SOME of Spain’s biggest designers showcased their autumn-winter collections at the recent Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid, which included bespoke masks now on sale as part of their accessories ranges.
Forthcoming trends for the back end of the year turn out to be a faithful reflection of what the public has got used to wearing, or of the lifestyle it yearns for – albeit in a much more flamboyant and showy manner than would normally populate the nation’s wardrobes.
The various designers’ prêt-à-porter and haute couture collections in store and on their websites tend to be much more wearable than those seen on the catwalks, but the idea of global fashion shows is to create a memorable mise en scène that includes features among its often impossible-looking costumes aimed at inspiring trends for the next season.
In shops, the winter ranges are often of less-than-inspiring colours, typically dark, neutral, practical and sombre, such as greys, browns and blacks, and only occasionally showing a flash of red, maroon or purple among a palette which otherwise reflects the overall mood at that time of year – but the AW21 collections shown off in Madrid between April 8 and 11 inclusive featured a heavy dose of bright tones normally associated with summer.
As though in a bid to cheer society up, radiant orange and yellow was very present; not just in the pieces showcased by Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, who is known for her loud, bright colours at any time of year, but also by the likes of Hannibal Laguna, Fernando Claro and Brain&Beast.
Dressing head to foot in orange or yellow this coming winter – dress, shoes and mask – is set to be the norm rather than the eye-catching exception.
Influences of the cult Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit, mean chequered patterns have been gathering presence on the high street over the past few months, and it looks to be a trend set to stay, as seen in the outfits presented by Moisés Nieto, Maite By Lola Casademunt, and Eduardo Navarrete.
After a year that has included a three-month full lockdown and many more months where almost everything was shut and nobody was allowed to meet anyone else from outside their household, and where working from home has taken off like never before, much of society in Spain and the rest of Europe has gotten into a habit of wearing pyjamas, hoodies, tracksuit bottoms or sweatpants, and similar chill-out gear not designed for public viewing; although if it’s Custo Barcelona, that’s a different matter altogether.
Famed for its crazy patterns, prints and colours, it’s hard to look dull when you’re wearing anything by Custo, and the same is true of its ‘athleisure’ collection seen in Madrid last week.
Eduardo Navarrete and Maison Mesa followed suit, with comfortable sweaters in colours and designs that make ‘lockdown chic’ less of a dichotomy and more of a fashion niche.
Conversely, having been unable to go out on the town, celebrate, party, go to concerts or theatres, or out for a meal with friends means that trading fabulous frocks for jogging suit trousers has seriously grated on much of the fashion-conscious public, who miss having the opportunity to actually need to make themselves look amazing.
It’s enough to make you want to put on your Sunday best just to nip to the supermarket, and designers will be appealing heavily to that side of our fashion sense in their AW21 ranges – frills aplenty, swirling skirts, sequins (a fashion staple that’s especially popular in the run-up to Christmas), puffed sleeves (which looked to be a one-minute wonder but have stuck around now for several seasons), and more formal going-out gear featuring suit jackets with nipped-in waists were highly prominent at this year’s Madrid Fashion Week.
Fernando Claro, Roberto Verino and Otrura went for the more sophisticated ‘dressing-up’ look, with fabrics and cuts that oozed elegance, whilst Buj Studio, Hannibal Laguna, Isabel Sanchis and the young students at the ESNE fashion college opted to supersize their puffed sleeves, and Maison Mesa, Pablo Erroz and Ulises Mérida decided ‘more is more’ when it came to sequins, liberally applying silver and other cool-coloured ones to their garments.
As another nod to ‘pandemic year’, Hannibal Laguna released a handful of creations made with a bacteria-repellent fabric, giving the wearer a further secret weapon against catching Covid-19, or at least, a small contribution to the general efforts everyone now has to make to stay safe.
Winter warmth came in the shape of fur lining and trim (fake, of course) – synthetic furry pieces of some description or another usually make an appearance in collections due for release at the end of the year, and a sneak preview came in the shape of ranges by Ángel Schlesser, Dominnico and Pilar Dalbat.
Leaning more towards an ultra-feminine look for AW21, the pieces presented included transparent materials – but not just netting or see-through silk, muslin and lace.
Custo showed off jeans with a see-through plastic outer layer along with a colourful sweatshirt, and Maya Hansen went the whole hog with a flouncy skirt, thigh-high lace-up boots, a strapless top adorned with chains and studs, and huge, puffed, polka-dot sleeves, all made from industrial-strength transparent plastic and with a face-shield mask darkened to double up as sunglasses.