We first discovered 24-year-old Tillmann Lauterbach last season at the Public Image showroom in Paris, but the fledgling designer’s full potential came alive on the runway in his native Barcelona. Pursuing trends we’ve seen in New York and London, Lauterbach went for drapey fabrics with a mild Grecian theme; his juxtaposition of structured jackets with little extras like well-chosen hardware and bias-cut buttonholes defined a collection with one foot in the avant-garde and the other dipping into sheer sex appeal. Prone to cutting on the bias, he featured standout chiffon dresses in white and yellow; a group made from strips of contrasting sheer polka dots came with roping details for straps. Paired with broken-down gladiator espadrilles, Lauterbach’s designs possess an enviable mix of indigenous inspirations with a global reach.
Angel Vilda is another young designer to watch. His melancholic s/s ’06 collection centered on the theme “curse.” This called for ghostly models in dripping mascara and cross necklaces skulking zombie-like down the runway. Thankfully, Vilda didn’t take his macabre theme too far. He focused on wearable, strongly punctuated pieces: voluminous skirts à la Marc Jacobs; oversized tuxedo pants with mega cuffs; green-and-white striped shorts; and belted tops, many of which came with a grand, oversized buttonhole. The effect was tidily manufactured and desirable. Bambi by Laura Figueras showed fluid silhouettes of flesh-colored silks and silvery lamé tops worn with varnished belts and copper-colored leggings. While not entirely original, her line possessed a certain youthful romance. Romance wasn’t lost on David Valls. His interest in textile innovation resulted in heaps of layered crinolines, gauzes, cottons, and mesh to create deconstructed looks reminiscent of old-world Japan.
Several of the designers in Barcelona are onto the quirky, girly trend that has its roots in designers from Marc Jacobs to Emma Cook to Erotokritos in Paris. Cecilia Sörensen’s “My Room” collection charted a young girl’s coming of age. This manifested in precious white cotton shirts with ruching details and T-shirts decorated with pencil drawings of cats, horses, and toys. She also designs a Snoopy line, where the character is featured on quirky black-and-white separates. More rock inspired, Mercedes Gallego’s “Groupie” collection paid tribute to Pamela Des Barres, the groupie icon of the psychedelic ’60s. Snake, guitar, and photographic prints on short jersey dresses; skinny rock ‘n roll jeans in purple, sand, and blue; and guitar prints on anoraks rounded out her looks.
In Barcelona, the common denominator was that designers eschewed the blatantly sexy. Their aim, like many lines from across the globe, is to speak to a certain stylish girl interested in making insider-y statements. Is this the true source of Spanish fashion? Time will tell.
1-2 Tillman Lauterbach s/s ’06
Mercedes Gallego s/s ’06
Snoopy by Cecilia Sörensen s/s ’06
David Valls s/s ’06
Angel Vilda s/s ’06