Sotheby's: When did you first realise you wanted to be a designer?
Esteban Cortázar: I grew up in a very artistic environment with my parents and I always wanted to express myself creatively. Fashion started to speak to me in the early 90s when I moved to Miami with my father. I met people like Gianni Versace and Todd Oldham who became a mentor for me. I witnessed photoshoots on the beach with all the top models and photographers. When I went to one of Todd's shows in NY in 1997, I remember saying to myself, that this is what I wanted to do.
S: Who is the person that you have in mind when you are designing a collection?
EC: I think of many women in my life that come from different parts of the world. I have always been inspired by diverse women and their different characteristics and moods. I am always inspired by sensual strong and kind women.
S: The relationship between art and fashion is one that is often spoken about. Does that strong connection exist for you?
EC: Yes it does. I am constantly inspired by art when designing my collection and its always part of my narrative. My father is a painter so I grew up around a very strong presence of art, objects and beauty.
S: What do you find most exciting about collecting art?
EC: I love discovering the emotion that a piece of art can make you feel.
S: You spent your early years in Miami, at the time Herb Ritts, Patrick Demarchelier and Gianni Versace were all active there. How did exposure to those figures shape your creative process as a designer?
EC: I am so fortunate to have witnessed those special moments in Miami and they will always be a big part of my story and inspiration as they were my introduction to fashion and expression. What marvels you as a kid stays in your soul forever.
S: What does Paris mean to you?
EC: I am in love with Paris. It is the place I call home now for 10 years and it is the city that helped me truly develop my craft and where I have also grown as a person and as a professional.
S: Who is the artist or designer – historic or contemporary – whose work you admire most?
EC: There are so many, but Gianni Versace will always be the first designer (who I also consider an artist) that made a very big impact in my life.
S: What is next for Esteban Cortázar? Are you working on any exciting new projects you can share with us?
EC: Lots of exciting projects that I am developing and will announce soon. I am also developing a series of Pop-Ups in different cities that form part of my story.