Isabel Henao, the queen of fashion
Isabel Henao leaves a mark with her sensual textures that elevate fashion to romantic and poetic levels. As a model, it stands out as tall, skinny and exotic. Feminine in everything it expresses, its ethereal garments and its measured production are venerated abroad and are a national reference. Mother, creator, and artist.
Originally published in Diners Magazine Ed. 491 February 2011
The first description that could be made of the young designer Isabel Henao, born in Medellín, is that she is always building, creating and innovating. The second would be about her infinite sensitivity, which makes her look like a character in In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust, wrapped in lace and silks, romantic and fragile, and drinking tea next to a half-empty box of chocolates.
The third one would be through the infinite force that he prints on his collections. Because each garment has an encrypted message of places, moments, times, trends and, most importantly, Isabel’s own colors: her resounding colors and mixtures. Black and violet are always and almost his personal stamp. And that force is also represented in the manual work of their garments, which transmit poetry, architecture, fantasy, art and, of course, music. Because his textures and volumes move while his transparencies speak to a sensual and very feminine woman.
When they float their immense skirts with impossible cuts on the catwalk, on the bias, they wrap the body of the models, who sometimes seem held in the air like sculptures in a museum.
Isabel Henao studied where she was born, in Medellín. In 1999 he made his principles in literature while defining what would be the path he wanted to travel. Then he decided on industrial design, also at the Pontificia Bolivariana, and then for the design of fashions in the Tuition. Between 2002 and 2003 he did a specialization at the Marangoni Institute, in Milan (Italy), where he added a Magna cum laude to his then very young resume. From there he went on to specialize in the treatment of fabrics, pleats and new developments, through special techniques courses.
If it is about applause, it has received many and deserved times, as well as mentions and awards from critics, magazines and the public. But perhaps one of his main challenges has been to parade with his collection alongside great international names like Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada and Carolina Herrera, in which he has always asserted his infinite capacity to give them a personal and unmistakable touch, and once poetic and ethereal, to the materials that it makes.
He has a physique that would like any professional model: tall, skinny and exotic. In fact, not only was she a model but even today, together with Simona, her three-year-old daughter, she has no problem in modeling her own clothes. Isabel has a fragile elegance, very feminine, with very white skin and the contrast of her black hair in the style of Snow White.
Perfectionist, it is almost oriental in its tastes and preferences. So much attracts those cultures that came to sculpt several collections as pieces of origami, and forced people to touch them to not believe that they were made in paper butter or sugar or caramel. Because everything Isabel does is refined.
Each piece, made and painted by hand, each embroidery or applied, in your hands, becomes exquisite and unique. Use feathers, villas in fantastic colors, play with the textures and mix them with a special mastery. He works at a large table in his workshop, where he is always innovating with a monk’s discipline.
It has been measured without omen to all materials: leather, canvas, raffia, indigo, wool, alpaca, organza, lame, cloth or satin. In the years of her career since she won the prize as a revelation designer, she has not stopped drawing and making sketches, but she has not stopped investigating, traveling, taking photos or taking inspiration from international collections or movies. He is sensitive to everything and expresses it through his work.
However, his obsession is one: the woman. And everything that surrounds her: dress her, transform her, praise her, make her express all her fantasies, turn her into a princess and be herself, the fairy godmother. But more than fairy is an Architect of fashion. From its first collection, it already built, deconstructed, dyed, cut and changed established patterns.
That made her great. And he showed it. His most evident work was presented on the day of the possession of President Juan Manuel Santos, when he designed the white brocade dress and trumpet sleeves worn by the first lady María Clemencia de Santos during the ceremony on August 7.
That day made it clear again that she is no longer a promise. But a point of reference for Colombian fashion. He has done well here and in other places, either through his international appearances or the requests made in distant countries. Today she measures her fashion shows, knowing that they imply a big job and wear for her and the rest of the hands that constitute her workshop and that constitute her second family.
But when it is presented, its collections are always coherent, since they tell a complete story. Presents coats, capes, tailors, long cocktail dresses, skirts, sweaters, blouses and now an amazing hand-painted leather -as splashed by foolish little goblins at midnight-, in addition to retro shoes, very original, and the final touch that gives them to garments, belts, wallets, and necklaces. That is everything.
And that everything also refers to the great effort that has been made to stand, active in the midst of difficult times, after a marriage followed by a divorce, inspired above all by a wonderful daughter who dances and sings in French and who is his Joy and its engine every morning, and also the inspiration of Costa, its children’s line for girls that has been a success.
Henao is a brave woman with the conviction of her tireless vocation to overcome and reinvent herself every day. Just as he has lived through industry crises and warehouse closings, he has also experienced triumphs, rewards, doubts, and emotions, without ever allowing himself to create that second skin through his clothes. new story for women.
Speaking of personal stories, violet is her favorite color – and that is clear in her collections – but in her life, she prefers to dress almost always in black, but with a very feminine look and an urban vision that seeks to innovate in ways and cuts. In fact, she prefers to “taste” her work first, go out on the pavement with them, try them out, see how her designs blend with the city and then yes, production!
It does not produce much. What is strictly necessary to live from your work, that is already a luxury. Their coats are one for size and their evening dresses almost always on request, which makes them quite unique. Your language sells very well outside. The foreigners venerate her because they are traveled women who know what Isabel Henao would be worth in Paris, Milan or New York.
He has never lost the excitement or adrenaline of each new collection. She receives many proposals to present herself in different places of the world, but she measures herself as she measures her canvases: not doing too much nor saturating her image as a woman of the 21st century, framed in a classic and timeless sensuality.