Alexia Álvarez de Toledo, the diplomatic milliner

She will turn 34 next week and Alexia Alvarez de Toledo, a journalist with a Master’s degree in Tourism, is finalizing the details of her hat shop at 20 Cervantes Street, in the heart of Madrid. “Nobody believed in me, I opened it on my own without asking anyone for a penny, not even the bank,” she laughs. But after working for other brands in communications, he decided to pursue his dream and have his own. And what day could be better than his wedding in May 2017 when he said “yes, I do” to Alonso Bernaldo de Quirós, in the palace of La Riega, in Somió (Gijón). “I received people at home and made some headdresses for friends. And they told me that for my wedding I had to make one for them. And so it was, when I saw them all together, I said to myself, I will open the store “.

She set to work, initially supported by a partner who was a stylist and worked from home. But the pandemic came and all the wedding orders were cancelled and she had to reinvent herself and with a newborn: “I changed brands and opened the store without maternity leave or anything. My partner encouraged me to exercise while we were starting everything and I did millinery courses in Madrid for two years Escuela ISA. They are not masters, but you learn a lot of technology”. You could say that Alexia is self-taught. That and YouTube. But it is also a matter of skill and taste to see fabrics and combine colors. Everything inspires me, but especially travel, which I have done all my life, “explains the young milliner.

His father, Alejandro Abellán, is a diplomat and was Spain’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic until two weeks ago. Now a new destination awaits. “I lived in El Salvador, not in Strasbourg for five years, not in Brussels or the Dominican Republic because I got married, but I was there a lot, the last time two months ago. We will be back at Christmas because my little sister will be living there for the time being,” she says. Alexia admits that it was very difficult to leave a place where she had already made friends and more so at her age, but thanks to social networks she has friends all over the world. “My dad already told me that you will be thankful when you grow up.”

Source of inspiration
Journalist Verónica Zabala, director of lifestyle communication at the Román agency.
Journalist Verónica Zabala, director of lifestyle communication at the Román agency.
on Dominican Republic She found a niche market and, above all, inspiration: “Every time I was there, I took many suitcases with 200 hats and organized events. Dominicans love fashion, I learned a lot from them, I got a lot of ideas from them, they have a lot of taste. And when they go shopping in Madrid, they always come to see me in the store. Now she has set out to return to the custom of making the hat an accessory not only for summer but also for winter. “Since it takes so long to take care of yourself, we must not forget that the cold not only damages the hair and skin in summer. Besides, it is a stylish accessory that can dress you up a lot. The mask also changed the trend in wedding headwear, “before, XXL hats were worn and now people want headbands or turbans that don’t bother them or cover their face with the mask, raw comfort.”

These are one-of-a-kind pieces that take about a week to make. Although Alexia has stock in the store and you can choose what you want: “the color, the ribbons, the feathers, which I use a lot for the winter, the initials are embroidered …”.

And there are already many familiar faces that share in their social networks the designs of Alexia Alvarez de Toledo, whose logo is an A with feather. “Maria leon She is like a godmother, I have become familiar with her, she helps me a lot. Cari Lapique buys a lot from me and gives me a lot of publicity because she fell in love with my hats, and the interior designer Lorenzo Castillo commissioned her some for the winter that is still to come, “she explains. She has models for both men and women. “Ninety percent of sales come to me through my Instagram @alexiaalvarezdetoledo, it’s an impressive window,” she confesses excitedly as she prepares her winter creations. They say that elegance is embodied in the hat, but ask Alexia.

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