ModaLisboa calls for community spirit, sustainable design in fashion week’s first online edition
The concept of community featured more prominently than ever at the 30th edition of ModaLisboa in Lisbon. The Portuguese capital’s fashion week was staged on April 15-18, for the first time in digital-only format, responding to the pandemic with an event centred on the notion of unity, and with a collective effort by the local fashion industry. ModaLisboa’s highlights were the 25 presentations by emerging and established designers, a series of digital fashion conferences and an online store. Despite the absence of in-person audiences, the latest edition of the Lisbon fashion event ended up generating more than 15,000 website visits.
“I really miss personal contact, being together, celebrating ModaLisboa, travelling and showing in Paris... All of this is part of the idea of community,” said Brazilian fashion entrepreneur Alfredo Orobio. Together with Marilia Biasi, Orobio is the driving force of collaborative fashion design platform Awaytomars. An international design collective founded in 2015, Awaytomars is a regular on the Lisbon calendar, where it presented creations designed collaboratively through its platform. For previous collections, Awaytomars had also teamed up with Italian label Missoni. Awaytomars’s new collection has a surprisingly unisex, urban vibe, much more casual and street-inspired than usual, featuring graffiti-style, garishly bright prints on quilted coats and oversize trousers. In the video, a night-time chase through empty city streets ends with a long embrace, a way for Awaytomars to express the “emotion of and yearning for” human contact.
In the same spirit embodied by #Comunidade (community), the slogan of ModaLisboa’s latest spring edition, genderless, multidisciplinary label Hibu unveiled a minimalist, oversize and 90s-inspired collection, combining the label’s signature denim clothes with simple outfits in a bright-orange check fabric. “I feel that our creations, collection after collection, are making us distinctive as a brand. We want to keep experimenting and having fun, as a way to represent our community,” said Marta Gonçalves, the brains behind the label founded in 2013.
Lisbon-based designer Constança Entrudo took her underground aesthetic and upcycled garments a step further, combining sensual see-through looks with upholstery fabrics, tweed and patchwork effects. Her collection also features Madeira embroidery, blended with influences from the Brazilian Tropicalia movement and the poetry of Caetano Veloso. Entrudo is a Central Saint Martins graduate and has already done stints at luxury labels like Balmain, Peter Pilotto and Marques Almeida. She showed her creations in March at Paris Fashion Week, another event that was staged in digital format.
Ricardo Andrez, a designer trained in Porto who has made a name for himself in Paris after his recent show, unveiled a collection made from surplus and discarded fabrics. “The mistakes of the past offer renewed hope for the future,” said Andrez optimistically. In 2008 and 2009, he showcased his collections at the fashion weeks in Madrid and Barcelona.
Established designer Luis Carvalho too made his mark at ModaLisboa. His ‘Aurora’ collection, inspired by the northern lights phenomenon known as aurora borealis, took to the catwalk under a shower of bright, shimmering green light, the backdrop to oversize, asymmetrical looks brimming with sheer effects and metallic elements, in fabrics like jacquard, poplin and taffeta. About the message he wanted to broadcast with this collection, Carvalho said: “We won’t stop doing what we love and we won’t let our creativity be hindered by the pandemic and the economic crisis.”
Among new talents to follow closely, Behén, the label by London-trained designer Joana Duarte, stood out. Duarte’s hallmark is collaborating with communities of artisan women to give a new lease of life to scarves and embroidered home linen, and she once again focused her collection on a personal vision of sustainability. Behén’s latest collection, entitled ‘Quero-te muito’ (I love you very much), featured men’s and women’s looks created with bed linen from Portugal and Macau, mixing lavish textures and upholstery fabrics with marble-like effects, developed with the Espírito Santo Foundation.
Also outstanding were the reflection on masculinity by Filipe Augusto, a stylist trained in Porto who has also worked under Portuguese designer Luís Buchinho, and the offbeat performance/show by avant-garde designer Federico Protto, who works between Budapest and Vienna. Finally, the Sangue Novo competition dedicated to emerging designers recognised the work of Portuguese labels Moche, Arndes and Fora de Jogo.
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