It’s hardly an overstatement to say Narciso Rodriguez is an icon of the American fashion industry. Born in New Jersey to Cuban parents, he fell in love with clothes through the women in his family, taking inspiration from their timeless sense of style. Since the early ’90s, Rodriguez has garnered a loyal following by designing some of the most beloved and acclaimed womenswear pieces in the biz. His clarity of vision and eye for clean lines has won over 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 sartorial vision of a woman is heavily rooted in minimalism, with a knack for proportion and attention to detail that’s second to none. His career has taken him from houses like Calvin Klein and Loewe to designing his own namesake label and building a mini perfume empire along the way. In particular, Rodriguez’s dresses are instantly recognizable: utterly feminine, curve-enhancing, complementary yet never overpowering, and strong, a word often overused in fashion today, but one that completely applies to his ethos.
As Hispanic Heritage Month approaches, Zara asked Rodriguez to dig deep into his archives and replicate his most winning looks for an exclusive capsule. The red dress above was originally from his spring/summer 2018 collection, and the black bustier look below harkens back to fall/winter 1998 (what’s old is almost always new again). The long-lasting fashionability and relevance of his clothes is remarkable, demonstrating that when you design for an ageless woman, your wares truly never go out of style. In honor of this special reissue, we spoke with Rodriguez about the capsule, his favorite collection of all time, and what he thinks about his signature scent going viral on TikTok.
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Do you have a favorite piece from the capsule?
The bias slip dress—it has been a constant throughout my collections, and is considered an iconic signature Narciso Rodriguez piece.
Which past collection stands out in your memory?
Fall 2000 is one of my favorite collections of all time. It was inspired by Romy Schneider and the joy of dressing—so much of the inspiration for that collection came from the film Boccaccio ’70.
How does your Latin heritage inform your work?
Celebrating a woman, her body, and who she is.
Who would you want to design a dress for in 2022?
Meghan Markle and Zendaya.
Is there a Narciso Rodriguez scent that you’d pair with the Zara pieces?
The original For Her is my classic, signature scent—much like this collection, it was inspired by sensuality and grace.
For Her recently went viral on TikTok due to its overwhelming popularity in Paris. What do you think draws people to the fragrance?
For Her continues to be loved by more and more people around the world; I loved seeing it go viral amongst a younger generation 20 years after its launch. It was created with great passion as a signature scent that would transcend boundaries, and it did.
The Narciso Rodriguez for Zara capsule will be available to shop online at zara.com and in Zara stores globally on Sept. 8. Prices range from $46-499.
Kevin LeBlanc is the Fashion Associate at ELLE Magazine. He covers fashion news, trends, and anything to do with Robyn Rihanna Fenty.