Designer Assaad Awad, whose fetish-inspired handcrafted creations were first showcased by Lady Gaga and Madonna, describes his perfect day in the Spanish capital
I love the light of Madrid, and the way Spanish people know how to enjoy life. Madrid is a very comfortable city but it is also very authentic. You can smell the past and the history in the air but at the same time it’s a modern European capital. I prefer a quiet life; I don’t like being in a rush. Fashion cities like Paris, London and New York are great for trade but not for creativity. The pace of Madrid suits me very well and my day-to-day life is simple.
I wake up early, I have a good breakfast on my balcony and I go to my atelier. I travel by bicycle to work as I have a strong commitment to sustainability. I really believe we have to take care of the planet, which is hard because of how fast everything is moving. I think the biggest problem in fashion right now is the acceleration; designers create two or three collections per year and trends are changing all the time. I believe in slow fashion, in quality items that are timeless and that you can use for many years.
For lunch I go to the many delicious food markets in the city, like the Mercado de San Miguel or Mercado de San Fernando. There are lots of small restaurants inside where you can eat healthy food made with premium-quality products that come straight from the market.
In the afternoon, I often take a walk to find inspiration. You can still find some small shops in Madrid that have been around for more than 100 years. They continue to sell the same simple yet high-quality clothes, jewellery, books and prints that they did when they opened. There is a street market called El Rastro where I love to spend the afternoon browsing these truly unique creations.
Art is so important to me—it’s a huge part of my work—and in Madrid we have one of the greatest museums in the world, the Prado. Other museums and galleries, such as the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen, are places you can see lots of paintings by Picasso, Dalí, and Miró. I often go to a museum or gallery after work as I love these artists and they are a big inspiration for me.
If I don’t go to a gallery, I might be at the opera. I recently discovered the art form designing clothes for an opera based on the text of the poet Federico García Lorca, called El Público, at the Teatro Real. Both Lorca and opera were wonderful discoveries and brilliant inspiration for me.
My perfect day ends relaxed in bed surrounded by total silence. I love the feel of good cotton on my skin—or good leather.