Rachel Parsons is a driving force for fashion in Ibiza, with a background that has seen her work with some of the greats, she uses her network to deliver some of the finest shows to the garden catwalk in Atzaro. So far this summer Atzaro has played host to the likes of Kurru Kurru, Pure Form, Boho Style & Monica Perez and Urban In Ibiza, to name only a few. As a dedicated follower of fashion, not to mention budding designer, popping along for a chat with Rachel could be the highlight of the summer for Essential fashion editor Charlotte Kennedy…
So the way I see it is, there is Rachel Parsons and then there is Ibiza fashion. This lady put Ibiza on the map for fashion. Chicas, why not trot up to the north and there you will find, amongst the rows of orange trees, a boutique hotel with a grand catwalk running directly through the middle. Every week designers from across Europe and beyond show at this summer catwalk. In Rachel’s own words – “We have the fashion weeks in February and September why can’t Ibiza serve as the place in-between?”
Rachel got on board the Atzaro express initially to take care of the PR for owners Phillip and Victor. Five years have passed and in that time she has achieved so much with this hotel. It is without doubt the most fashionable hotel on the White Isle, and to think it all started with her looking over the gardens with the owners of Atzaro, Phillip and Victor, and with her knowing Fashion eye nonchalantly mentioning, “You know, this space would be great with a catwalk running through it”, six months later Phillip and Victor dropped the concrete and the rest, as they say, is history. Rachel has been producing two shows a week for the past three summers, and it’s only this year she has cut it down to one a week. Last summer Rachel produced a grand total of 26 shows, including designers such as Felder and Felder, Michiko Koshino and Browns. Rachel hand picks local and international brands to show at Atzaro.
Fashion and style run deep in Rachel’s blood, when asked what is her earliest fashion memory she tells me it was Ossie Clarke, Uncle Roger’s best friend babysitting her as young child, and let’s not forget Auntie Beryl taking her on trips to Biba. From this stylish upbringing it was no surprise that she would be up there with the greats. Rachel encompasses what it is to be a figure of beauty and style. A Bristol born girl, this chica has always done things her own way, at just 18 she decided to follow the bright lights to London so, hitching a lift in a van to the big smoke, Rachel parsons arrived in London ready for a fashion take over. On arriving Miss Parsons walked into modeling, her beauty was considered slightly weird and wonderful. She walked for shows such as Dickens and Jones with the likes of Amanda Casala, her career in fashion began.
Rachel’s fashion life runs parallel with her love of music, always on trend and in the mix, hanging out with The Wild Bunch who would later become later become Massive Attack, the hip hop movement was just erupting, there was an explosion of creative’s and Rachel found herself in the centre of it all. With Soul II Soul, Jamie Morgan and Nenah Cherry, with the Bristol and London parallel they were all making their ways along the same creative road.
Modeling lead to selling and for a short while Rachel worked in the designer showrooms however, not quite fulfilled, Rachel set her sights on bigger things. Vivienne Westwood’s World’s End store in the Kings Road was all the rage and as ever Rachel was at the forefront of London fashion. Through Rachel’s wonderful ability to connect with people she landed the job of Vivienne Westwood’s personal secretary and there she stayed for five years. Arranging all of her shows, collections, photo libraries and press, Rachel’s time with Vivienne Westwood saw the creation of the ‘Mini- Criny’ collection, a favorite of mine, inspired by the ballet Petrushka and Disney cartoons, the collection was full of masculine shoulder pads, the crinoline tutu’s and extremely fitted tight hips. As Westwood’s right hand girl, she helped open the Davies St store. With her rocking horse shoes trotting amongst the fashion greats, she even had crinolines lamp shades in her flat!
Rachel left Vivienne to start a label with Bella Freud before later moving on to work with Michael Kopelman at Gimme 5, representing Stussy, Hysteric Glamour, Supreme and Judy Blane. From dressing Take That, taking care of the visual merchandising for the shop windows at Browns for Joan Bernstein, this ladies fashion life has been quite something. Rachel’s life had been full of twist and turns but something that changed her life forever was when her best friend past away, she left Rachel her most precious treasure, her daughter. Now a mother of three girls, Rachel felt it was time for a change of lifestyle, looking for a better place to bring up her girls, the forever fabulous Rachel chose to relocate to Ibiza, 15 happy years have gone by, in that time she ran the China White bar, put her children into international school and enjoyed the peace that Ibiza instills in many. Rachel is a leading Buddhist in Ibiza but had been chanting Nam – Myoho – Renge Kyo since she was 21.
On meeting with Rachel, initially last year and then again for this story, I found her to be very humble, peaceful, and an extremely kind and creative lady. She has conquered and achieved so much. She loves her life, and what a life she has to love. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you Rachel Parsons for creating a space for fashion in Ibiza, and bringing Ibiza to the forefront of the fashion world. She is a true fashion Queen, not many people have Galliano as godfather to their daughter! When I ask Rachel what’s next for the future, she tells me Atzaro and her herself are ready to rock the big designers. They have the perfect location, the perfect audience, let’s remember Ibiza has a clientele from all over the world, with many of fashion’s key players, such as Marc Jacobs and Giorgio Armani, holidaying here, I’m in agreement, it seems to be the perfect place for designers to show their collections.