Portugal Fashion

Protecting talent for 25 years

Photos: Tomás Monteiro

In March, Portugal Fashion left an “open future”. It all remained to be seen. A future that had not yet arrived, but which promised to be a celebration of the best that Portugal produces. Everything came together in October to welcome the 25th anniversary celebrations. How could it be otherwise?

The 47th edition hosted 24 shows and presentations by 17 creators and clothing labels, six footwear brands and seven projects by young designers. And once more it was hosted in reinvented spaces at the Alfândega do Porto. But that’s not all. Portuguese fashion’s confident steps were being noticed throughout the city. The new Hotel Neya and WOW in Vila Nova de Gaia were the venues for some presentations by national creators.

“The pandemic prompted a profound reinvention of the event, which has translated into new organisational models for the parades, new forms of communication for the creations and new modes of interaction with the public,” explains Portugal Fashion director, Mónica Neto.

It all began with Sophia Kah in the magical surroundings of the Hotel Neya. She was followed by David Catalán who presented a collection inspired by the world of safari, transposing it into an urban and contemporary approach with references to the world of classic men’s fashion. Then it was the turn of Estelita Mendonça, who presented Chaos, while Katty Xiomara presented a hybrid format ALMA, a collection inspired by the links between people and creativity.

The night ended with the premiere by the Ernest W. Backer duo, with a video presentation of the new collection, which was inspired by the current moment of pause around the world.

Inês Torcato started off the second day with the launch of the Torcato label. “This is intended to be a conscious exploration of the link that can and should exist between designer and commercial fashion, maintaining a strong connection with the message that the designer wishes to convey: fashion is for everyone, regardless of body shape, gender or skin colour.”

Maria Gambina took us to the waterfront. And the background could not have been more appropriate for the presentation of the summer collection Space Age, which was inspired by the African-American style of the 1960s. In the collection, emphasis was placed on details that refer to childhood. This was followed by Pé de Chumbo. At the end of the day, Miguel Vieira presented “Instrospection”, believing that adversity makes us stronger. The collection was inspired by “men focused on what they truly believe and who are free to wear what reflects and simultaneously shapes their personality. Men who, when they consume fashion, prefer consistency and quality.”

The final day began with the best view over Porto at the recently-opened WOW, with the presentation from the duo Marques’Almeida. REM’Ade, which transforms fashion waste into new fashion, is the new Marques’Almeida label, with products made exclusively from deadstock and recycled textiles and which, as is usual, draws attention to issues that divide the world, such as sustainability and the waste generated by the industry. Alexandra Moura introduced a permanent installation SUBSTRATO 2021.

Júlio Torcato File#002-Vota! presented a manifesto in the form of a socio-political satire in which someone talks about the manipulation and our lack of analysis of the things we hear.

Hugo Costa followed this with Doos, a collection inspired by “to the last man.” The proposals for next summer are a reflection on the life of Desmond Doss, an American soldier and life guard during the Second World War, who was the first conscientious objector who refused to bear arms.

It fell to Alves/Gonçalves to finish with a flourish. With Portuguese shoes from Centenário, the pair gave a presentation for a new post-COVID era, which foresees a positive and energetic future.

Focus on footwear

Portuguese footwear was once again associated with Portugal Fashion, with two collective Shoes & Bags shows.

On the second day, it was the turn of Belcinto, MLV Portuguese Shoes and Fly London to take to the stage. The highlight was the debut of leather goods brand Belcinto. It was then the turn of Rufel and debutants Sanjo and Esc.

Miguel Vieira was also on the Portugal Fashion catwalk to present proposals for the coming summer season. And since the summer is all about beaches, bars and cocktails, the designer introduced his new cocktail, in partnership with Vogue Café in Porto.

On the last day it was the turn of Luís Onofre to step into the limelight with the Freedom collection. But there’s more. Centenário took to the runway with Alves & Gonçalves. And because the industry’s mission is to recruit new talent, APICCAPS — in partnership with the Academy of Design and Footwear — promoted the Hot New Talents photography exhibition. Throughout the event it was possible to ‘prove’ “the fibre of the new footwear designers who are coming into the industry.”

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