MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Born in Bogota, Colombia, fashion designer Esteban Cortazar was raised in Miami.
He was, and still is, the youngest designer to ever-present at New York Fashion Week, he did so in 2002.READ MORE: ‘This Is About Freedom’: Republican Leaders Gather At Versailles For Another Cuba Rally
“I was 17 when I did the first show. It’s kind of crazy for me to think about it now. honestly, because sometimes I don’t even know how all of that happened, but it happened,” Cortazar said.
He grew up above the News Cafe on Ocean Drive, where the late great Gianni Versace had breakfast almost daily.
“I was waiting for my school bus to go to school in the morning and Gianni would be having breakfast downstairs. That was basically what I was looking at and it really influenced me, “ he explained. “ I see now more than ever how much those times really captured my essence as a person and as a designer.”
Cortazar showed CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo his first collaboration with the Spanish brand Desigual at their store on Lincoln Road. It’s a spring-summer unisex collection inspired by his years of growing up in Miami.READ MORE: 2-Month-Old Jameelah Penascino Found
“Our models Kelly and Herbert are wearing the Andy Sweet unisex jeans,” he said as the models came out. “We worked with the legacy of the iconic photographer Andy Sweet who created some of the most beautiful images of South Beach back in the late 70s and I’ve been obsessed with those images for a long time.”
Part of the 16-piece collection features postcard pictures from 1970’s South Beach legendary photographer Andy Sweet, shown on a sexy slip dress with printed lace hem, another homage to art that is extra personal. It’s a part of the collection he calls ‘The Kiss’.
“This is one of my favorites as well,” he told Petrillo. “This print was done by my father. He was an artist. His name Valentino Cortazar and he was one of the pioneer artists that came to South Beach in the early ’90s and set up a studio on Ocean Drive. This was a style that he created back then,” he explained.
Cortazar, who splits time between Paris, Colombia, Spain, New York, and Miami, has a celebrity following that includes Kate Blanchette, Beyonce, and more. He said he knows his roots are what made him grow into the designer he is today. He added that he realized this collaboration with Desigual would allow him to pay tribute to it all.
“I knew that when Desigual invited me to do this I had to include my dad, especially since I was celebrating South Beach in the ’90s, “ he said. “I wouldn’t have gone through the experience or even shown in New York had it not been for the support that my dad gave me and the push in guidance that let me start and do exactly what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.”MORE NEWS: ‘2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back’: South Florida Businesses Feeling Effects Of COVID Resurgence
Click Here for more information on Cortazar’s new line “Every Day Is Forever.”