It is no exaggeration to say that Narciso Rodriguez is an icon of the American fashion industry. Born in New Jersey to Cuban parents, he fell in love with clothing through the women of his family, drawing inspiration from their timeless style. Since the early ’90s, Rodriguez has amassed a loyal fan base by designing some of the most beloved and acclaimed women’s apparel in the entertainment industry. His clear vision and keen eye have won the hearts of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Michelle Obama and Sarah Jessica Parker, to name just a few, creating looks that transcend trends and generations.
Rodriguez’s vision of women is largely rooted in minimalism, with a knack for proportions and attention to detail second to none. His career has taken him from homes like Calvin Klein and Loewe to designing his own eponymous label and building a small perfume empire along the way. In particular, Rodriguez’s dresses are instantly recognizable: utterly feminine, curvy, complementing but never overwhelming, and stronga word that is often overused in fashion these days, but one that fully applies to his ethos.
As Spanish Heritage Month approached, Zara asked Rodriguez to dig into his archive and recreate his most winning look for an exclusive capsule. The red dress above was originally from his spring/summer 2018 collection, and the black strapless dress below started all the way back in fall/winter 1998 (what’s old is almost always new again). The enduring fashion and fit of his clothes are remarkable, proving that when you design for a woman who doesn’t age, your pieces truly never go out of style. In honor of this special re-release, we spoke with Rodriguez about the capsule, his all-time favorite collection, and his thoughts on his signature scent going viral. on TikTok.
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Do you have a favorite piece from the capsule?
The slip-on dress — it stays the same throughout my collections, and is considered an iconic piece by Narciso Rodriguez.
Which past collection stands out in your memory?
Fall 2000 is one of my all time favorite collections. It was inspired by Romy Schneider and the joy of dressing up — a lot of the inspiration for that collection came from the movie. Boccaccio ’70.
How does your Latin heritage inform your work?
Honoring a woman, her body and who she is.
Who would you like to design a dress for in 2022?
Meghan Markle and Zendaya.
Are there any Narciso Rodriguez scents that you would like to pair with Zara products?
For Her was originally my signature, classic scent – like this collection, it was inspired by sensuality and grace.
For Her has recently gone viral on TikTok due to its massive popularity in Paris. What do you think attracts people to fragrance?
For Her continues to be loved by more and more people around the world; I loved watching it go viral among the younger generation 20 years after its debut. It was created with great passion as a signature scent that transcends boundaries, and it does just that.
Narciso Rodriguez for Zara capsule will be available for online shopping at zara.com and at Zara stores globally on September 8. Prices range from $46-499.
Kevin LeBlanc is a Fashion Contributor at ELLE Magazine. He covers fashion news, trends and anything related to Robyn Rihanna Fenty.