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SOFA WITH A VIEW TO THE RUNWAY
SOFA WITH A VIEW TO THE RUNWAY
48th Portugal Fashion Autumn-Winter 2021-22 

It was in the comfort of home, on a voluptuous sofa, that we watched the 48th Portugal Fashion. In an exclusively digital edition, in line with the measures to contain the pandemic, the presentations of the Autumn-Winter 2021-22 collections were broadcast on livestream on the website www.portugalfashion.com, as well as on social networks (Facebook and Instagram) of the event. And it was well worth staying at home, as the nights of 18, 19 and 20 March brought some of the biggest names in Portuguese fashion and Hugo van der Ding's humour, irreverence and creativity.
 
"The Sofa Edition”, as it is proudly assumed, was divided into two moments: take 1, which took place between 18 and 20 March, and take 2, on a date to be announced. In take 1, the presentation programme started on Thursday, at 8pm, with the young creator Maria Carlos Baptista (BLOOM platform), followed, on that same day, by Estelita Mendonça (8:45pm) and Katty Xiomara (9:30pm). A day later, on the 19th, at the same times, it was the turn of Inês Torcato, Maria Gambina and Miguel Vieira to reveal their collections for the cold season. On Saturday, the 20th, the Autumn-Winter proposals of Ernest W. Baker, David Catalán and Alexandra Moura were announced. 

In the first take of this sofa edition, videos were broadcast with the collections of the creators, some of them already presented in the international script of Portugal Fashion, as well as small audiovisual productions, of a more conceptual nature, chosen by the designers themselves for presentations more adapted to the digital challenge. In addition, Hugo van der Ding, responsible for the creative campaign for this 48th edition, interviewed all creators precisely from sofa to sofa, also by digital means. The comedian has, moreover, been publishing small illustrated sketches on Portugal Fashion social networks, in which he parodies the fashion universe with José and Mariana as characters, boringly confined to their home, who are visited by the hilarious Féshion Giraffe. 

In the second take of the 48th Portugal Fashion, the programme included videos from the BLOOM platform (young designers and students from fashion schools) and the winners of the last BLOOM contest, Maria Carlos Baptista and Marcelo Almiscarado. The new collections of the creators and brands Diogo Miranda, Alves/Gonçalves, Hugo Costa, Luís Onofre, Marques'Almeida, Susana Bettencourt, Pé de Chumbo, Sophia Kah and Concreto will also be revealed. Also noteworthy is the presentation of the National Team's uniforms for the Tokyo Olympic Games and a happening called "Welcome to Porto”, whose protagonists are the Davii brand and the designer Nuno Miguel Ramos.

"The digital format of the 48th Portugal Fashion is dictated by reasons of public health, but it also seeks to meet the new forms of consumption and interaction with fashion, especially among digital natives. We wanted to combine the useful with the pleasant, through an innovative format that combines fashion, glamour and humour. Besides, our creators and brands today develop almost all of their activity online, so this edition is part of this effort of digital fashion transition”, explains the director of Portugal Fashion, Mónica Neto. 

She also adds that, "despite the constraints caused by the pandemic, we could not fail to support designers and brands at this difficult time for Portuguese fashion and for business in general. We had to carry out this edition, even if it meant, as was the case, digitally presenting the collections and spreading the event over two moments. The digital format has, moreover, been adopted by the main international fashion events, namely some in which Portuguese designers participated with the support of Portugal Fashion", underlines Mónica Neto. 


Kick off with bloomer Maria Carlos Baptista

The 48th Portugal Fashion kicked off with the video from the "Espaço Negativo” collection, by the young creator Maria Carlos Baptista, winner of the BLOOM powered by Sonae Fashion contest, held in October 2020. It is, therefore, part of BLOOM, a Portugal Fashion platform dedicated to the support and promotion of young designers. 

It was precisely in the BLOOM framework that Maria Carlos Baptista participated digitally, in the Paris Fashion Week, at the beginning of March, having then revealed a collection that seeks to express "an untransferable reality, cold by distance and welcoming with the return of past experiences, it allows absolute freedom of expression and interpretation". The BLOOM designer is betting, for the next Autumn-Winter, on structured shapes and elongated silhouettes. 

This was followed by the presentation of the new collection by Estelita Mendonça, an irreverent designer who, after his experience at BLOOM, has established himself in Portugal Fashion and in Portuguese fashion. For the cold season, the designer worked on the brand's image, allying it with the utopian freedom of the 90's raves. The main concepts of the collection "are based on the freedom of expression of being and dancing in community", says Estelita Mendonça, adding as inspiration, the idea of a "camping tent as textile protection, dome or portable habitat" - which "makes perfect sense at this time of social isolation". According to the creator, "the two antagonistic concepts were initially worked out, finding points of union that become the final image".

The night ended with the always awaited new collection by Katty Xiomara, this time entitled "Aurora”. "This collection suggests a rebirth. After this moment, dawn is born and a new day begins again. Everything germinates in spirituality, irony, despair and hope”, explains the Portuguese-Venezuelan creator based in Porto. Katty Xiomara adds that, in this collection, "the theme is subjective and spiritual and makes the colours of the elements fluctuate in pieces that incorporate lightness, but that antagonistically are structured, objective and practical, designed as a set of bold essentials".

The following day, Friday, the broadcast continued with Inês Torcato, who presented "And there is light”. The video in this collection brings together various artistic forms and is assumed as an "artistic expression by all those who are in front and behind the cameras, curtains, stages, screens, museums... This season (and always!) we support culture, put a face to adversity and fight for rights" guarantees Inês Torcato. 

Maria Gambina is the name that followed, with the presentation of the "Fagan” collection, inspired by the "social and economic upheaval experienced in England from the end of the 1970s”. The creator makes an "incursion into turbulent and lonely territories of restlessness and uncertainty, no longer instigating punk disruption but now permeated by delicacy and movement". The silhouette is voluminous and rhythmic, harmonised with displaced details, metallic spikes and pleated layers. The stripes resulting from the union of colourings and layers of laser-cut flowers stand out. A designed trench coat double and a felted double protect satin in graphic stripes and pleated voile, comforted by organic and recycled fabrics. Black dominates the chromatic palette, with graphic notes in red and white and camouflaged by olive green.

Friday night on the sofa ended in a big way with Miguel Vieira's "DNA” collection, revealed in a video that in January, materialised the creator's presence in the official calendar of Milan Men's Fashion Week, with the support of Portugal Fashion. The collection "is about people who have confidence in their appearance and see their clothing as an extension of themselves, as something that is part of their DNA", says the designer. Medieval blue, winter green, brown coffee liqueur, cloud grey, black caviar and white truffle are the colours of Miguel Vieira's next cold season, in a game of contrasts between a slim and geometric silhouette and the classic silhouette, with pure and stylised lines and structured tailoring. Wool, cashmere, alpaca, fake sheep hair, lurex and shirt fabrics are the materials of a collection where the prints developed in the studio and the personalised lining stand out. 

On the last day of take 1, Saturday, Ernest W Baker's presentation was the first to be broadcast on Portugal Fashion's digital platforms. This is the conceptual video with which this menswear brand participated in the Paris Fashion Week in January. The authorial mark of the young designers Reid Baker and Inês Amorim integrated, for the first time, the international script of Portugal Fashion, an event whose edition debuted in October 2020. 


Alexandra Moura ended the sofa edition

Founded in 2017 in Viana do Castelo, Ernest W. Baker is a tribute to Reid Baker's eponymous grandfather, who was one of Detroit's first publicists, and combines the pragmatism of the American way of life with European elegance and classicism, in a clash of cultures that sublimates the best of both worlds. Ernest W. Baker is marketed in Italy, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, China and South Korea and on online platforms, such as Farfetch, with very positive returns. It should be noted that Reidi and Inês worked together for designers Haider Ackermann, Yang Li and Wooyoungmi and, in 2018, the duo was among the 20 semifinalists of the LVMH awards (French group that includes Louis Vuitton, Celine and Christian Dior). Moreover, the French Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion considers that Ernest W. Baker "shows the emergence of a new generation of designers in Portugal". 

In their collection, Ernest W. Baker breaks with the perfectionism of the traditional male wardrobe that has been their signature, embracing the casual elements that are inscribed in their collective memory: the off-duty clothing, the printed t-shirt, tartan pants, but also a lush robe that folds like a jacket. An emphasis on the layers that create a uniform silhouette, a distinctive factor of a collection that has as great inspiration the dream cinema of Wong Kar-Wai, Wim Wenders and David Lynch. 

David Catalán was also part of the international actions of the beginning of the year for Portugal Fashion, with a digital fashion show in the official calendar of Milan Men's Fashion Week, in January. In the digital broadcast of PF, the video of his new collection, entitled "Reworks”, was broadcast, in which David Catalán "revisits the essence of the brand. The collection is developed according to the needs of workwear mixed with the classic wardrobe". For Autumn-Winter 2021-22, the natural creator of Rioja, in Spain, proposes "iconic monochromatic suits" with dense colours or with "light tie-dyes", "designed with innovative materials characterised by a velvet texture". The silhouette, on the other hand, is "relaxed", directed "towards the modern man with a contemporary touch". It is, therefore, a collection designed "to be young, irreverent and adaptable to the new way of consuming". 
 
The first take of the 48th Portugal Fashion ended with the new collection by Alexandra Moura, whose conceptual video was broadcast on the official calendar of Milan Fashion Week in early March, and was even broadcast on giant screens at Times Square, New York, and the streets of Rome. The "Subversion” collection is described by its author as a "set of deconstruction actions applied to the creative process of a piece, thus expanding the perception of its composition and form".
Mention should also be made of references to the 90s, a decade that shaped Alexandra Moura's aesthetic sense and her way of looking at fashion. "Her rebellion at the time brings to the collection, the subversion of the pieces, the turning over, the seams inside out and the classic stitch-and-cut. The re-adaptation of parts by hand, thus leaving it unfinished, a characteristic already marked in the brand's DNA". 

On the other hand, in this collection, "the plastic side” of the creator is evident. "Her sketchbooks with collages, lines, tape and drawings build the pattern that gives strength and intrigue to these subversions". In conclusion, "the collection lives on construction/deconstruction exercises, contrasting pale colours with strong and acidic [colours], but also on the subtlety of the behaviour of materials, finishes and details", describes Alexandra Moura.


The Municipality of Porto renews its commitment 

Portugal Fashion is a project under the responsibility of ANJE - National Association of Young Entrepreneurs, which has the support of its strategic partners and is co-financed by Portugal 2020, within the scope of Compete 2020 - Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation, with funds from the European Union, through the European Regional Development Fund.

The event benefits from the support of the Municipality of Porto (MP), which very recently renewed its institutional commitment to Portugal Fashion. For MP, the realisation of Portugal Fashion in the city reinforces Porto's position as a new European epicentre of fashion, also promoting the creative industry cluster, which in recent years has brought a series of new businesses and companies to the municipality. In addition, by promoting qualified entrepreneurship in the fashion sector, Portugal Fashion creates conditions for young people to convert their knowledge into economic and social value - a dynamic that is of high importance for the socio-economic development strategy of the city and region.

For Portugal Fashion, MP's support gives the event increased resources to strengthen its position in the national and international fashion ecosystem and, thus, strengthen the dynamics of the city/region as a hub for innovation, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, creativity and culture. With this strategic cooperation, Portugal Fashion's commercial component is being boosted, within the framework of a city/region historically linked to national manufacturing industries, namely in the textile, clothing and footwear sectors.

Also noteworthy is the institutional partnership established with Associação Selectiva Moda, which will start promoting to the international customers of Modtissimo, the only textile salon in the Iberian Peninsula, the collections of Portugal Fashion creators and brands. This partnership will certainly enhance the promotional capacity of Portugal Fashion on an international scale, with a return for the creators and brands associated with the event.