Portugal Fashion SS17
Portugal Fashion SS17

36 fashion shows were held in four emblematic buildings, with a total audience of 25,000 people. For the first time in the history of the project, there was an exclusive day for the Bloom platform. A new graphics identity was revealed. It was, basically, a Portugal Fashion event that precisely sewed together the threads dictating the trends for the next summer season.

An autumn evening brightened up by golden reflections and accompanied by a refreshing breeze off the Tagus. This was the setting for the first day of the 39th Portugal Fashion in the Portugal Pavilion, a reference building in contemporary world architecture, by the well-known architect from Porto, Álvaro Siza Vieira.

Once again, the opening was in the hands of the Storytailors duo, who presented a collection inspired on a "creativity smuggler”, continuing on with the story they had begun the previous season. In "Black Hills”, the proposals from Luís Sanchez and João Branco deal with "patterns developed from the texture of trees native to the Alentejo”, brought to life with surgical laser cuts, favouring the overlapping of layers and an abundance of textures. The main materials used were "cork, cotton, gabardine, satin, georgette and tulle". As night began to fall, it was time for the second presentation, by Pedro Pedro. Recently back from Milano Moda Donna, where he made his individual international début, the highlights of the designer's coordinates for the next warm season were fluid, feminine silhouettes with a "relaxed look”. This detail was shown in the raw, ragged finishes without, however, compromising the elegance and sophistication of the items. It should also be noted that the imagery in this collection is based on the films and enigmatic universe of American director David Lynch.

The HIBU. label, whose design creativity now comes exclusively from young designer Marta Gonçalves, opened the Bloom fashion shows in the capital. This was an "isolated event” as, this time round, the platform bringing new talents in national fashion into the limelight earned the right to an exclusive day on the event calendar. All the other Bloom fashion shows were presented at the CTT Palace in Porto. It is only right then to have a special article dedicated to the bloomers. Still at the Portugal Pavilion, it was the turn of Alexandra Moura to present the collection she had revealed a few weeks earlier at London Fashion Week, which was held in the prestigious The London Edition hotel, with creative direction from Wonderland Magazine. In Portugal, the catwalk highlighted the subtle and romantic details of the items, which imbibed inspiration from the famous Victorian jewellery, Lover’s Eyes. With innovative clothing and using high-tech techniques, in a collection entitled "I’ve got my eyes on you”, the highlights were "light shades of denim blue and the different shades of black, as well as emerald green, lavender and a jacquard pattern with floral motifs”. Closing the first day of the event, the proposals from the experienced Alves/Gonçalves duo for the next summer season take "the shirt as a starting point”. This key item then permits evolution to a more complex universe, creating new items of feminine clothing where oversized items and straight and asymmetric cuts dominate. Lace, net, georgette, chiffon, silk and cotton, covered in technical finishes, are the materials that stand out. As for the colours, "black stands side-by-side with patterns inspired by botany and geometry”, while pink, blue and white complete an essentially metallic palette. The style is accentuated "with belts and metal buckles, and knee-high boots in a street look.

Portugal Fashion continues in the north

Let us now travel directly to Porto, on the afternoon of Friday, 14 October. After the Bloom fashion shows (which were held on the second day and third morning of the event), the presentation continued at the event's headquarters, the Porto Customs House. The first designer to take to the catwalk in the Archive Room was Susana Bettencourt, in a fashion show filled with colour, where her skill with knitwear was once again plain to be seen. "Flashback” was the theme chosen for a collection inspired on childhood memories. The fashion show also clearly showed the partnership that allied the designer from the Azores with the well-known footwear label, Birkenstock. Carla Pontes and Estelita Mendonça, two young designers who began their careers at Bloom and moved to the main catwalk in the more recent Portugal Fashion events, were the names that followed in a joint fashion show. In "Cloud”, Carla Pontes once again challenges the "three-dimensional and details with clothes in a clean, versatile and urban design”, in a collection where soft shades of blue and pink dominate. Estelita Mendonça reversed his order of presentation in the fashion show, beginning with the final thanks. The spring-summer 2017 proposals from the young designer who won an award this year in the Fashion category at Prémios Novos, presented by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, carry a strong social message, given that the leitmotif is the refugee crisis, a theme that Estelita had already touched on in the 38th Portugal Fashion.

The third afternoon of Fashion continued with the fresh coordinates of doyen Júlio Torcato. On the catwalk, there was a "fusion between minimalist and classic aesthetics”, fine materials and details, the best of traditional Portuguese tailoring and the contemporary. The men's and women's proposals for summer 2017 from the designer from Porto fit under the theme "Not Only Ordinary People”, revisiting a concept that Júlio Torcato had presented ten years ago in "Ordinary People”. The predominant colours are "dark denim and bleached denim, classic stripes and lace, forest green and coral, as well as navy, beige and white”. Next came another indisputable name of the history of Portugal Fashion. Anabela Baldaque, of course. At this event, she bade farewell to the "Neighbour” (theme of her autumn-winter 2016 collection) to travel to Japan. The Japanese influence is seen in the "fine, ethereal fabrics, silk and mousseline, damask and cotton”, as well as in the floral patterns in lace and the colours used, in a palette of pastels that includes ochre yellow, white, black, marine colour, pink and peach.

Outside the Porto Customs House, dusk was beginning to fall on the waters of the Douro. Inside, it was the turn of Hugo Costa to take to the catwalk, with a collection that had been (partially) revealed at the SS17 Men's Fashion Week in Paris, where he made his début last June. At Portugal Fashion, the menswear designer from São João da Madeira innovated with a mixed fashion show, similar to the format he used at the previous event. Bushido – the strict code of conduct associated with the Samurai – is the central theme of a collection that adapts this theme in modern shapes and applications, simultaneously incorporating "volumes and textures used in Japanese martial arts”. In fact, the warrior discipline of the Samurai is plain to be seen in the "organic aesthetics” adopted, in the stripes and blocks of colour used, which vary between "grey (up to silver), black and red, in different saturations”. A farewell was said to oriental culture with the SS17 collection by Diogo Miranda, on a voyage of return to the Europe of the early 20th century. Cubism – the first avant-garde artistic movement that century – was his source of inspiration. In the coordinates, raw colours are combined with grey and brown, contrasting "with darker shades, of which black is an iconic example”. Silk stands out in the materials, present in the brocades and the technical fabrics. Diogo Miranda's fashion show also marked the return of model Luísa Beirão to the catwalk.

The second last fashion show on the third day was by Luís Onofre, who focused on a new segment in this collection: men's footwear. Inspired by the art of Classical Antiquity, the "Hellenic Garden” collection proposes for women "sandals decorated with straps of great graphic expressiveness" favouring the use of suede and satin. There are also trims with "coloured cotton cords, fringes and sequins”. In the main novelty in his collection, the men's line, the designer reinvents the classics for men who opt for a contemporary, sophisticated image. The trainers have raised soles and the Oxford models have leather or suede laces.

Closing Friday's fashion shows, Miguel Vieira once again presented his "Out of Africa” collection, this time to a Portuguese audience. The designer made his début at New York Fashion Week with the support of Portugal Fashion and it was on the catwalk in New York that the "sophisticated colonial woman who falls in love with Africa, its people and its customs” was first revealed. Naturally, tribal patterns stand out in the collection "in a shade of gold that recalls the sunset”, as well as natural patterns "almost like a camouflaged animal”. The design is modern and the lines are straight, almost austere, but "reinforced by elements of neoclassic inspiration that soften the silhouette, giving it a more feminine touch and a sometimes almost romantic elegance”. The next day, Miguel Vieira returned to the event in another vein to present his sports collection which he developed in partnership with Sport Zone and with the support of Portugal Fashion.

The last day of the 39th event brought a new location, the newly opened Cruise Terminal in the Port of Leixões, an architectural project that was a perfect symbiosis with the two fashion shows presented there. On a Saturday that started out rainy, when the time came for Luís Buchinho to reveal what he had prepared for next summer to the national audience, the sun – in keeping with the collection that had taken over the top floor of the building – was shining. The sexy, sporty look reigned, along with marked graphic lines, worked on anatomical silhouettes. The imagistic universe was completed with an aesthetic language that took its inspiration from the graphics of industrial machines and their components. Buchinho's collection was also recently presented at Paris Fashion Week Prêt-à-Porter SS17, under the scope of Portugal Fashion's international itinerary. The maritime morning ended with an appropriate fashion show by Katty Xiomara, whose collection has a nautical inspiration, in the "spongy jerseys", the "mega patterns made on watercoloured bases”, the laces that "reinterpret fishing nets” and the lurex that "reflects the gleam of the water and the sand”. In the "Agulhas Current", the Discoveries are the central theme and it was precisely in the outdoor amphitheatre at the Cruise Terminal – in a setting worthy of a postcard – that the models paraded. But the collection had already been revealed on the other side of the Atlantic at the beginning of September, at New York Fashion Week.

On the final evening of the event preceding the celebration of 40 seasons of Portugal Fashion, we left the maritime setting to return to the river environment of the Douro. At the Porto Customs House, the afternoon fashion shows were mainly dedicated to the industry, thus allying Portuguese creativity with the productive force of national labels, something the event continues to enhance and privilege. Footwear was the highlight of the first fashion show of the afternoon, with the Ambitious, Dkode, Fly London, JJ Heitor, J. Reinaldo and Nobrand labels paving the way for the presentation by the Pé de Chumbo label. This was the second time in a row the label was present at the national Portugal Fashion event, following participation in the last Altaroma in July, with the support of the national fashion project. Under the creative direction of designer Alexandra Oliveira, the collection highlights textures, through "a mixture of silk and viscose threads of different thicknesses on coloured check or plain fabric”, and identical constructions on linen. Shades of beige, black and aubergine are the dominant colours.

The menswear label Vicri, with Jorge Ferreira responsible for the creative direction, brought surprises once again this season. From the show produced on the catwalk, recalling the true spirit of Cuban culture, with colours, combinations and attitudes in line with this way of life, to the patterns used in the coordinates, varying between check and stripes. Elsa Barreto, taking part in Portugal Fashion for the third time, made her comeback with "Happiness", showing the audience a more "urban, uncompromised and sophisticated" side, where joviality reigned supreme. Organza, flowing fabrics and ruffles give the items for spring-summer 2017 a romantic, fun, light and ultra-sensorial look. Next, in a more sensual vein, came another very well-known name. Fátima Lopes presented an "aquatic, sophisticated and ultra feminine” collection, which also includes her own footwear. The silhouettes are inspired by the sea and its many states of mind, "its sparkling reflexes and its blue dégradé, its waves and its inexorable communion of twilight colours".

At the only fashion show held in the West Room, the Ana Sousa label was presented with the delicacy of smooth, sweet shades. Light, flowing materials, lace and transparent fabrics are key elements recalling "the luxurious elegance of places like Cannes or Santorini”, where the girl-woman – the central figure in this collection – is wandering about.

Returning to the Archive Room and parading to the sound of live music, the proposals from Dielmar also "took their inspiration from the rich and vibrant culture of Cuba”. Slim fit suits in wool and silk with a modern, minimalist look. The jackets, highlighting window check, with touches of colour, and fine herringbone, are interconnected with fabrics with a natural look, false plains and washes.

The second last fashion show of the night was by Carlos Gil who, after returning from Milano Moda Donna with Portugal Fashion, once again presented his "Cultural Vibes" collection, which combines "classic and traditional elements, volumes, an exuberance of colours, prints and meanings” from different cultures and takes its inspiration from several continents. Thus there are "unusual mixtures, using thoughts, designs and emotions, colours and materials”, brought to life "in daring, feminine items".

A carpet was laid out on the lawn to recreate a tennis court environment for the close of Portugal Fashion SS17. In its own particular way, the fashion show by Lion of Porches brought together proposals for big and small people alike, inspired by the sporty looks of golf and tennis. The dominant colours were navy blue, black, red and white and the accessories included racquets, headbands and wristbands and sports bags.

Ultimately, a line-up that included well-known designers and young talents, that allied the concept of creativity with the reality of business and which united national and international critics around a single statement: Portugal is in fashion and Portuguese fashion is in the world!