Style & Grooming

Palomo Spain’s Latest Campaign Is a Sensual Celebration of Queer Romance

Exclusive: Photographer Matt Lambert captures the Spainish label’s intimate Autumn/Winter 2019 campaign

Alejandro Gómez Palomo, the designer behind Madrid-based label Palomo Spain, is known for his flamboyant, sensual creations which joyfully flout the traditional staid conventions of menswear. His memorable campaigns follow suit: an A/W17 campaign saw Palomo-clad models pose amid entirely nude men, a year later, they were photographed being walked on all fours, wearing dog leashes, for A/W18 (the collection itself was inspired by the pageantry of Victorian hunting regalia).

The label’s latest campaign, released today, is little exception: photographed by Berlin-based Matt Lambert – himself known for intimate depictions of 21st-century sex, namely among the LGBTQ community – it is a celebration, in Lambert’s words, of “queer romance and intimacy,” juxtaposing a “painterly” tableau of models with “spontaneous” images of underwear-clad bodies in embrace. The resulting series is at once sultry and irreverent – in one image, nude models are mid-caress, in another, they sip playfully on drinking straws.

“It’s two different approaches that are both so intrinsic to the house of Palomo Spain,” says Palomo. “On one side, you have these arty, picturesque and exquisite [images] and the other more instinctive, impulsive ones that Matt uses to take us to a romantic, lustful – and almost museum-like – world.” The composition of the portraits takes cue from Renaissance and Baroque painting: models recline on one and other amid louche, draped backdrops, or contort their bodies into shapes akin to classical Roman or Greek sculpture.

The A/W19 collection draws inspiration from Sergei Diaghilev’s pioneering Russian dance company the Ballets Russes, and rural Spain of the 20th century – Palomo himself was born in a countryside village in southern Spain – a combination which emerged from research into the company’s migration to Spain in 1916, seeking refuge from World War I. “It’s this combination of cultures and traditions which intrigued me to create the collection,” says Palomo. “The collection lies in this idea of classical, masculine tailoring, with its traditional codes, combined with a softer touch.”

The clothing itself is typically romantic: pleated, ruff-like collars, grand bows, feathers and polka dots meet layered cotton skirts and wide-brim hats, akin to the traditional Córdoba, inspired by the clothing of pastoral Spain. The introduction of new fabrics, though – like nylon, used to create sporty billowing parkas – suggested a shift in focus for Palomo and his eponymous label. “I am looking at things in a new way now,” he says. “I think I was somehow going through a process of ‘purification’. The Palomo boy has evolved, he’s less retrospective now. His clothes may contain historical references, but his attitude is modern.”

“My goal is to inspire men to be able to show and enjoy their own self and be comfortable wearing whatever they want,” Palomo says.