Maya Hansen is still a bit of an unknown in North America, but the Spanish corsetière and her breathtaking ensembles are finally getting some of the attention they deserve.
Hansen’s forthcoming fall collection, Queens of Spain, received major exposure last week when Lady Gaga wore a customized outfit from the collection during her New York media blitz. That’s Gaga below, wearing Hansen’s printed satin robe and corset during an appearance on BET’s 106 & Park.
It was a brilliant way to introduce a new collection, although there wasn’t much strategy involved. The Madrid-based Hansen received an email from one of Gaga’s stylists a few days before the broadcast, telling her that the singer’s style guru Nicola Formichetti was interested in her work and could she send samples — within two days. The caveat: refrain from sending pieces that have been worn by any other celebrity.
Hansen called Fed Ex and then quickly put together a package that included her Heavy Metal collection from last year, the new Queens of Spain pieces, and some work-in-progress from her 2012 spring collection. Since the BET broadcast a week ago, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing in Hansen’s Madrid studio, and she’s been told the world’s most coveted fashion plate may use more of her pieces in upcoming appearances.
One glimpse at Queens of Spain and you’ll understand the sudden buzz around Maya Hansen (right). This is startlingly original work, and exceptional craftsmanship, from a young designer who never does the same thing twice.
Last year, Hansen delivered both the lowbrow Heavy Metal line (AC/DC corsets!) and the elaborately decorated Steampunk collection, showing her fondness for style currents that exist well outside the fashion mainstream. But that was followed this spring with two elegant couture collections — Chantilly Dreams and Lace Wings — suitable for the bridal market.
Queens of Spain, which was first glimpsed at the EGO Cibeles fashion show earlier this year, is once again something entirely different from Hansen. And, as with her other collections, to call these simply “corsets” would be a huge understatement.
Hansen uses digitally reproduced artworks from Renaissance portrait masters and imprints them on silk satin as the starting point for her richly embroidered and decorated corsets. But the collection also includes pants, hooped skirts, a velvet cape, dramatic Elizabethan collars, bolero jackets and lace-fringed dresses — all of which combine to make medieval style seem very fashion-forward again.
Hansen has been working with photographer Marcelo Aquilio for several years now, creating memorable editorial concepts to promote her collections. The shoot for Queens of Spain is so expertly styled and composed it looks like the images below were pulled off the walls of a Renaissance gallery.
You can see more of this collection by viewing lookbook images on Maya Hansen’s website. Keep in mind that most of her work is custom-made, so treat these as investment pieces that will be worth the wait!