The world of luxury publishing has always been shrouded in secrecy. I have often wondered who is the fashion editorial elite responsible for shaping and influencing luxury trends. It is fascinating to me, especially as someone who aspires to be at the helm of my own publication one day. However, there is so much involved with launching a publication and the whole process can be emotionally taxing not to mention riddled with obstacles. Fortunately for me, I had the chance to interview Founder and Editor-in-chief Francisco José Pavón Chisbert to help demystify the world of publishing and talk candidly about Pasarela de Asfalto, an influential print and digital Luxury magazine headquartered in Madrid, Spain.
a jurist and political scientist by trade with a sense of wisdom that defies his age, Francisco’s passion for fashion started as a blog and led him to eventually assume the reins of his publishing empire. It could be argued that this pivot move into the world of fashion editing was divinely pre-ordained given Francisco’s innate fashion flair and affable charm.
He is a natural, humble even, but his business savvy, tenacity, and unwilingness to compromise on his editorial vision have been critical in sealing his brand’s legacy over the past 10 years. The results speak for themselves: His publication boasts an impressive roster of personalities, from royalties to celebrities, fashion icons, and politicians, a carnet d’adresses that includes actress/Activist Lindsay Lohan, S.A.R. Princess Tania de Bourbon Parme, charles-henri von lobkowicz, just to name a few.
Despite his busy schedule, Francisco was kind enough to share his insight with Spectacle of Vanities on what it takes to be successful in this industry. He also talks about his favorite designers, his fashion philosophy which accounts for his distinctive aristocratic flair. He not only knows fashion but has a fiduciary relationship with Spanish designers, and strives at all time to highlight the sartorial spirit of Spanish craftsmanship and his reverence for Spanish prêt-à-porter. It is in the veins of legendary fashion icons like Elio Berhanyer and Francis Montesinos that Francisco continues to carry their legacy–that is by upholding the aristocratic spirit that comprises Spanish Haute Couture and promoting Spain’s vibrant cultural patrimony through his award-winning publication Pasarela de Asfalto.
SPV: Can you tell me about the “Pasarela de Asfalto“?
Francisco: First of all, we must bear in mind that my magazine was born almost 10 years ago, by then I was one of the first bloggers in Spain and one of the very few men to talk about fashion. At that time my blog was hosted by a very important Spanish company worldwide (Grupo Prisa), a company for which I worked speaking just about fashion. Returning to the topic, the name of my blog was “Pasarela de Asfalto”, translated into English as “Asphalt Catwalk” a name that later took my magazine in his honor, however, that name is more related to the origins of the media that I lead today, some origins in which fashion for me represented the way in which people lived fashion in the streets. My first interview was with Enrique Loewe, a person linked to the fashion and luxury sector worldwide, known by the brand LOEWE that was once owned by his family. In that first interview, he told me when reading my magazine: “I love the title, Pasarela de Asfalto because the success of fashion is being on the streets”.
SPV: As someone very young who holds the distinctive title of youngest publisher in Europe, what are your bits of advice for anyone wanting to launch their own publications?
Francisco: Thank you very much for your words. My fundamental advice is that they trust in their product, that they are honest, but above all fighters, that they do not surrender to adversities, that they face them with force and always surround themselves with good people that love them, appreciate and support them, like family and real friends.
SPV: Who’s your favorite fashion designer/brand?
Francisco: My favorite creator is Elio Berhanyer, he is the last Spanish designer of Haute Couture who is still alive, after the death of Balenciaga. For me, it is an icon who dressed Ava Gardner and Cyd Charisse among many celebrities worldwide known as the Queen Sofia of Spain. It is a privilege and an honor to know him and call him my friend.
SPV: Speaking of fashion, I am curious to know your thoughts on the highly contemptuous rebranding of the legendary brand CELINE by Hedi Slimane? Do you have a position on this?
Francisco: As I see it, the big fashion houses should always keep their essence, know how to adapt to the new times and adapting to the current needs of the consumer and the market in general. I suppose that the signature that you referenced, will have thought a lot about these elements that I have indicated and will have made the decision that they have considered more accurate. From my point of view, I think there are things that should never change because they distort the essence of the product, transforming it into a completely new one, no longer of interest to the consumer and taking away that aura of mystery that always surrounds the big Maisons.
SPV: You have a distinctive royal presence about you, and I am wondering what are the criteria that drive you in choosing to wear certain designers?
Francisco: Thank you very much for your words Kenza. I usually get carried away by the fantasy of the moment and the absence of rules in relation to fashion. Seen as I feel good, although sometimes you have to have a lot of courage to go out and face prying eyes. Obviously always seen in relation to a specific situation, I will never be dressed in the Supreme Court as I do in the fashion week of Paris, everything has its time and place. I try to be free in every moment, always bringing my touch of distinction. So, to attend a catwalk, I will wear Francis Montesinos, who is not only a great friend but one of the most influential Spanish designers. I like the essence of his designs which are infused with Spanish sensibility. Wearing his clothes allows me to me feel like the ambassador of Spanish fashion for a few moments.
SPV: What is your most memorable interview?
Francisco: I would not be able to mention one without forgetting another just as important, but without a doubt, Elio Berhanyer’s and Enrique Loewe’s were memorable. The one of S.A.R. Princess Tania de Bourbon Parme was amazing, Soledad Lorenzo, Deborah Hung or Bob Sinclar among others, were surprising!
Photographie credits: Pasarela de Asfalto