collections. Of course, we have high-end name brands and contemporary collections that are sold globally, but we try to put an equal emphasis on our Spanish designers. With over 94 freestanding stores worldwide, a spot on the El Corte Inglés floor is an amazing opportunity for designers to grow exponentially at the commercial level.
WW: You have long supported young Spanish fashion designers, in addition to established Spanish brands. Why has that been important for the brand?
MY: We believe in young talent and are committed to fostering relationships with up-and-coming designers. The national fashion shows, together with artists’ and designers’ competitions in the design schools and platforms for young designers, gives our team the opportunity to evaluate the creative vision and potential growth of each designer that hits the runway. Not only do we look for luxury, but we want to see that the designer can evolve their collections over time.
WW: Which young designers can you find within the stores?
MY: Spanish designers have used El Corte Inglés as a platform to gain exposure within the fashion community. Some of those brands include Adriana Iglesias, Carmela Rosso, Jorge Vázquez, Juanjo Oliva, and more. In the case of Juanjo Oliva, he as a designer has gone from creating a capsule collection named “Juanjo Oliva for Elogy” to designing an exclusive collection for El Corte Inglés. These partnerships with El Corte Inglés give designers the opportunity to reach beyond their target consumer and enter into new areas of the field.
WW: In November of 2015, you opened a men’s universe location in Madrid. I believe it is the first of its kind. Of what significance is that for the brand, and what do you think it says about the state of men’s fashion today?
MY: It was important for the brand to support the increasingly growing menswear market in a large capacity. El Corte Inglés completely renovated the building and it now has seven floors featuring the latest trends in men’s fashion with garments, footwear, accessories, travel items, and fragrances for every occasion. All of the brands at Serrano 52 MAN follow common design schemes that shift from floor to floor, reinforcing Serrano 52 MAN’s expertise in all types of men’s fashion.
This article is published in Whitewall‘s winter 2017 Luxury Issue.