Ana de Pombo

Ana de Pombo, print in the Museo Grabados Marbella
Ana de Pombo, print in the Museo Grabados Marbella

ANA de POMBO in Marbella

by Chris Chaplow and Fiona Flores Watson

Ana de Pombo (Ana Caller Donesteve) (1900 - 1985) was originally from a village called La Cavada near Santander. She founded a fashion line in 1928 in Paris called Chez Elviana. Coco Chanel asked Ana to manage her public relations, which she did from 1929 to 1933.

Ana went to London and later she worked as a fashion designer in Buenos Aires. She was contracted by Eva Peron to outfit her European tour; she also designed costumes for films. Her second husband was Fernando Capurro, a marriage of convenience that only lasted three months. But she also met her third husband in Buenos Aires, Pablo Oliveras, an architect who was the love of her life. Ana returned to Paris and was sent to prison; Coco Chanel and Picasso help secure her release. She opened a fashion and decoration store in Madrid called Tebas, where her clients included Carmen Polo, wife of Franco.

Ana moved to Marbella in 1957 and collaborated with Pepe Carleton in a salon de té called El Camello de Oro. She also hired a garage on Avenida Ricardo Sorriano (corner of Calle Huerta Chica) and made it into Ana de Pombo - a fashion shop (Marbella's first boutique), florist, dance studio and hairdressers.

On 25 May 1961 she opened her decoration and fashion shop La Maroma. Jean Cocteau presented panels he had painted as an opening present, and spent time with her during his stay in Marbella that summer. The business was not a financial success and when the creditors arrived to look at the furniture, Ana went below to dance. As a dancer, her name was Ana de España, and she was famous as one of the first people ever to use castanets.

After Cocteau's death, in 1964, Ana opened her last business, at Calle Valdes 3 (by Plaza de los Naranjos). She placed a cannon in the street outside, which remains there to this day. the business closed in 1968 due to her ill-health. She published books of poetry in 1960 and 1971; in 1978 she sold the chalet she had purchased for Cocteau in Nagueles.

Cannon placed by Anna de Plombo at entrance to Orange Square Marbella
Cannon placed by Anna de Plombo at entrance to Orange Square Marbella

The last chapter of Ana's life was in an old people's home in Madrid, paid for by banker Ignacio Coca and his wife Silvia Moroder. Ana died on 14 December 1980. She was interred in the family Parthenon in Ampudia de Campos, Palencia.

A full biography of Ana de Pombo (in Spanish) by Juan Francisco Quevedo also from La Cavada published in 2021 to mark International Womens Day. Download PDF


Living in Andalucia