Every season, Schön! visits 080 Barcelona Fashion to check out the latest collections and what’s new on the Catalonian fashion scene. Who are the emerging designers to watch? Who is shaking things up in the old guard? Which concerns are dominating discussion? The 25th edition, which took place earlier this month, gave us plenty to write home about.
Of course, sustainability is the topic du jour for the fashion industry here and just about everywhere. Whether it’s something that designers are still shying away from or wholeheartedly embracing, it’s an issue they can no longer ignore.
Pablo Erroz has garnered many accolades, including the ‘heir of New Yorker cool’ from Vogue and a ‘brand to watch’ from WGSN. Of course, here at Schön! we’ve had our eyes on the label for some years. The eponymous designer’s approach to sustainability is centred on craftmanship, reduced consumption and seasonless, unisex clothing – a strategy he implemented in his previous collection and continued in this one – not only by presenting less looks (which will be available as limited editions) but by designing each to be genderless, ageless and multitasking, to be worn year-round.
The focus was on sporty but sophisticated shapes, tailoring and knitwear. Fabrics ranged from cashmere and merino, to nappa and satins, in intense violet, pistachio, almond and burnt orange. Models also sported the limited edition DISHED glasses, produced in collaboration with eyewear brand MELLER – a company that shares Erroz’s philosophy.
45.376543, 59.651328. What’s that then? Well, it’s the name of Sonia Carrasco’s AW20 collection. It’s also the coordinates of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan, the disappearance of which due to the cultivation of cotton is, as the designer explains, “considered to be one of the greatest environmental disasters in contemporary history.” It not only inspired her selection of mostly earthy, neutral colours and fluid, overlapping silhouettes, but the choice to make the collection completely from recycled fabrics.
The winner of last season’s Award to Emerging Design, Carrasco graduated from Central Saint Martins and trained at Alexander McQueen and Céline before launching her own ready-to-wear brand, which is committed to the environment throughout its creative process. It’s worth noting also that her collections consist solely of beautifully crafted, wearable garments, a trend – or non-trend one might say – that is consistently appearing on catwalks this season as a counter to the faddish, throw-away fashions of previous years.
Menswear designer Archie Alled-Martinez was another Central Saint Martins’ alumnus that caught our eye. Having won the LVMH graduate prize in 2018 and already a favourite with celebrities like Harry Styles, the young designer is certainly one to watch. Taking inspiration from the elegance of the 30s and the dandies of late 70s and early 80s nightlife, the Alled-Martinez brand clearly has a strong signature. What makes it unique, however, is that the garments – whether they be pinstriped suits, tuxedos, tailored coats or ‘denim’ jumpsuits – are entirely knitted, thereby turning the idea of traditional knitwear on its head. A touch of sparkle here and there added a further touch of fabulousness.
Another young designer to excite us was Juanjo Villalba Bermúdez. Having just about got to grips with his name, we attempted to decipher the concept behind his collection Emotional Mythology. As the press release explains, “You’re Perfect.” “I love you.” “It can’t be true.” “Bastard.” “I forgive us.” etc. Ah, okay, it’s about love and relationships. Yes, the designer confirms, “It’s a failed love story told through optimism, enthusiasm, desire, exuberance, admiration, restlessness, grief, melancholy, anger, hostility, gratitude and serenity: 12 deities that embody the emotions experienced during that romantic relationship.”
The message was delivered with subtlety, via twelve looks representing each emotion, from the exuberant rainbow of enthusiasm, to the fiery orange of anger and the soft stone shades of serenity. It was also the designer’s very first personal collection. He impressively incorporated over 30 fabrics into the pieces, but we were most struck by his confident use of colour and consistent approach to his concept.
It’s not all about the newcomers though. This season, 080 Barcelona fashion also included a tribute to the late Andrés Sardà, founder of the innovative and internationally renowned lingerie brand, who sadly passed away this year.
A retrospective of the Barcelona-based Persian-German menswear designer Boris Bidjan Saberi celebrated 11 years of his work. Eleven might not seem the obvious choice as a big anniversary, but the number is symbolic as a trademark of the brand. Saberi’s experimental and very personal take on luxury is informed by both his Middle Eastern-Western heritage and street and skate cultures. Audiences were treated to a show highlighting his signature layered fabrics, de-structured tailoring and inventive techniques, such as combining organic materials with vinyl and tar or painting blood on leather.
It seems that innovation is nothing new here in Barcelona (Sardà, for example, is credited for revolutionising women’s lingerie in Spain in the 1960s and later introducing technologies such as Lycra™). It’s encouraging to see both established and emerging talents continuing to change things up from the Catalan capital.
All images courtesy of 080 Barcelona Fashion. For more information on 080 Barcelona Fashion, click here.
Words. Huma Humayun