Over the years, we’ve periodically descended on Argentina to check in on the country’s fashion and retail scenes, and along the way have made important discoveries deserving international exposure. These include Trosman, an inventive womenswear label with international distribution, Tramando, a label with textile treatments akin to Issey Miyake’s work and Etiqueta Negra, a sophisticated alternative to J. Crew with a free standing store in New York. With a track record in spotting the best talents from this South American nation, we were on the look out for the next best thing with global appeal at the Buenos Aires Fashion Week (BAF) a few weeks ago.
On the first day, Argentina’s fresh fashion promises took center stage. Semillero UBA featured a selection of collections from up and coming designers at the University of Buenos Aires, spotlighting the country’s exciting new talents. Catalina Ichaso’s collection recycled tailoring techniques and fabric molding in wraparound garments taken in at the waist and classic cuts that created a new morphology of jackets, pants, shirts and skirts in everything from velvet to tall wool, tweed and silk chiffon. Ichaso’s most important concept in rethinking disused clothing is creating new designs with fresh tones such as gray, blue, green and black. Fellow upstart Nadia Stuer, meanwhile, showed clothes inspired by the dictatorship of 1976 as well as the aesthetic of A Clockwork Orange.
The first looks on BAF’s runways were rigid silhouettes and cuts to the waist, featuring sleek designs on the outside and soiled, torn or broken insides. Overlays of fabrics and new forms of collars, sleeves and hoods also stood out, while reinterpretations of trench coats with spandex, leather, cotton and satin evoked a military style.
Rock and Roll was also present on the first day. Prüne outlined its autumn/winter collection in shades of black and burgundy with a touch of ’80s flair. Maria Eugenia Farrell, creative director for the brand, incorporated purses, bags and shiny crocodile leather, matte and scaly envelopes with studs and appliqués in antique brass chains. The look was accentuated by high marching combat boots and cowboy boots. Juana de Arco designed a collection featuring trademarks of the Argentine landscape: horses and water mills. Designer Mariana Cortes tapped into a natural appeal by creating voluminous garments made of organic cotton.
Day two kicked off with famed local brand Rapsodia recreating a northern look on the catwalk with a touch of bohemian air. Top international models Romina Lanaro and Milagros Schmoll walked the runway in tribal prints, embroideries and drawings of landscapes. Designers Sol Acuña and Josefina Helguer put leather jackets, jeans and metal in the forefront, offering a definite new style of grunge alongside dresses and wool coats (embellished with shoulder pads and pompoms accessories). Mariana Dappiano ended late at night with her collection “Tetris,” made up of contour lines, squares and rectangles based on geometric designs. Knitwear, cardigans and shorts, skirts and tailored trousers in shades of gray, oxides, beige and burgundy were also featured throughout the line.
Past eras began to mix on the third day as Cecilia Gadea introduced a retro collection with images of ice skating and other motifs typical of the snow. With laser-point sweaters setting the stage, the collection showed a variety of tissues and textures, including combinations of embroidered taffeta drapes and gowns, covered and jackets in colors based on raw, gray, ice blue, violet and black. Vicky Otero, meanwhile, continued with her commitment to artist Rocio Coppola work in both her collection and its execution. Blouses, dresses and skirts in extra large fine wool cloth appeared in black, natural and red hues while tailoring and sculptures were reminiscent of the artist’s style. At Kostüme, designers Camilla Milessi and Emiliano Blanco played with geometric flattery in cuts, folds, pockets and guards. Volume and visual effects in pants, skirts, dresses and coats came through in neutral colors like gray and black—a modern look indeed.
The new edition of the Buenos Aires Fashion Week certainly saw energetic and valiant fashion propositions, however, most labels didn’t deliver the crystal clear point of view that the country’s reigning fashion champions have. It’s still not apparent who will follow Trosman, Tramando, and Etiqueta Negra’s footsteps, but with eager designers vying for Argentina’s glory, we expect to not wait too long.