Making clothes has always been deeply personal for the American designer Narciso Rodriguez—“My strength is my fabrics, my ateliers, my hands,” he once said—and the result is a self-possessed style that is timeless, realistic and suggestive. Those qualities, the very essence of modern fashion, are now being celebrated by Zara in a special collaboration with Rodriguez, a prospect for women thrilled for his look.

The timeline of Rodriguez’s remarkable career spans over 30 and encompasses the great fashion movement of minimalism, of which he is a key architect. His best-known design, from 1996, was the wedding dress he made for his friend Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, a slip dress so ravishingly simple it changed the bridal business and continues to be an icon of modern glamour. Yet, much of Rodriguez’s work gets better and better with time. The 25 items of clothing and accessories in the new Narciso Rodriguez x Zara, all drawn from his archive, are proof of that. Good design endures.

“This has been an amazing experience for me,” says Rodriguez of working with Zara. “It was great to go through the archive and revisit things that we loved. It also great to see them through Zara´s design team fresh eyes. They are such a professional team excited about each piece and making sure the essence of the original ones are maintained.”

The Narciso Rodriguez x Zara collection reflects both his sharp sense of architecture and the intimacy he established with the body. What made a Rodriguez dress so sexy was not that it was tight-fitting or revealing, but that the body underneath always remained free. “There’s a beautiful slip dress in the collection that’s bias-cut and with interesting seaming,” he notes. “It’s what people think of when they think of my brand. It’s very liquid. It flows over the body.”

He also pointed to a wrap coat in black double-face wool with side slits and a leather sash belt. “The coat is extraordinary, it’s that meticulous.” And the designer was happy to see an engineered turtleneck sweater come back to life. The black knit is sheer in parts and solid in others and has a built-in bra.

“Working with Zara is eye-opening, because everyone is so aware of what’s going on in the world and in fashion,” Rodriguez says. “They have really enthusiastic, energetic people, and they were excited about every aspect of this collaboration. And that was fun for me—to see people who weren’t around when these clothes were first shown, now celebrating and enjoying them as much as we did 20 years ago.”

Narciso Rodriguez x Zara will be available from 8 September 2022 on and in selected stores.

The son of Cuban immigrants, whose father was a longshoreman in New Jersey, he graduated from the Parsons School of Design. After working for a number of American and European fashion houses, he opened his own firm in New York City in 1998. He was the first designer to win two consecutive Women’s Designer of the Year awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He created two successful fragrances, Narciso and For Her. His clothes have been worn by some of the world’s most prominent women, including Michelle Obama, Claire Danes, Julianna Margulies, and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Zara is part of Inditex, a global fashion retail group. Founded in Spain in 1975, its collections are currently available over an integrated platform of stores and online in more than 200 markets. Zara offers fashion-forward products for women, men and kids via an integrated business model that places the customer at the center of everything we do. Zara and Inditex are committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2040.

Model: Natalia Vodiánova Photographer: Craig McDean Creative Director: Baron & Baron Stylist: Ludivine Poiblanc Make-up: Diane Kendal Hair: Damien Boissino