50 Years of Nuno Gama

His brow is heavy, his arms are tense and you can see his mind is working faster than light itself. His pace is rapid and decided, there is no room for error and he waits, nervously, as the lights dimmer and the crowd cheers. Luís Pereira gives him a pat on the back and suddenly, all forgotten, he is a child again, this fantastic thing of a man, thanking hundreds of people as if they were loved ones – most of them are. The show is over and Nuno Gama returns backstage, with his dogs and huge smile and moved eyes, his hand still in his heart and his mind floating somewhere above and beyond, happy in the land of the grateful.

Gama is 50 now. He has been working for 30 years and the ritual we just described has been done for 31 times. There are a few things we could say about that (and these can only be said in Portuguese): Corações de Viana, Lenços dos Namorados, Galo de Barcelos, Pastéis de Nata, Azulejos, Esfera Armilar, Manuelino, Nazaré, Fado, Mar. They may seem like a list of national landmarks but, in fact, they are all sewn on Gama’s clothing, be it in his shoes, his hats, his t-shirts, his pants, his (very very tiny, thank god) swimwear, his samarras and, above all, his heart. Each collection is a striptease of his soul and a statement about his essence – which is often seen as a blue shirt with white stripes, that piece that keeps coming back to him, year after year.

Nuno was born in Azeitão, studied at Citex and launched his label in 1993. Since then, he was able to become one of Portugal’s most recognized menswear designers and filled each season with testosterone, history and a bit of spectacle. A bit is putting it lightly. There have been horses, marching bands and recited poems, there have been martial arts and broken tableware but, perhaps what’s most interesting is what is yet to come: a book about his path, wrote by Cristina L. Duarte and edited by Uzina Books is certain, and a perfume, a line of watches and an international career still lie in his dreams. We can take them for granted, though. Nuno Gama’s dreams have a habit of coming true. Take his love letters to his country as the perfect example: from all the affection, applauses and standing ovations after each show, Portugal is sure writing him back.