Designer Gustavo Cadile's Miami Beginnings
by lauren finney
Gustavo Cadile at his studio in New York.
It’s rare for designers these days to be self-made, relying on no industry connections or contacts, but Gustavo Cadile has done it. The Argentina-born Cadile moved to Miami more than 20 years ago, and launched his career and a name for himself. Today, celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Giuliana Rancic, and Diane Lane flock to his red-carpet-friendly designs, which are known for their bold colors, flattering cuts, and intricate embellishments.
Cadile’s collection, relaunched in 2012 as Memeka by Gustavo Cadile in honor of his mother, was heavily influenced this season by the Mediterranean. “It was inspired by St-Tropez and all the architecture in the town,” he explains. “It’s inspired by the frescos and the colors of the city, and the turquoises and royal blues from the ocean.” He also, naturally, finds inspiration in the city where he cut his fashion teeth. “My first job in Miami was working at Neiman Marcus [at Bal Harbour Shops], in the couture department. During my lunches I was sketching all the time, so the manager for the department introduced me to the school [Miami International University of Art & Design].”
A selection of dresses in Cadile’s studio reflects his love of color.
Cadile got his first break the old-fashioned way—through sheer persistence. “When I was doing my first collection, I saw Eva Longoria and tried to Google her because she’s Latin,” he says. “I thought she was someone who could represent my dresses well. I kept trying to find out how to contact her. By coincidence I found her publicist’s e-mail and sent an e-mail to her, half in Spanish and half in English, and I said I would love to dress Eva. I sent that e-mail at 6 pm. I got an e-mail back at 6:05 pm saying they wanted to introduce me to her stylist.”
From there, the dresses spoke for themselves, and Longoria became a devotee, wearing Cadile’s designs to numerous events including the ALMA Awards. Cadile, who has a heavy presence in the Latin community both on and off the red carpet, thinks about the Latina woman constantly when designing. “I love Latina women and how my dresses adapt to their bodies,” he says. “I think my dresses are made by the bodies of Latina, and specifically Miami, women. I love bright colors! I have something very Latin in me that I try to represent in my designs. [I design] for the women that shop at Bal Harbour Shops or the girls that go to Merrick Park, the women who feel admired and want to show off a great figure.”
One of Cadile’s red-carpet ready gowns.
Cadile spends as much time as possible in the Magic City. “I love Miami very much. It’s a great city. I try to go very often because it’s a great place to get back your energy,” he says. “I love to go to the beach and see the ocean, and go to The Setai. I like to walk [along] Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road. I have many friends in Miami, so every time I go, I really enjoy myself. One of the things I love best is the weather. It’s warm all the time, so it makes everybody smile and be happy.”
While at his alma mater this past fall, Cadile received the Fashion Achievement Award from Fashion Group International. (He had also been nominated for FGI’s Rising Star Award in 2008 and 2009.) “To accept this award in Miami was very important to me because I am sharing this award with everyone who helped and supported me in Miami,” the designer says. John de Medeiros, 150 Worth Ave., Palm Beach, 561-656-5424
photography by gregg delman
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.