midnight at the oasis | modalisboa

The 59th edition of ModaLisboa took the title of Oasis. The idea behind this was not “romantic”, but rather “a necessary stance as we sail on arid waves…At the same time, it allows us to dream.” So, what Lisbon’s fashion week hoped to offer this season was “a space, physical and metaphysical, where we will, as a collective, cross the desert.” Certainly, the platform seems to be on the road to recovery from the blows of the pandemic, this time presenting a busy schedule showcasing a diverse range of local talent. Here are some of Schön!’s highlights of the season.

Lisbon-born illustrator and streetwear designer Ana Duarte studied Menswear Design and Technology at London College of Fashion, but her collections are predominantly unisex, which is one element amongst many in her efforts towards sustainability and inclusivity. The latest, Street Swellwas an ode to the “asphalt surfers that…are not afraid to be themselves”. The “carefree lifestyle” of skateboarders was translated into loose silhouettes, wavey panels to reflect movement, camouflage prints in vibrant colours and a combination of natural and technological fabrics.

The 1975 documentary Grey Gardens, which tells the story of an aristocratic mother and daughter (both named Edith Beale) living in poverty in their decaying Hamptons mansion, might not seem an obvious source of inspiration for such a sophisticated, glamorous and exuberant collection, but Nuno Baltazar has based South Garden on “the emotional and fantasy geography” of the younger Edith: “As a mirror of a parallel reality, the collection proposes to give body, volume and colour to Little Edie’s imagination.”

The result is a feminine collection with “demi-couture details” such as jabot frills, loops and ruffles and pretty organza and satin crepes. These are countered, however, by relaxed and oversized silhouettes, plain weave fabrics and cotton twill, and more casual and urban pieces, while vivid violet, pink, orange, green and fluorescent yellow were contrasted with black and earthy cognac, cinnamon and khaki tones.

Sangue Novo is ModaLisboa’s annual competition for emerging designers. This year, the collection that stood out for us was Digression from Cal Pfungst. What it’s about, we have no idea, as his press release reads like a stream of consciousness made up in part of song lyrics and extracts from novels, poems and other literature, as well as references to visual artists. However, we think it contained elements of both nostalgia and surrealism and an emphasis on the colour red (Ann Carson’s Autobiography of Red and Fiona Apple’s Red Red Red were amongst the sources credited). However you interpret it, the collection was certainly a scene stealer at this year’s contest.

Likewise, we were intrigued by the title of Lidija Kolovrat’s collection Guts Are Your New Tool. The Bosnian-born, Lisbon-based designer has consistently been one of our favourites at ModaLisboa and didn’t disappoint this season. The collection was inspired by Ancient Egypt and “a fascination for ancient customs…symbolism, cosmology, hieroglyphs, the interrelation between nature and ourselves, and textile manipulation to preserve and prepare for what is eternity [mumification].” To explore this concept, Kolovrat used the earthy colours and loose silhouettes that one associates with Ancient Egypt, in light silk and cotton, but also in the more modern material of denim.

Since graduating in 2016, menswear designer Filipe Augusto has won several awards, including from ModaPortugal, the FashionClashFestival and ModaLisboa (Sangue Novo). Now showing under the Lab initiative (ModaLisboa’s platform for young designers who are more established than those introduced at Sangue Novo), he drew inspiration for his SS23 collection from elements of traditional Portuguese clothing. But this is a very contemporary interpretation, focusing on details such as fastenings using knots, something that is typically seen on scarves and aprons. Meanwhile, the richly textured and tactile fabrics used were either made up from remnants from previous collections or from deadstock.

Sometimes I Just Wanna Kiss Girls is both the name of Gonçalo Peixoto’s collection and about all he will tell us about it. That’s because the young, Porto-based designer would like to “explore his identity as a brand, without thematic or conceptual imposition.” Fair enough.

The pieces shown included sheer, shimmering garments in mesh, lace, metallics, brocade and sequins, sometimes embellished with feathers or hundreds of appliqued flowers, with some references to corsets with both boning and lacing and also ruffled necklines and sleeves. However, an injection of masculine tailoring, simple column or boxy silhouettes and heavyweight utilitarian fabrics in muted tones prevented the collection from veering into the realm of frivolity and froufrou.




From skateboarders to socialites, this season of ModaLisboa had something for everyone. An oasis indeed…

For more information on ModaLisboa, click here.

words. Huma Humayun

catwalk photography. Ugo Camera


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