Portuguese Soul 25: on the water side

Of all the words in this magazine, the phrase “the ocean is the basis of life on Earth” stands out. We could not have found a better motto to inspire this issue, entirely dedicated to this essential element: water. And in all its forms: river, sea, ocean. However, the joke is on our side: we tried to talk about it without spilling too much. I think we succeeded.

Let’s get down to facts. This is a commemorative issue: 25 editions, give or take 13 years of activity. So, we decided it was time to look back and recover some of the most iconic images of this journey. It is impossible to choose them all, it is unthinkable to recreate in just a few examples so much of what has been achieved over these years. It’s a long journey, with hundreds of people, brands, stories, professionals, and designers. We’ve tried, therefore, to choose some that reflect what Portuguese Soul was and is. And, perhaps, where it’s heading.

We begin this edition dancing with Ana Caracol and Pedro Ferreira, in a movement that is as beautiful as worrying. What if our shoes were fish? What if anemones were suddenly all the plastic that ends up in our oceans and beaches every year? In this dance of ours, our shoes transform themselves into fish that inhabit the deep blue, swimming together with the anemones. Together they form a recycled work of art, as all these footwear brands are intrinsically linked to the area of sustainability and to the oceans. 

Still with water as the central theme, Ana Caracol and Pedro Ferreira present us DROP, a perfect symbiosis between footwear and the unlikely beauty of water.

And what better way to celebrate the water than to head somewhere surrounded by sea on all sides? If you thought of Madeira, you thought right. We got to know the mysterious, historical and compelling profession of levadeiros, an art exclusive to this island. Water Runs Through It, with the lens of Ricardo Santos and styling by Joel Alves, celebrates these men who every day take care of the levadas, an important heritage for the island and for the population itself.

Still on the island of Madeira, with Pedro Afonso’s eye and Fernando Bastos Pereira’s styling signature, we meet Arya, with the sea and natural rocky constructions as a backdrop. The professional duo got together again in Waves of Change and Daddys Closet, an editorial that celebrates the ability of hair to reinvent itself. Signed by Rui Rocha, this is also a moment to celebrate the 25-year career of the hairdresser in the fashion world.

Living on water is in her blood, and protecting the sea is one of her great ambitions. With the majestic Foz do Tua Dam and Hydroelectric Plant as a backdrop, we met bodyboarder Joana Schenker. Swimming with sharks and visiting schools all over the country to raise awareness of all issues related to the ocean are some of the activities that occupy Joana when she is not at sea. The images were taken by Frederico Martins, with styling by Nelly Gonçalves.

In WATER DEITY, Cláudia Barros and Frederico Martins take a new look at the beauty of Porto City Park, in an aura of mystery and art. 

Throughout the magazine, like drops of water spreading on a surface, we leave splashes of the work of Carmo Amorim and Joaquim Stukniz, who look at the three states of water and seamlessly integrate them with different shoes.

Last but not least: in the chapter on Portugal, we unveil everything that is connected to water: we tell in detail the story of the Levadeiros, and we seek to understand how the sea inspires not only Portuguese literature, but also our table – whether in ceramics or gastronomy.

Another highlight is the contribution of the wonderful historian Germano Silva, who explains the importance of the (also majestic) Douro River.

I end with a sharing that is very much my own, even if it seems disconnected. For those who, like me, can’t swim, the sea, and water in general, poses immeasurable respect and admiration. Entering the water will be for me, in the very near future (I hope), a moment of overcoming, respect and surrender. And throughout the 240 pages of the magazine, it is exactly these kinds of feelings that we see in people and projects that were born and/or are associated with the sea.

The advice is as always: read our Portuguese Soul. In print or online.

Cover Photo: Ricardo Santos

Words: Cláudia Pinto

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