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If you haven’t checked out ModaLisboa – Lisbon Fashion Week, you’re truly missing out. It is a highly underrated city in the fashion world, but hopefully, after you read this, you’ll change your mind. There is a lot of talent out there in Lisbon, from young designers who might actually be based elsewhere but are lucky to be embraced in such a warm city, to even more established brands that sadly don’t get much attention outside Portugal. At least, I discovered many of them when I attended their shows and was truly surprised. So, without much further ado, here are our top seven collections, listed alphabetically, of Spring/Summer 2019. I hope they’ll transport you and make you want to visit beautiful, sunny Lisbon.

The first thing you heard as the show was starting was voguing music. Right after, the models were strutting down the runway to the chant of ‘cun-ty, cun-ty’ – a message received loud and clear. In another cheeky move, the apparently neutral colour palette showed some neon accents on garments such as exposed underwear. There were also other hints of it in the use of a pattern reminiscent to, the still very much alive, reflective uniform trend, giving away the concept of the collection – along with dresses that reminded us of trash bags, in a chic, and definitely not trashy way – which is of that of an empowered woman in a bright, futuristic metropolis.
Toronto-based designer Andrew Coimbra showed a clean, highly-tailored, elegant collection, influenced by a few contemporary artists. The use of abstract imagery, simple, geometric, even rudimentary shapes, and raw traces muted colours like yellow, green and pink were inspired by the work of Jean-François Lauda, Keith Coventry and John Zabawa, and showed a more chic side to the city wear look. However, don’t get it twisted, there were other graphic, bolder looks that reminded us more of that urban quality. It was also reinforced in accessories like the bucket hat and the oversized anorak, but also in the music, that was reminiscent of rap icons like Angel Haze and Missy Elliott. 
The brand itself consists of an online platform where over two thousand users co-create garments, which is as fascinating of a concept as their newest collection. They were inspired by the exploration of light reflecting and refracting off of surfaces, which is why they looked into the history of filmography. Also, they were interested in the first use of aniline dyes, which were used for colouring out black and white movies. All of these ideas were used in an original, new way, by digitally printing tees, using sustainable methods, showing explosive colourful prints, and the repeated use of iridescent and blinded out fabrics.

Carolina Raquel
This show took part in the Sangue Novo contest, where emerging Portuguese designers were being given the platform to showcase their talent. And Carolina Raquel happened to win an award for her graduate collection, titled Induviae, and deservedly so. She explores the personal relationship between the individual and his/her garments, and so it looks at the values that we attach to our clothes, and therefore, the new meanings we give to them. Raquel shows a lot of maturity, most likely given her background, having worked at brands like Christopher Kane and Simone Rocha, and shows beautifully-made, overly oversized, ultra-feminine yet heavily messed with deconstructed dresses.
The artwork Questions (Connection) by artist Anne Collier, just as the name suggests, made Constança question everything, and that can clearly be seen in the calculated chaos in the construction of the clothes. From a chest piece made out of belts to models wearing blue eyeshadow on their feet, and some even wearing what looked like muppet fur for shoes, nothing made sense – but at the same time, everything did. All of these elements created a sort of performative quality, which I also found from the connection between the opening song (that heavily used maracas), with the colliding beads that were placed all over the models’ bodies. In a strange way, everything made sense. 
Bosnian-born designer Lidija Kolovrat shows us what living in a never-ending dream-state like world is like. In it, you will find some people wearing outrageously glittery 18th-century-style footwear, while others will have kitschy plastic fish for shoes, and some will even carry cute emoji-inspired purses. Because who says we can’t wear them? In all seriousness, Kolovrat’s newest collection is beautifully designed, colourful, fun and very idiosyncratic, and unlike no other. From the use of the oil slick design to the Mondrian-esque print and the monochromatic looks, everything has been given an inimitable unique twist.

Ricardo Andrez
Ricardo Andrez’s latest collection is how he imagines what an alien invasion – and consequent apocalypse – of Earth would look like. In his mind, our clothes will be branded by a ‘90s-inspired alien logo, while displaying distorted foreign words all over our outfits. The panic induced into us will make us mix and match all sorts of patterns and colours (but, apparently, mainly pink and green), we’ll start wearing huge platform shoes again, style our hair in two buns (as a reference to their antennae), and carry silvery bags, as a nod to those crazy, conspiracy theorists who wear tinfoil hats. I guess being invaded by aliens won’t be so bad after all!

Mercedes Rosés
Backstage photos
Marc Medina

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