Meet Marta Ortega, Zara’s golden girl and the most powerful woman in fashion you’ve never heard of

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Despite all these trappings, and her front row seat at Valentino couture shows, the 37-year-old  generally steers clear of the fashion party circuit, favouring the equestrian crowd instead. For the past 14 years, however, she has also held an integral – if undefined – role at her father’s company. Come April, she will become the most powerful woman in fashion you’ve never heard of, when she assumes the role of chairman of Inditex.

It’s a familiar kind of story: company founder grooms son or daughter, before handing over the reins to their empire. It’s a compelling one too – the combination of family and business can be explosive, as we’ve seen in the stranger-than-fiction plotline of Ridley Scott’s new House of Gucci film and television dramas such as Succession and Empire.

In a rare interview with the Wall Street Journal in August, Marta claimed she had no plans to take a more formal leadership role. You could almost imagine Succession’s Shiv Roy breezily saying the same thing to a reporter, despite her ambitions for the top job. But that’s where the similarities with the HBO hit end.

Although she has never had an official job title, Marta has been the chosen one from the get-go. The only child of Amancio and his current wife, Flora Pérez Marcote, she has two older siblings from her father’s first marriage to Rosalía Mera Goyenechea, with whom he founded Zara in 1975: Marcos, 50, who was born with cerebral palsy, and Sandra, 53, who became Spain’s richest woman when she inherited her mother’s seven per cent stake in Inditex in 2013 and devotes her time to Fundación Paideia Galizak, the charity Rosalía founded to support people with mental and physical disabilities. 

Marta, meanwhile, quite literally worked her way up from the shop floor, having started her career as a sales assistant at Zara’s King’s Road store (the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite branch) in 2007 after graduating from the European Business School in London. “The first week, I thought I was not going to survive,” she told the Wall Street Journal of that time. “But then you kind of get addicted to the store.”

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