August 6, 2021

“There is no problem feeling confused, vulnerable or emotional”

Mafalda has fun changing her style, trying poses in front of the camera, humming the songs that play in the background in the photo studio. Fashion, art and music have always been present in his life. “It has been a gift to have a mother who dedicates so much to her work, on weekends she took us to galleries and museums, I learned and absorbed culture thanks to her. In our house we are quite artistic, and I think that is largely why ”, he reflects. Because Mafalda Saxe-Coburg-Gotha is the daughter of Prince Kyril of Bulgaria and Rosario Nadal, Valentino’s muse in the 1990s and a respected independent advisor to private art collectors. She has not started collecting, she lives focused on music, but firmly assures that if she did, it would be with a work by the American Elizabeth Peyton.

About to turn 27 – on July 27 – she prefers to be called by her name simply, without surnames, because despite being a character known from the cradle she wants to set her own rhythm. “I do interviews to talk about my work, you have to make the music go as far as possible,” he reflects.

By speaking, he unconsciously mixes English and Spanish, he says that he is enjoying living in Madrid for the first time. “I was going to move earlier, I had the flight for March 16, 2020, when they closed everything,” he says. Confinement changed her plans, but she kept the intention of settling in Spain to present her first songs in Spanish. Because in the beginning he always sang in English: he began to perform in public with a friend who played the guitar and with whom he went to open microphone nights in London pubs on Wednesdays; to enter the prestigious Berklee music school –where Grammy winners such as St. Vincent, Diana Krall and Juan Luis Guerra were trained– he intoned I’d rather go blind, by Etta James, and he also chose that language in his official debut concert, during the Massimo Dutti fall-winter 2017 collection show at Casa América in Madrid.

«You and I / We are confused / You and I / We are crazy / And a little brokenHe hums to check the acoustics of the studio. Too much echo, perfectionist concludes. The issue has not yet come to light, when these photos are taken, it is preparing its launch –on June 22– in detail. On April 8 he released the EP Dancing mindlessly, second job after his debut, Daisy Chain (2019). «Although I wrote it at the same time, I always knew that Broken It had to be a separate song, to come out at the time I thought it had to be released, ”he stresses, joking that he would love for it to become a summer hit. “As I have spent my whole life on holidays in Mallorca, the song of the summer makes me think about being here, in Spain,” he says. He can’t help but smile when talking about his mother’s island. With her he went to his first concert, Coldplay, at the age of eight. «I do what I do thanks to my parents, for the amount of music they have given us [a ella y a sus hermanos, Olimpia y Tassilo]: the concerts my mother took me to, the music documentaries I watched with my father… ”, he says.

Corset, pants and cummerbund from ALEJANDRE STUDIO. Photo: Antarctica

One of the first records he bought was “by an English girl band called Girls Aloud.” As a teenager he listened to Bebe on a loop. “It was inspiring for meI’ve always admired his work, ”he says. Far from those references, his style has evolved until he found his own path: if the critics labeled his first work as dark pop, his new songs sound different, a pop with more electronic winks and very personal lyrics. “There is no problem in feeling confused, vulnerable or emotional, you are not alone when that happens, you are not the only one who is dancing without meaning.” His message is accompanied by an aesthetic bet, because Mafalda enjoys fashion. As a child, she learned from Valentino “the importance of styling and of being yourself, of getting the best out of yourself”, something that now applies to her career. To define the image of his EP, he collaborated with the Barcelona studio Querida –which has developed projects with the photographer Carlota Guerrero, the designer Paloma Wool or the singer Solange Knowles– and likes to bet on new names. On the cover, he wears a body and cycling pants from Onrush, a young creative duo based in Barcelona, ​​and at the presentation concert on April 21 he wore a set by Alejandre Studio, Sandra Peñaranda Alejandre’s booming brand. «I discovered her on Instagram and contacted her. There are many people, creatives, artists, that I have met like this », he explains,« because I love discovering new designers, being there from the beginning and the beginning, supporting us… I remember watching a documentary with my father that told how Edward Enninful [actual director de la edición británica de Vogue] It started with Kate Moss, and I like to feel that, with my friends from London, from Berklee, from here, to see how we grow and build a community. The love of art, of creativity, drives her to explore. “For me, fashion is another way of expressing myself, fashion and music go hand in hand in everything.” A dream? “I would love to sing in the Valentino show, it’s something they started doing a few seasons ago with FKA Twigs or Labrinth.”

At the moment it is going direct to direct. This summer he adds events such as the Atlàntida de Mallorca festival and his name appears on the Primavera Sound 2022 poster, led by figures such as Dua Lipa, Lorde, Jorja Smith or Megan Thee Stallion. “There is so much talent from women or bands of women that today there is no excuse for there to be more men headlining. This is how everything was before, a masculine world, but in this new world we live in there is no excuse. Make the change, that’s all », ditch. Referents and mutual support, she defends, are fundamental for this transformation of the industry to be real: «Yes, I have experienced machismo and I have to say that I feel very grateful to have been surrounded by women musicians, producers or composers who have always He gave very good advice that has allowed me to be stronger and has taught me how to move forward and not let that machismo overwhelm you or stop you, that you are worth more ».


Mafalda wears a natural wood mesh dress from DROME and sandals from GIVENCHY. Photo: Antarctica

Over and over again, she returns to how important it is for her to form creative networks. In his new life in Madrid, he has forged bonds that mix the personal and the professional; laughs that he would love to participate in MasterChef with her friends the photographer Rocío Aguirre and the singer Sandra Delaporte. His specialty is Eggplant Parmesan [berenjenas a la parmesana]. »What I like the most is getting together with friends at home, cooking, laughing, playing music,” he stresses. And he transfers that spirit to his plan for the future, to continue sharing ideas, exploring artistic projects: «Creativity and culture nurture and help us. Listening to a song, watching a movie, a painting, reading a poem … These are the things that are there in hard times ».

* Styling: Natalia Bengoechea. Makeup and hairdressing: Miguel Ángel Tragacete for Kevin Murphy Spain and Le Pure. Styling assistant: Sergio Martínez de Maya.

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