“There was a man in Spain… And he had a dream. He built from nothing, he breathed a life into his passion, he made it great and his dream came true all over the country and beyond. Menkes fashion house exists with him and after him.”
“I vividly remember my first fancy dress. My father bought it for me at Selfridges in London. I was 9 years old.” This cherished memory evokes the origins of a lifetime’s fascination with the fantasy, the beauty and the elegance inherent in the world of the performing arts.
A fascination that developed into a passion and which has found faithful expression over the course of 50 years devoted to making clothes and footwear, with the precision of a professional and the patience of a craftsman, for actors, dancers, singers and variety show stars, gymnasts and skaters… This has been the passion of Marcos Menkes, tailor and visionary, the founder of the MENKES fashion house and patriarch of the family that enthusiastically shares his tireless search for perfection through craftsmanship.
Marcos Menkes, son of an affluent banker from Tangier, suffered the blows of fate that affected so many families during the first uncertain years of the Second World War. Having taken refuge in Madrid at the age of 12, he studied at the Lycée Français and began his professional career as an apprentice to the Catalan fashion designer Marbel, who made costumes for stars of the stage and screen. At the age of just 21, Marcos Menkes set up his first modest business, which specialized in making regional costumes.
The course of development followed by MENKES from the humble Madrid office to premises in New York, the latest city in which the fashion house has opened, spans half a century. This period has seen the consolidation of a national network of stores and workshops (Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Bilbao, Alicante, Saragossa, Santander, Murcia, La Coruña and Valencia) and the opening of the first international subsidiary in Le Marais in Paris.
This development has been guided by the sound and timeless philosophy of the firm’s founder: quality of artisanship, supported by the personalized service that has characterized the MENKES fashion house since its origins, and which continues to lie at the root of its international prestige.
In the world of haute couture, the imagination can soar, free of all constrictions; indeed, one glance at the catwalks demonstrates that it can even yield to the most extravagant of whims.
In the world of the performing arts, however, both costumes and footwear are put to the severe test of the stage. Therefore, imagination must be married with the more down-to-earth characteristics of quality and strength, and with historical accuracy in the case of period costumes. Such demands can only be met by professionalism and experience, together with constant research, artisanship and the most modern techniques in the sector.
In order to guarantee the historical accuracy of its garments and accessories, MENKES has an impressive reference library devoted to costumes, footwear and period accessories, which is continuously updated.
In its four clothing workshops, or in provisional workrooms specially set up in the theatres at their request, the professional teams of MENKES work in collaboration with clients, fashion designers and art directors in a joint search for the solutions that are best suited to the aesthetics of the show and its specific needs..
Passion for design and faith in teamwork: a formula rooted in the tradition of artisanship and enhanced by the contributions of the very latest technology. The results have come to life and shone on a variety of stages over the last fifty years.
For MENKES, every client counts, and in every assignment it pursues the same quest for excellence. Whether the task is to dress a lead ballet dancer, a top singer or thirty opera extras, every garment and every shoe is made to satisfy the same demands of quality.
Quality, experience, accuracy, craftsmanship and the commitment to listen to the client: solid professionalism married with a human touch that, over the course of time, has attracted leading names from all over the world and has secured the loyalty of clients such as the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and the Lido in Paris.
In the 1950’s Ava Gardner, Vivien Leigh, Xavier Cugat and other famous Hollywood stars used to frequent the Madrid store accompanied by Dominguín, an enthusiastic friend of the fashion house. In the present day top performers continue to grace MENKES with their glittering presence as clients, including Joaquín Cortés, Nacho Duato, Michael Douglas, Marta Sánchez and Bibiana Fernández, to name but a few.
Schools of dancing such as the María de Ávila School, sports organizations such as the National Rhythmic Gymnastics Team, and theme parks of the standing of Port Aventura and Terra Mítica, among others, rely on MENKES for the design, preparation or complete production of those period or contemporary costumes that they may require, be they typical or fancy; those heavenly, yet hard-wearing tights, that extremely delicate garment, or those ingenious creations that convert an actor into a legendary figure.
The MENKES fashion house is sixty five years old, and as it moves into the 21st century, it can look back on past achievements that have made it an obligatory point of reference within its sector.
Open to innovation without ever betraying its sense of tradition, MENKES can offer clients its team of professionals for integral advisory services and for the completion of assignments and its own creations.
Thanks to our infrastructure and experience, we can take on whole projects or special assignments on any scale: from a single, highly artistic piece of clothing for a gala or a television spectacular, to the complete wardrobe for an army of extras in a production for the cinema; from an exquisite pair of period shoes, to the footwear for an entire corps de ballet.
In this age in which, due to the influence of computerized design, practically every field is dominated by highly technical, mass production, within its sector MENKES defends the values that have forged its reputation. In order to meet the demands of an ever-increasing international clientele, MENKES has adopted the very latest technologies, placing these at the disposal of its philosophy of traditional craftsmanship, which has guaranteed the quality and strength of all its products over the course of fifty years.
Faithful to its origins, MENKES is still a family business that is devoted to its passion and determined to safeguard its finest assets: its pride in work well done and the respect of its clients, both at home and abroad