Madrid Fashion Week: Practical With A Chance of Surprises

A critical review of Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week in Spain’s El País took the city’s designers to task for favoring commerciality over originality. But considering the economic climate, there’s something to be said for practicality and wearability over pure artistic intention.

The collections certainly offered a few wow moments—Agatha Ruiz de la Prada’s balloon dress, the crystal encrusted conquistadora at Elio Berhanyer and pop pieces of orange leather seen on several catwalks—but optimistic shades of white was the most prominently featured color of the season. Although it is the most high-maintenance color to pull off, it offers truly chic results when properly styled. Adolfo Dominguez showed crisp reimagined classics, visionary up-and-comers Sita Murt and Ion Fiz featured multi-faceted takes and buzzed designer Carlos Diez made rendered the already muted shade even more low-key in airy cotton minidresses and shorts that would perfect for a game of anti-gravity tennis in outer space.

The ’70s were also back this season in Madrid (ditto London and Marc Jacobs) with high-waisted elephant bells, balloon-sleeved bow blouses and bold printed shirtdresses replete with rope belts and medallions at Antonio Alvarado, Miriam Ocariz and Lemoniez. The designs were made thoroughly Madrileño with cut-out slashes of mesh and lace—almost like a sexified Sears Roebuck catalog, circa 1974. And just as disco will never really die, apparently neither will the jumpsuit, which resurrected itself as a natural progression from the romper craze in louche with deep v-cuts fit for a Madrid-era Ava Gardner.

Although goth moodiness scarcely surfaced during the shows, it made its way in the most unexpected of places: swimwear. For the inherently sunny beach-goer, this seemed like a strange collision of aesthetics, but the contrast proved to be one of the more innovative developments in the showcase. Barcelona native Montse Bassons’ second go at Cibeles particularly stood out thanks to dangerous one-pieces with a gladiator-meets-cyberpunk edge.

On the last day of the shows, it-designer Davidelfin flew his collection from New York, where he showed it the week before to much hoopla. Nylon sport straps and bold Yves Klein blue were worn by Madrid model and label co-founder Bimba Bosé as pop star Alaska and her rocker husband Mario Vaquero of Nancys Rubias sat in the front row. Rumors of Tom Ford attending his show didn’t materialize, but there was promise of big things for the hometown boy in the air nonetheless. A few hours later, Elio Berhanyer—the 80-year-old designer often referred to as the Valentino of Madrid—sent ornate cocktail dresses down the runway before a front row of highly coiffed grand dames as Pink Floyd’s “Money” played. To put these two on the same stage and on the same day signified an intersection of the new and old guards in Madrid’s fashion world.

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