traveled to the Portuguese capital after the Paris collections to discover whether Portuguese fashion energy is kinetic.
Little is known about fashions coming out of Portugal, but from our observations, many designers are taking their cues from
the outside, and designs are leaning toward a challenging silhouette and alternative styling. Dino Alves was the first to
show in the week, and his unisex collection mixed everything from sporty separates to frilly trimmed baby doll dresses to
muscle tees, all with his models covered in body stockings accessorized with crosses and crystal and wearing platform Nikes.
With close to 100 looks, it was difficult to get a full sense of the collection, but the designer rescued himself with a photo
installation at the end of the week that more clearly demonstrated the creative depth of his clothing. Luis Buchinho played with shapes (voluminous silk tops with collapsing shoulders, tulip skirts, and oversized shorts), and came out tops
using steel gray satins, pearly golds, and midnight blues to achieve an urban chicness based in hip Mediterranea. This kind
of balance was a rare treat among the shows.
Alexandra Moura showed range in a lineup of off-the-shoulder dresses in pale greens, purples, and black and white. She threw in jeans to
work with ruffled boleros, slinky tees, and tie-waist cotton jackets. However, the collection of boxy looks for men left us
cold. Leading the pack of avant-gardists was guest designer Gloria Coelho from São Paulo, who brought her heavily worked collection in sober blacks and near whites to Lisbon. Several dresses sported
tiny ruffles and fine pleating that embellished hems and cris-crossed busts, while tops came with repetitive bows. Coelho
placed underwire into many of her skirts and showed them with short jackets for emphasis. She succeeded by keeping the collection
relatively small, while experimenters such as Ana Salazar lost audiences by proposing too many disparate components in a collection of about 100 looks. Ricardo Dourado‘s presentation also had many ideas but ended up losing its focus, attempting to capture inspiration from such vastly different
sources as Herve Leger and Issey Miyake. From the banded skirts to the origami-inspired pleating, it was a collection with a host of challenges — namely, finding
a common thread.
The over-the-top strain in the spicy Portuguese culture was evidenced at Felipe Faisca, where mucho flesh peeped through lingerie-inspired
diaphanous separates. Anabela Baldaque‘s OTT girly parade turned out short silky dresses, a few in murky floral prints. Katty Xiomara found her formula mostly in short silhouettes, showing off cascading ruffles and drippy T-shirt fabric. But the wide ribbon-laced
clunky shoes she accessorized with were a misfire. Alves and Goncales were the only ones to show away from the museum site,
taking their collection to a sprawling showroom where Portuguese actresses and film stars turned out in droves to support
one of the week’s highest profilers. Alves and Goncales OTT spring was composed entirely of short skirts and dresses in a
slew of fabrics — a bold proposition considering most of the hoity-toity women in the audience were not built for such looks.
Dance swirled in at Jose Antonio Tenente‘s show, where satin ribbons, mainly in white and beige palettes, were everywhere, and ties and knotting covered evening dresses
and formal wear. Men complemented with various tuxedo looks. Everything was color blocked and theatrical at Aleksandar Protich — most of his looks were white bodies with black outlines, but the odd departure showed black-bodied satin tops with white
There were a few showings of taut looks for men, as seen in the military inspired white-belted suits and tuxedo ensembles
at Miguel Vieira and the Cuban theme at the Pedro Maurao show. When not pulled together, they were wonderfully underdressed in gratuitous
parades of bronzed-flesh-baring skimpy suits. Osvaldo Martins opened his presentation with a bevy of male beauties decked in swimwear worn with suspenders and ties. Nuno Gama’s nautical-themed
collection was filled with tons of knits and forgettable T-shirts, but the easy scanty men’s bikini was a real crowd pleaser.
What Portuguese designers lack in originality, they make up for by embracing fashion as entertainment, putting on theatrical
shows, and not being ashamed of using a hot man in a bathing suit to command attention.
Photo installation by Dino Alves
Luís Buchinho s/s ’07
Gloria Coelho s/s ’07
Katty Xiomara s/s ’07
Alexandra Moura s/s ’07
Miguel Vieira s/s ’07
Aleksandar Protich s/s ’07
Osvaldo Martins s/s ’07