Bloom with its own calendar and venue for the very first time
Bloom with its own calendar and venue for the very first time

Porto, top floor of the CTT Palace. Spectators, lots of them, occupying the square metres, giving warmth to a space devoid of decorative elements and livened up only by the posters for an event bringing young fashion designers and musical projects together. Cement is the visiting card here and the sponsor of a début which should also be solid for the project. On 13 and 14 October, this was the setting for the Bloom fashion shows.

The independence of the young designer fashion shows was one of the novelties in the Portugal Fashion project for this event. The promotional potential of the young designers was the driving force behind a winning bet, brought to life in 12 fashion shows where the protagonists were the pride of national fashion. For the President of ANJE – National Association of Young Entrepreneurs and the Chairman of the Board of Portugal Fashion, João Rafael Koehler, this emancipation "was intended to give the Bloom project greater relevance in the event's calendar of fashion shows, thus increasing public exposure of the collections by the young designers”. "We hope that this new method will make the shows by new talents in fashion attract greater media interest and give them greater promotional capacity, in particular with buyers. And the young designers will certainly enjoy better logistic conditions and greater conceptual freedom in their fashion shows”, in the opinion of the president.

At the very start of the event, the only Bloom fashion show held in Lisbon presented the HIBU. label collection, now exclusively developed by young designer Marta Gonçalves. In "Amboy”, "the beige of the desert, the light and dark blue of a clear sky and the black of the depths of craters” are the dominant colours, in an introspective collection that deals with the theme of rebirth after a period of darkness and solitude. Red symbolises the "strength gained throughout the process” (this process is related to the fact that the label is once again represented by only one person), as do the belts that define the silhouettes. But a common denominator continues to mark the DNA of HIBU.: unisex, even androgynous, clothing.

For the very first time, an independent venue for Bloom

Further north, the CTT Palace was the meeting point for artistic experimentation, the venue where all the other Bloomers made their presentations. During the breaks between the fashion shows, the mini-concerts by Portuguese pop-rock indie bands, such as Blac Koyote, Krake, Landforms and Tanz Arbeiter, and DJ sets defined the tone necessary for the urban culture festival that took place there. On the seats, Bloomzine – another novelty at this event – was perused with interest. As a matter of interest, the name comes from the play of words of the English term fanzine (joining the words fanatic and magazine), which made perfect sense as it was a journal exclusively dedicated to the young designers, with irreverent aesthetics and nonsense interviews.

Another novelty in the line-up. The individual débuts of Beatriz Bettencourt, David Catalán, Inês Torcato and Olimpia Davide, as reported by RTP, were part of a formula for success by the Bloom laboratory, lending colour to the indoor and outdoor catwalk on the seventh floor, with a privileged view over the famous Avenida dos Aliados in Porto.

Bloom was opened in Porto by the collections from young Beatriz Bettencourt and Olimpia Davide. In a joint fashion show, the "Retrograde” proposals from Beatriz Bettencourt reveal "a relaxed spirit with sporty lines”, reinterpreting the silhouette of the 1970s, emphasised by the "longer length of the garments, the lack of armholes and the oversized widths". On the other hand, the "B” in the brand logo is used as a detail on the clothing – on pockets, cuts and cut-outs – showing the more experimental purpose of the collection. Olimpia Davide, inspired by a trip she made to Turkey, designed a collection where navy and grey are the predominant colours, contrasting with neon slippers. Silhouettes constructed with volume and clearly symmetrical, pointing to a "relaxed, sporty attitude". The key item is the t-shirt, and the main materials are the ribbing, polo shirt plackets and elastic, this latter item transformed into a bra strap as a way of adjusting and raising the garments.

Eduardo Amorim was the third name to take to the catwalk on the second day of fashion shows. The rebelliousness of grunge in the 1990s in the world today was transported to "aggressive, comfortable and mundane aesthetics”. This is "Seattle Mess” (), described as "sloppy finishes, with intentional, even careless, imperfections and signs of wear”. Maria Kobrock, who stood out at the last event for her use of the pink palette in her entire collection, chose to adopt shades of green and blue for the next summer season. In "The Tender Indifference of the World”, the works of Albert Camus are the source of inspiration and the concepts explored are the current of absurdity and abstract expressionism.

Inês Torcato and David Catalán were next up in the schedule. In a joint fashion show, the young designer from Porto began by proposing coordinates in a "classic, deconstructed language”, used on garments such as blazers, overcoats and shirts. The "Sketch (Self-Portrait)” collection, was immediately followed by David Catálan's suggestions. Absorbing the mystique of the London bar, The Gallery, the young Spaniard who adopted Portugal as his second home invites you to "Forget About It", with fun, colourful and patterned items.

Sara Maia appealed to a concept of Universal Fashion, which does not look at specific groups or create divides. With night beginning to fall, it was the turn of Pedro Neto from Santo Tirso to take to the catwalk. This time, his proposals, normally inspired by works of art, absorbed his vision of Arnold Böcklin's painting, "Isle of the Dead”. The concept of the collection revolves around "a love story whose high point is delivering the soul of his loved one to the underworld”. To this end, the fabrics used recall cylinders with wrinkled finishes. The main material used is lurex and the colours involve an obscure palette interconnecting with the nature present in the painting.

The UN T duo, Tiago Silva and Joana Cardinal, presented a hot collection "based on the formation of materials and shapes that envelop a body, functioning as an extension of it". The result? Vigorous constructions of light, intangible shapes. Closing the fashion shows on 13 October was another label, this time a trio. K L A R, by Andreia Oliveira, Alexandre Marrafeiro and Tiago Carneiro, a label that sought to applaud "the aesthetic wealth of daily life" in their summer coordinates. The collection is openly oversized, evoking memories of a child trying on their parent's clothes. Pleats adjusted to the body by rings and everyday tools and materials such as jersey and nylon dominate.

The Bloom fashion shows at this event went on until the morning of the third day of Portugal Fashion SS17, this time with an exclusive calendar for the fashion schools. This was the stage for the presentation of the work of final year students from ESAD – Matosinhos Higher Institute of Art and Design (Cláudia Duque, Lúcia Pinheiro, Denise Brosseron, Ana Eusébio, Mariana Campinho and Francisca Sottomayor), from EMP – Porto Fashion School (Daniela Ribeiro, Filipa Sousa-Pinto, Gisela Soares, Inês Assunção, Leonor Dias, Nina Vale and Tânia Viegas) and Modatex-  Professional Training Centre for the Textile, Clothing, Apparel and Wool Industry (Sofia Martins, Filipa Cruz, Vânia Moreira, Filipe Augusto, Ana João Azevedo e Beatriz Arrojado).

35 young designers supported by Bloom

The Bloom project was created by Portugal Fashion in 2010, at the 27th event, in order to nationally and internationally support, publicise and promote young Portuguese designers. The word Bloom means to flourish, blossom, glow. Since the very first event, the Bloom project has made it possible for 35 young designers and six new designer labels to present their collections on the event’s alternative catwalk. Alexandre Marrafeiro, Ana Segurado, Andreia Lexim, Carla Pontes, Carlos Couto, Catarina Santos, Celsus, Cláudia Garrido, Daniela Barros, Diana Matias, Eduardo Amorim, Elionai Campos, Estelita Mendonça, Gonçalo Páscoa, Hugo Costa, Inês Marques, Iúri, Joana Ferreira, João Melo Costa, João Rôla, Mafalda Fonseca, Margarida Gentil, Maria Martins, Maria Kobrock, O Simone, Pedro Jorge, Pedro Neto, Pedro Pinto, Pilar Pastor, Pritt Franco, Rita Gilman, Sara Maia, Stefano Ficetola, Susana Bettencourt, Teresa Abrunhosa, as well as the Align With Kay, Atelier Ctrl, Autopsy (by Jordann Santos), HIBU., K L A R and UN T labels.

The names of young designers Beatriz Bettencourt, David Catalán, Inês Torcato and Olimpia Davide (pseudonym of Inês Marques), who made their débuts on the Bloom catwalk at this 39th Portugal Fashion, must now be added to that list.

Some of these young Bloom designers have participated in international fashion shows and showrooms with the support of Portugal Fashion, or its complementary commercial project, Next Step, and have been present at important fashion events in London, Vienna, Paris, Copenhagen and Madrid.