Sastrería el 91

Caterina Pañeda and Paul García de Oteyza

At their tailor shop in Madrid, Spain.

Cat and Paul took over an old school tailor shop in Madrid some years ago. Their style of work embodies an interpretation of designs and fabrics dating back as far the 1920s. On seeing their classy linen pants with high rise waists, suspenders, and all kinds of shirt necks, one is immersed in that romantic era when measured suits and the highest quality of craftsmanship was the goal of any serious tailor. Paul gives me a warm smile and welcomes me into their space. We have friends in common, and their story has deeply intrigued me.

At 'Sastrería El 91' a seamstress works in a corner, and colorful blazers hang all around the room. I am fascinated by all the artefacts, from pieces lifted out of the 1960s English mod era, to photographs of Victorian gentlemen, all of which serve as inspiration for Cat and Paul's work. Surely this is the perfect environment to indulge their tasteful and lucky customers.

The name of their brand is a fun homage to Madrid's telephone number prefix, '91', and 'Sastrería' is the most traditional Spanish word one can use for 'tailor shop'. New and old ideas are represented in this name, and are certainly illustrated in the couple's choice to bring straw hats and feather bow ties to the wardrobe of a modern man.

Caterina's background was in language translation and Paul tried out different career choices before the couple decided to join forces, following Cat's grandfather, formerly a tailor himself. Shortly after setting up their fascinating venture, their first baby arrived, and just recently a second baby girl was born. As Paul holds the newborn baby, and while a customer is being fitted, Cat chats with me. I am just enchanted by her classic beauty and charm. As well as enjoying a sweet family life, they now embrace a customer base that genuinely values their maverick approach to men’s attire, and which so clearly sets them apart from the unadventurous design direction adopted by countless shops all around Madrid.

One can understand the attention this company gets, which is reflected in the frequent positive press it receives. Meeting the couple up close, and being able to listen to their soft-spoken stories, I understand why Cat and Paul have earned such a buzz with their sophisticated, yet truly fun, tailoring business.