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Half a Century Leading the Bridal Sector

26 May, 2014

Pronovias exhibition 50 Love stories / Pronovias

Pronovias turns 50 this year and celebrated it in Barcelona with a retrospective exhibition and its annual show at Bridal Week – two events that drew professionals from around the world.  

A tough pair of hands welcomes visitors to the Pronovias exhibition. They are hands that have laboured many hours; hands that sew with delicacy and perfection. Their beauty “is not aesthetic, it lies in the wisdom they have accumulated,” explains Charo Mora, the organiser of the exhibition “50 Love Stories”.

Beneath the hands are tailor’s dummies draped in gauze and the preliminary patterns that will bring a Pronovias gown to life.

“This is where it all begins, with this manual and precise work by seamstresses like Carmen, Paquita and many others. It is the germ of the dress-making process and must be the starting point for viewing the exhibition,” the organiser says.

We have caught up with Charo Mora to learn more about the story of the 50-year history of Pronovias as told through its dresses. We are joined by some 50 journalists “particularly from Italy and the USA,” Mora says, who have travelled to Barcelona to attend the events in celebration of the firm’s golden anniversary. There is also the odd retailer amongst today’s visitors, all of whom are making the most of the final hours before the show to be held at the Italian Pavilion at Fira de Barcelona to see this unique collection of Pronovias’ work.

Around the world

“I am a Pronovias distributor in the Caribbean, where it is an up-and-coming firm not within the reach of the majority of people. Its designs are very expensive in the region and are targeted at exclusive customer segments,” says one of the people attending the guided tour of the exhibition. She is accompanied by another retailer, in this case from Canada, who says, “Pronovias has been a very well-known firm in my country for around 10 years”.

In addition to drawing a small number of retailers, today’s visit is designed to capture the attention of international journalists and give them a clear message: “Pronovias has been dressing brides around the world for 50 years, offering them craftsmanship, quality and design”.

That is why visitors are given a text explaining that when Alberto Palatchi Bienveniste, the father of today’s CEO, arrived in Barcelona in 1914 he bore a suitcase “filled with textiles and tips of precious materials”. Quality was then a major product value the Palatchi family was keen to offer, and this is underlined in the exhibition which ran for a week at Convent dels Àngels in Barcelona.

“We also want to pay homage to the materials and fabrics here. The firm works with the few craftspeople left in Barcelona. They are found in workrooms that are hundreds of years old, where embroidery work and hats are made and work with feathers is still done,” Charo Mora explains to the excitement of the majority of the journalists and the admiration of some who laud each of the models and record the visit on their electronic devices.

“Pronovias is one of the most important firms and its show is always the sector benchmark internationally,” says the fashion director of the American Brides magazine, Rachel Leonard. “Turning 50 in this industry is very difficult,” her editor adds, and both women say they have been extremely impressed with the historical collection of gowns featured in the exhibition. The outcome of the organisers’ work is that it is possible to see some of the company’s oldest models. In particular, of note are two dresses from 1973, designed by Pedro Rodríguez. “They come from one of the most important private collections in Spain and are the best way to explain how pioneering Pronovias was in putting ready-to-wear within the reach of every bride,” Mora says.  

The present offered them a future

“Pronovias’ creative adventure began in 1964 when Alberto Palatchi Ribera, together with his father, decided to create the first Spanish bridalwear firm,” the exhibition relates on one of its visual supports. “At the start of the 60s, it was very expensive to make a dress to be worn for just one day. Pronovias came up with the idea of making a product that was halfway between haute couture and designs for the public at large. This was how the off-the-rack concept applied to bridal fashion came about,” Charo Mora says, emphasising Pronovias’ pioneering and groundbreaking nature at the time.

The business initiative led by Palatchi father and son gave rise to wedding dresses as we know them today, available to a great many people. At the same time, they also made significant changes to what wedding dresses look like. “Ready-to-wear greatly simplifies pattern-making, as the patterns are perfunctory, as can be seen, for example, in this dress which is distinguished by very clean lines,” the organiser continues to explain, while indicating the two models by Pedro Rodríguez.

Rodríguez’s gowns are also proof that, for the first time, the sector turned to young people for inspiration and to find new shapes for women’s fashion. “The 60s and 70s were the first time that people looked to the younger generation and Pedro Rodríguez did it with these Pronovias models. He was the master haute-couture designer of Spanish fashion and Pronovias was able to bring him within the reach of brides,” Charo Mora says.

Always innovation

The 50 pieces in the Pronovias exhibition provide the definitive narration of the first 50 years of the firm’s history, underling the stylistic, aesthetic and conceptual changes that have taken place. They summarise the evolution of production techniques and, above all, the dreams of the women who wore them and the society in which they were born.

The visit is structured around five concepts, including shapes. To that end, there is a special space dedicated to looking back over the six basic shapes on which the firm’s gowns were based: the kaftan, the halter-neck, the hourglass and the mermaid. Another concept is the effort made to explain how shirts and wedding dresses found their meeting place thanks to the creativity of firm’s former designer, Manuel Mota. He wanted to use this union to embody his search for new aesthetic codes. “This metaphor arose at the start of the 21st century and since then the ‘shirt’ dress has become an icon that is continually evolving,” Charo Mora says.

Milan and New York will now have the privilege of enjoying this historical collection in the form of the dresses that Pronovias has prepared to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Meanwhile, the firm has also announced the acquisition of a 1,000 sq metre establishment on Barcelona’s Rambla de Catalunya, where it will open its new flagship store. With this purchase, Pronovias will move out of the Catalan capital’s leading high-end street, Passeig de Gràcia, and settle in the commercial hub that runs parallel to the avenue.

In addition to this acquisition, the company has announced a new expansion plan, with which it anticipates doubling its points of sale around the world over the next five years. Altogether, a statement of intent which demonstrates that it is keen to continue doing what it does best – designing wedding dresses and bringing them closer to consumers.

Pronovias turns 50 this year and celebrated it in Barcelona with a retrospective exhibition and its annual show at Bridal Week – two events that drew professionals from around the world.  

A tough pair of hands welcomes visitors to the Pronovias exhibition. They are hands that have laboured many hours; hands that sew with delicacy and perfection. Their beauty “is not aesthetic, it lies in the wisdom they have accumulated,” explains Charo Mora, the organiser of the exhibition “50 Love Stories”.

Beneath the hands are tailor’s dummies draped in gauze and the preliminary patterns that will bring a Pronovias gown to life.

“This is where it all begins, with this manual and precise work by seamstresses like Carmen, Paquita and many others. It is the germ of the dress-making process and must be the starting point for viewing the exhibition,” the organiser says.

We have caught up with Charo Mora to learn more about the story of the 50-year history of Pronovias as told through its dresses. We are joined by some 50 journalists “particularly from Italy and the USA,” Mora says, who have travelled to Barcelona to attend the events in celebration of the firm’s golden anniversary. There is also the odd retailer amongst today’s visitors, all of whom are making the most of the final hours before the show to be held at the Italian Pavilion at Fira de Barcelona to see this unique collection of Pronovias’ work.

Around the world

“I am a Pronovias distributor in the Caribbean, where it is an up-and-coming firm not within the reach of the majority of people. Its designs are very expensive in the region and are targeted at exclusive customer segments,” says one of the people attending the guided tour of the exhibition. She is accompanied by another retailer, in this case from Canada, who says, “Pronovias has been a very well-known firm in my country for around 10 years”.

In addition to drawing a small number of retailers, today’s visit is designed to capture the attention of international journalists and give them a clear message: “Pronovias has been dressing brides around the world for 50 years, offering them craftsmanship, quality and design”.

That is why visitors are given a text explaining that when Alberto Palatchi Bienveniste, the father of today’s CEO, arrived in Barcelona in 1914 he bore a suitcase “filled with textiles and tips of precious materials”. Quality was then a major product value the Palatchi family was keen to offer, and this is underlined in the exhibition which ran for a week at Convent dels Àngels in Barcelona.

“We also want to pay homage to the materials and fabrics here. The firm works with the few craftspeople left in Barcelona. They are found in workrooms that are hundreds of years old, where embroidery work and hats are made and work with feathers is still done,” Charo Mora explains to the excitement of the majority of the journalists and the admiration of some who laud each of the models and record the visit on their electronic devices.

“Pronovias is one of the most important firms and its show is always the sector benchmark internationally,” says the fashion director of the American Brides magazine, Rachel Leonard. “Turning 50 in this industry is very difficult,” her editor adds, and both women say they have been extremely impressed with the historical collection of gowns featured in the exhibition. The outcome of the organisers’ work is that it is possible to see some of the company’s oldest models. In particular, of note are two dresses from 1973, designed by Pedro Rodríguez. “They come from one of the most important private collections in Spain and are the best way to explain how pioneering Pronovias was in putting ready-to-wear within the reach of every bride,” Mora says.  

The present offered them a future

“Pronovias’ creative adventure began in 1964 when Alberto Palatchi Ribera, together with his father, decided to create the first Spanish bridalwear firm,” the exhibition relates on one of its visual supports. “At the start of the 60s, it was very expensive to make a dress to be worn for just one day. Pronovias came up with the idea of making a product that was halfway between haute couture and designs for the public at large. This was how the off-the-rack concept applied to bridal fashion came about,” Charo Mora says, emphasising Pronovias’ pioneering and groundbreaking nature at the time.

The business initiative led by Palatchi father and son gave rise to wedding dresses as we know them today, available to a great many people. At the same time, they also made significant changes to what wedding dresses look like. “Ready-to-wear greatly simplifies pattern-making, as the patterns are perfunctory, as can be seen, for example, in this dress which is distinguished by very clean lines,” the organiser continues to explain, while indicating the two models by Pedro Rodríguez.

Rodríguez’s gowns are also proof that, for the first time, the sector turned to young people for inspiration and to find new shapes for women’s fashion. “The 60s and 70s were the first time that people looked to the younger generation and Pedro Rodríguez did it with these Pronovias models. He was the master haute-couture designer of Spanish fashion and Pronovias was able to bring him within the reach of brides,” Charo Mora says.

Always innovation

The 50 pieces in the Pronovias exhibition provide the definitive narration of the first 50 years of the firm’s history, underling the stylistic, aesthetic and conceptual changes that have taken place. They summarise the evolution of production techniques and, above all, the dreams of the women who wore them and the society in which they were born.

The visit is structured around five concepts, including shapes. To that end, there is a special space dedicated to looking back over the six basic shapes on which the firm’s gowns were based: the kaftan, the halter-neck, the hourglass and the mermaid. Another concept is the effort made to explain how shirts and wedding dresses found their meeting place thanks to the creativity of firm’s former designer, Manuel Mota. He wanted to use this union to embody his search for new aesthetic codes. “This metaphor arose at the start of the 21st century and since then the ‘shirt’ dress has become an icon that is continually evolving,” Charo Mora says.

Milan and New York will now have the privilege of enjoying this historical collection in the form of the dresses that Pronovias has prepared to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Meanwhile, the firm has also announced the acquisition of a 1,000 sq metre establishment on Barcelona’s Rambla de Catalunya, where it will open its new flagship store. With this purchase, Pronovias will move out of the Catalan capital’s leading high-end street, Passeig de Gràcia, and settle in the commercial hub that runs parallel to the avenue.

In addition to this acquisition, the company has announced a new expansion plan, with which it anticipates doubling its points of sale around the world over the next five years. Altogether, a statement of intent which demonstrates that it is keen to continue doing what it does best – designing wedding dresses and bringing them closer to consumers.

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