Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid (MBFWM) is no newcomer to the fashion show circuit – in fact, it held its 71st edition in the Spanish capital earlier this month. Over the course of six days, 37 designers and brands – both established and upcoming – showcased their creations to an international crowd. Whilst the collections were diverse, a strong element of high glamour was evident in the AW20 catwalks, from youthful glam rock at Ana Locking to voluminous, Vegas-style plumes at Pertegaz. Read on for some of Schön!’s highlights.
After graduating from the Instituto Europeo di Design, Moises Nieto scored a coveted spot on the official MBFWM calendar but has always preferred to show his collections off the catwalk. This time, he presented in a small workroom at the Faculty of Fine Arts, where two students drew live to the sound of the violin and cello.
The performance began with only one model standing on a revolving pedestal in a white chiffon dress. Just like a painting, this blank canvas slowly transformed into a work of art as the designer himself dressed the model in 17 contemporary, elegant and detailed statement pieces. It reminded us how exciting and emotional dressing up could be.
Another Instituto di Design Alumni is Jaime Alvarez, the creative director of MANS Concept Menswear, who showed at MBFWM for the first time. The sumptuous 19th Century Casa de Velazquez provided the perfect backdrop for his AW20 collection Philippe, which was inspired by the colours of French fin de siècle impressionists: off-white, baby blue, camel and lavender.
Alvarez’s interpretation of new masculinity was further brought to life through silks and sequins combined with more classic menswear fabrics. High-waisted trousers with extra-long hems, silhouettes cinched at the waist, three-quarter length coats or short, fitted jackets adjusted with belts and sashes, all gave emphasis to the male figure. Five collections in, the 24-year-old designer has matured and found his aesthetic: a versatile wardrobe of beautifully crafted garments.
Influencer favourite Fernando Claro was also a new addition to the MBFWM calendar. His sophisticated and ostentatious proposal provided a contrast to the toned-down style of the ready-to-wear designers often seen on the Madrid catwalks. Claro and his daughter Beatriz presented a collection articulated in four axes linked to love: the soul, the reason, the grace, and the chimera.
A series of extravagant and maximalist dresses, some formed of more than 400 meters of fabric, followed a monochromatic palette. The only touch of colour came from sand hued ribbon ruffles resembling basketry. The bold garments were also embellished with pearls, cord and sequins but – to make it even more baroque – they added wide-brimmed hats, silver fringed glasses and wig-shaped headpieces.
However, the most striking millinery came at Pertegaz in the form of enormous feathered headpieces. No one wanted to miss the 45 looks presented in the Cristal Gallery at Madrid’s City Hall, as this was the rebirth of the historic Spanish fashion house founded in 1942, and probably the most anticipated show on the whole schedule.
This was the first season the brand had shown at MBFWM and the first collection from new creative director Jorge Vázquez, who paid tribute to the late Manuel Pertegaz, updating some of his most iconic designs. Rich materials like moirés, duchess satin, muslin, cashmere and silk taffeta were combined with floral, geometric and zebra prints. As expected, the knitted garments, structured silhouettes and sophisticated dresses resulted in a breath-taking collection.
Having won the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent Award in 2019, Domingo Rodriquez, creative director of Dominnico, came of age on this season’s catwalk. In his short career, he has already dressed celebrities from Lady Gaga to Aitana and is reportedly Rosalia’s favourite designer.
His latest offering was a high-octane take on the ruffles and floral embroidery of traditional Spanish costumes. While the collection opened with red and black, there was also lilac, apple-green and some almost holographic metallics. The looks were accessories with exaggerated platform boots, leather chaps and wide-brimmed hats with curtains of fringing.
Credited as one of the most influential players on the Spanish fashion scene, Ana González launched her brand Ana Locking in 2008 and won best designer at MBFWM for her very first collection. She grew up surrounded by pattern and fabric in her mother’s dressmaking studio and went on to study fine arts, experiences which – together with youth culture – inform her designs, which combine craftsmanship and an attention to detail with conceptual ideas and experimentation.
Her latest collection is entitled Too Young to Die Old because, she says, “Even if I am 100 years old when I die, I will still die young.” Silver polka dots on houndstooth, lavender faux fur and barbie pink mohair, tweeds in midnight blue or oxblood, are just some of the elements that combined to create this glamorous but youthful collection.
Since opening his fashion studio on 2012, Ulises Mérida has not only become an established fashion designer, but has created costumes for the opera and taught masterclasses at prestigious institutions such as IED.
By his own admission, Mérida’s collection was about ‘overload’ because, as he rightly says, “you can never wear too many beautiful things.” Trapeze and balloon-like silhouettes were created using moirés and wool, metallics in multiple shades, padding and perforation. Overloaded it may be, but certainly not overdone. “Goodbye to discretion, minimalism, to going unnoticed, to the predictable and boring,” says Mérida, and we couldn’t agree more.
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Images. Courtesy of L’estrop/IFEMA.best