Yolanda Sacristán sits at her desk in VOGUE’s editorial office in Salamanca, one of Madrid’s most exclusive districts. At first glance, she looks just like a VOGUE boss should: slim, smartly dressed, very dignified. But it soon becomes clear that she is not at all your typical editor-in-chief: When she arrives at the office in the morning, she does not throw her coat on the table and expect her assistant to pick it up, she hangs it up herself. She is not taken to the shows at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid by her personal driver or taxi, she drives herself. Nor is she accompanied by a gaggle of eager assistants; Yolanda Sacristán comes alone. At the same time, nothing is more important to this woman, who has successfully managed Spanish VOGUE for the past twelve years, than her team.

Open House

The door to Yolanda Sacristán’s office is always open. She wants her colleagues to feel they can come and see her whenever they need to. In her eyes, it is not she who manages Spanish VOGUE, but her team. Together, they shape the magazine’s destiny. “The most important quality for me is the ability to listen”, she says. Each issue is the result of countless meetings in which everyone provides input, filters the information and works towards achieving a joint result. Yolanda Sacristán insists on permanently trying out new things: “If someone says to me, ‘But we’ve never done it that way before’, then I know we have to give it a shot.” She knows her readers well, that they have conservative tastes and don’t think much of passing fads.

Shifting Boundaries

Yolanda Sacristán is a cautious, pragmatic reformer. She works with established photographers like Patrick Demarchelier or Tom Munro, and books models who are allowed to look healthy and even a little sun-kissed. The resulting pictures are images of classical beauty that create scope for more avant-garde settings and styles. She finds new trends at international fashion shows with her young team, or sometimes even while spending time with her three children, who are between fourteen and seventeen years of age: “It fascinates me how media savvy they are”, she says. At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid, she is also interested in the work of younger fashion designers. She not only attends the shows of established couturiers like Roberto Torretta and Ángel Schlesser, but especially enjoys designers like María Escoté or the collections featured at the EGO contest for up and coming talent.

Focus on the future

Promoting new talent is important to Yolanda Sacristán. She regularly features young designers in Spanish VOGUE, and has launched a competition, Who’s on next?, to provide promising designers with financial support. Her protégés are grateful to her and make an effort to keep in touch. She has known some of them since the beginning of their careers. For example Davidelfín, now a major designer who has already presented several collections, including in New York. He still trusts Yolanda Sacristán’s judgment. Because he knows that she will be in Milan on the day of his fashion show, he invites her to an exclusive preview of his collection, which, for the first time, is in an all-white palette.

On equal terms

Davidelfín has set up his showroom backstage at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid, where he takes Yolanda Sacristán through his latest work. With bright eyes and sweeping gestures, he looks more like an enthusiastic schoolboy reporting to his teacher. But she treats him as her equal, chats with him at length about the cut of his minimalistic garments and tries out the handbags, which can be carried two ways. Finally, she says goodbye as she would to a dear friend and moves on to the next appointments in her overflowing calendar: two television interviews.

Passion and Pragmatism

Yolanda Sacristán emerges from the backstage showroom unruffled by the heat of the spotlights. No need to powder her face or comb her hair, not even a sip of water. Perhaps it is because she puts her heart and soul into her work that she simply forgets her own needs. She has dedicated her entire professional life to fashion – without ever becoming bored of it. But however passionate she may be, her approach to fashion is always pragmatic. “Fashion is a wonderful temptress. But it is important not to forget that at the end of the day, there are more important things than a pair of new shoes.”

Find out how Yolanda Sacristán manages to get through the busy fashion week season in the following interview:

Do you prepare outfits or do you have a staple uniform for fashion week?
When I travel to Paris and Milan for Fashion Week, it’s important that I limit the amount of clothes I bring, because I can only take one bag with me. I concentrate on five to seven outfits that can be combined. And to make sure they work together, I take polaroids of the outfits before I leave. When you are in a different country, you can’t just go home and change. And there is nothing worse than being stuck in the wrong outfit all day long!

What are you most enthusiastic about during fashion week?
In Madrid, I always look forward to Ángel Schlesser and María Escoté’s shows.

Is there a place you like best during Fashion Week?
One of my favourite places in Madrid is the Museo del Prado. But if I have a break between shows, then I go back to the office.

What fashion item are you coveting right now?
The blue jacket from CÉLINE’s 2013 Spring collection.

What do you look forward to most when Fashion Week is over?
I look forward to seeing my family again! Spending one hour in the bath is a close second. Or I treat myself to a massage at Tacha, an excellent spa in Madrid.