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Over 20 designers and 14 labels at the 37 fashion shows in the 38th Portugal Fashion
Over 20 designers and 14 labels at the 37 fashion shows in the 38th Portugal Fashion
It was a vast and eclectic Portugal Fashion's line-up. It opened at the Beato Convent in Lisbon on 16 March and continued for more three days in Porto, where the majority of the shows had been held. This 38th event had designer fashion by well-known and emerging designers, commercial lines from the industry and coordinates by young designers in the Bloom project, which is dedicated to new talents. In all, there were 24 designers (22 individual designers and two duos), eight clothing labels and six footwear labels, 13 young designers (five individuals and eight finalists in the Bloom Competition) and three young designer labels.

Given this diversity of proposals, João Rafael Koehler, the President of ANJE, the event organiser. believed that "the 38th Portugal Fashion had a good balance between designer fashion, designs for the market and proposals from young designers. This has always been the idea behind Portugal Fashion, but I believe that the programme of shows at this event realised our ambition to embrace the various aspects of fashion particularly well”, concluded.

This was, in fact, one of the biggest shows ever put on by Portugal Fashion, an event that celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. The 38th Portugal Fashion autumn/winter 2016-17 had 37 fashion shows: 21 designer collections, 10 young designer coordinates and six commercial lines of clothing and footwear labels. "Such a large number of shows, designers, labels and young designers is a sign of the vitality of Portugal Fashion and the Portuguese fashion sector”, is the assurance given by João Rafael Koehler.

In Porto, the event had been held in the Matosinhos CEIIA – Centre for Excellence and Innovation in the Automobile Industry, an infrastructure for the Mobility Industries cluster designed for holding trials and tests and making structural calculations. It was in the almost cybernetic atmosphere of this modern building that the six shows on the second day of the 38th Portugal Fashion were held, with Júlio Torcato inaugurating the catwalk. He was followed by designer Pedro Pedro and then Hugo Costa, who presented his first individual show on the event’s main catwalk.

The calendar of shows continued with the first appearance at Portugal Fashion of Pé de Chumbo, Alexandra Oliveira’s designer label that favours the use of fabrics in her creations for women. It should be noted that although this is the first time Pé de Chumbo has taken part in the event, it has already received support from Portugal Fashion in its participation at Tranoï Femme, a textile trade show that was held this month during the Paris Prêt-à-Porter Week. This time, Pé de Chumbo had used the Portugal Fashion catwalk to present a collection with "some ethnic inspiration” and which stood out for its "mixture of thick strands of wool and the delicacy of fine transparent lace, with colour contrasts between suave pinks and beiges and greys and blacks with red details. According to the label, "this collection reflects the main theme and the distinctive motif of Pé de Chumbo: textures”.

The first day of shows in Porto ended with two designers that are very closely linked with Portugal Fashion and that are certainly part of the history of Portuguese fashion: Anabela Baldaque and Fátima Lopes. The Porto stylist presented her "A Vizinha” (The Neighbour) collection, where the predominant features were waterproofs, thick fabrics and hairy wool, printed knits, lace, brocade and plain fabrics in colours that include greys and silver, deep blues, pearl and whites, mustard, blacks and gold. The silhouette was varied: long and tight or short and loose.

Young designers on the main catwalk

In the Porto Customs House, the nerve centre of this Portugal Fashion, the event opened at 3:30 pm on Friday with a joint show by two young designers who have moved from the Bloom project catwalk to the main catwalk. They were Carla Pontes and Mafalda Fonseca, whose collections have a quality and maturity that had allowed them to take part in the official calendar of the event. In turn, Daniela Barros, had once again revealed her collection on the main catwalk, but this time it was an individual show. This young designer also started by presenting her coordinates at Bloom. More recently, she moved up to the main catwalk and she is now presenting her collection in a show for her creations only.

In the middle of the afternoon, new faces made their début at Portugal Fashion, this time from Mozambique. This was the collective show by the Ideias a Metro label (a project by Carla Pinto, a Portuguese designer living in Mozambique) and two young Mozambican designers, Omar Adelino and Shaazia Adam. The presence of these designers was under the scope of a partnership between Portugal Fashion and Mozambique Fashion Week, which is considered to be the most dynamic fashion week in Africa. It is important to remember that Portugal Fashion produced the shows by Miguel Vieira, Roselyn Silva and Micaela Oliveira in the Polana Serena Hotel in Maputo during Mozambique Fashion Week last December.

The third day of Portugal Fashion ended with a number of very interesting shows, where the new collections by Elsa Barreto, Carlos Gil, Diogo Miranda, Luís Onofre and Miguel Vieira were revealed. In his "Cor” (Colour) collection, Miguel Vieira has defined a woman’s silhouette consisting of "informal, structured lines, voluminous lines that do not hide her femininity, long and extra-long heights and a loose, purist fit”. For men, the new collection proposed "structured suits and beautifully cut trousers”. The colours chosen by the stylist were caviar black, mustard yellow, dark navy blue, Olympus blue with a mixture of sapphire and cobalt shades and marshmallow white.

The last day of shows began at 12:30 pm at the Tram Museum, with the proposals from Luís Buchinho. Called "The missing piece”, the new collection "takes all its inspiration from three-dimensional puzzle pieces, carrying you into a universe dominated by the idea of construction”. To this end, the designer "revisits classic items and deconstructs the original shapes of dresses as we know them. Wool, jersey and leather collide to create a remarkable two-dimensional, graphic effect”. The colours were neutral: black, navy blue and greenish grey. "The collection is the actual expression of the urban spirit where femininity is confronted with a masculinity as complex as an unsolvable puzzle”, the designer said. 

After Nuno Baltazar’s collection, revealed at 2:30 pm at the Porto Customs House, the usual collective footwear and clothing label show was held. The new footwear collections from JJ Heitor, Ambitious, Fly London, Nobrand, J. Reinaldo and Dkode were presented. Then it was the turn of the new ready-to-wear lines by Mad Dragon Seeker, Concreto and Cheyenne. One of the models in the Cheyenne show was a young man with Down’s syndrome, under the scope of a partnership between Portugal Fashion and the Palco Sem Barreiras association.

Début of Ana Sousa and return of Alexandra Moura 

During the afternoon, was time for stylist Ana Sousa to make her début at Portugal Fashion. Her label, of the same name, has 59 shops in countries including Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg, South African and Switzerland and her collections are present in over 310 multi-brand shops all over the world. During the event, Ana Sousa presented her "Timeless” collection. According to the designer, "it is marked by eternal femininity and recreates a glamour concealed in past influences, reliving eternal stories and memories”. The silhouettes range from light and loose with floral prints in winter shades, to sinuous with organic shapes, to tight with relaxed, unfettered items in lace and napa leather. In turn, "transparency and overlaps highlight the sexier, bolder side of the collection”.

After Katty Xiomara’s show, of note was the return to the event of Alexandra Moura, one of the most important Portuguese designers nowadays. She took part in Portugal Fashion in 1996 and, more recently, she was on the calendar with her collection designed for the Goldmud footwear label. Alexandra Moura already made her return during London Fashion Week, with the support of Portugal Fashion, where the designer had the opportunity to exhibit her autumn/winter 2016-17 collection, not only in showroom format but also through a performance open to specialised press and international buyers.

At the 38th Portugal Fashion, Alexandra Moura presented her "WoMan” collection, "a reflection on the impact of the feminine on the masculine and vice-versa” inspired by the "character and spirituality of Anohni (F.K.A. Antony Hegarty)”. "The classic silhouette is deconstructed and becomes contemporary. The weight of the materials reveals the comforting image of a blanket that protects from a "false identity". The sophistication of the textures and patterns gives the garments the romance and plasticity of another era. The collection breaks free in a mixture of feminine and masculine characteristics in one being, spirit and energy”, the designer explained.

The 38th Portugal Fashion ended with the best of the national clothing industry. First, haute couture from Dielmar, then British inspired ready-to-wear clothes from Lion of Porches and finally men’s classics from Vicri.

It should be noted that before the shows in Porto, the collections for the next cold season by the well-known Storytailors and Alves/Gonçalves, emerging designers Susana Bettencourt and Estelita Mendonça and the young designers from the HIBU label and Arte Moda by Casa Pia were presented at the Beato Convent in Lisbon. The event began with the presentation of the final projects from the students on the technical professional Fashion Design course at Casa Pia, in a collective show publicising the talent of the young designers trained at the institute.

Portugal Fashion is a project under the auspices of ANJE — National Association of Young Entrepreneurs, in partnership with ATP – Textile and Clothing Association of Portugal, and is currently funded by Portugal 2020 – Compete 2020.