As the brand new Start Up edition of the Portugal Fashion Show Spring Summer 2012 was inaugurated, The Daily Couture was invited to discover it in beautiful city of Porto. The city is best known as one of Europe’s world heritage sites with its wine lodges being the most sought-after attraction along with the architecture.
ATTENDING PORTUGAL FASHION SHOWSPRING SUMMER 2012
However time consuming fashion weeks may be — especially in Porto where shows run from 12pm to 12am! — not to mention the great local architecture was out of question!, taking the time to have a look at the city was definitively worth while. A few months before my trip, Architecture in Porto, referred to as “the School of Porto,” had been rewarded with the Pritzker Prize, le Nobel Prize in Architecture, to Eduardo de Moura. He was the second Portuguese architect to receive the award after Alvaro Siza Viera in 1992. The city of 237,559 inhabitants has three architectural works built by Pritzker Prize’s winners, meaning there’s a hot density of creativity in the city!
Below, Casa da Musica, Rem Koolhaas, photo : Christian Richters
This was quite an inspiring discovery of a city well known for its textile industry and cork production, producing sustainable corks that are increasingly used in design!
I share with you my picks from the spring/summer 2012 fashion week including photos paying homage to this “anonymous architecture, a well-built yet simple objective and little narrative architecture,” an explanation from our winner of the 2011 Pritzker Prize.
I particularly enjoyed discovering the TM Collection by Teresa Martins. Her highly feminine springtime silhouettes exude the beauty of light and a comfortable mix of flower-printed and solid colored fabrics with subtle embroidered textile finishing. The designer claims that the TM collection is dedicated to the mystic woman… and it works! I The collection really succeeded in avoiding fashion rural or country stereotypes and presented a highly personal vision of the mystic woman , which was not an easy statement to build on!
The Felipe Oliveira Baptista collection, below, combined pastels and citrus colored silhouettes. It explored cuts and volumes with the use of zips. What do you think of the three designs below where the zip originally structures the fabrics, which then ended up as caftans or jackets?!
Other picks, below : the sexy and pumped-up vinyl by Fátima Lopes. On the left, a design by Katty Xiomara inspired by the imaginary of the butterfly and who presented a very ethereal collection. In the middle, the urban and preppy collection of Lion of Porches taken backstage, and on the right, the street wear and sportswear touch with Luis Buchinho collection.
photos : backstage : Storytailors and Ana Salazar, Spring Summer 2012
MARGARIDA GENTIL : EXPLORING CORK FABRIC
This was the core strength of the Porto Fashion Week: becoming a fashion hub! Renown Portuguese designers, local ones and fashion students, could present their respective collection at the event. There lies the pros of a smaller fashion week : all the fashion designers can be met and unexpected encounters can and will occur! I met Margarida Gentil, a young fashion designer who graduated but who is still perfecting her expertise in printed textile in the Porto fashion school, Modatex. Her collection was made from a new and increasingly talked about fabric, the cork fabric. The potential of the cork fabric needs to be explored by the fashion industry, Gentil claimed.
Working with cork fabric is the same as working with leather and suede leathers, she insisted. The challenge, according to Gentil, is not about how to create with cork fabric but to convince the fashion industry of its convenient use in fashion.
In spite of it still being in its infancy, research on how to use cork fabric in fashion has been carried out and it is now possible to have colorful and printed cork fabric. Some very impressive samples were showed to me as I was visiting Amorim, the Portuguese world leader in cork production. The research focuses on the possibility for the cork fabric to become the alternative to leather, Amorim explained. Cork fabric holds a potential for a huge market dedicated to people who don’t want to wear leather shoes for eco-friendly concerns, he said.
“THE COURAGE OF THE PORTUGAL FASHION SHOW : TO DECIDE TO ORGANIZE ITS BIGGEST EDITION IN A TIME OF PESSIMISM”
Putting new Portuguese fashion talents in the spotlight was the goal of the brand new 29th edition of the show. The organizers’ plan is to renew the Portuguese fashion generation and make it known to the fashion industry.
Besides the usual venues for fashion catwalk, an “informal convivial and urban space” called BLOOM was conceived to view fashion as an “experimental, more risky and innovative practice,” the organizers explain. They bet on young designers, recently graduated, and emerging designers.
There were 14 fashion happenings (that’s twice as many as the previous edition), 11 young designers (instead of eight) and the le Porto Fashion Show event revealing promising European fashion designers selected by five prestigious fashion schools such as the Centro Superior de Diseno de Moda from Madrid representing Spain, the Atelier Chardon-Savard for France, The Institute Marangoni for Italy, The HELMo- Haute école libre Mosane for Belgium. The International jury international was presided by Portuguese fashion designer Felipe Oliveira Baptiste who is the artistic director of Lacoste. The prize? 20 000 euros was to be shared by several award winners.
The first prize winner was the French designer Bertille Goux from the Atelier Chardon Savard. Below, two of her designs can be discovered. She now wishes to participate in the next International Festival of Fashion and Photography in Hyères. To be followed.
The shortfilms competition dedicated to the creative people in Porto. Organized by the ANJE, it wants to boost the use of multimedia creativity as a tool to enhance the creative industries in the country and specifically in Porto, hence the idea of its hip name, Portovity, a king of Porto Touch indeed !
The idea is all about “enhancing the dynamism within the whole national fashion industry” in order to “develop its economic and international potential while re-creating value in the territory and stressing its cultural richness.”
In light of this context, this new edition of the Portugal Fashion Week consisted of regrouping fashion designers who are used to presenting their collections in catwalks as well as designers working in the more commercial industries of ready-to-wear shoes and jewelry. As a result, we were shown collections which varied tremendously depending on the market.
This challenging program pointed out the courage of the Portugal Fashion Show to decide to organize its biggest edition in time of pessimism in the country, a stance taken by Francesco Maria Balsemao, president of the ANJE (Associa ofção Nacional de Jovens Empresários).
At last, to finish this article off with a happy ending, let’s stress that, for the first semester of 2011, Portugal increased its textile industry exportation by 13,2% compared to the same month last year, an observation made by UBIFRANCE “This sign of exportation recovery needs to be also explained in light of the increase of raw materials costs and labor costs in Asia ; many international companies intend to go back to subcontracting from countries that are closer to them. Such well-known brands as Benetton, Judith Lacroix, Next, Inditex, Guess, Calvin Klein or Levi’s are going back to Portugal or chose to develop more business with Portugal. And the Made in Portugal label is gaining a reputation beyond Portugal thanks to renown designers such as Fátima Lopes, Ana Salazar… “
Translation by Camille Davis