Lisbon has an impressive range when it comes to designer fashion, with such international names as Hugo Boss, Prada and Louis Vuitton on offer. But there is much more to discover, and a little extra effort can result in something truly special from one of Portugal’s homegrown designers. If you are looking for that unique piece to remember your trip by, seek out Ana Salazar, Fátima Lopes, Storytailors or Rosa & Teixeira. They are the perfect places to find a gift or an investment piece and are made by Portugal’s best; expect exquisite detailing, luxurious fabrics and an unabashed love of opulence.
Considered the pioneer of Portuguese fashion, Ana Salazar has sealed her status as a renowned designer both in Portugal and around the world. Born in 1941, she comes from a family of creatives; she is the granddaughter of a fashion designer, and her father is painter and architect Oskar Pinto Lobo. After moving to London in the 70s, she found growing success in her shops and began designing her own collections. She now lives and works in Lisbon, where her main branch is located.
Salazar’s style is both avant-garde yet wearable. Unusual shapes, diagonal zippers and a mixing of different patterns are trademarks of her designs, which still manage to look understated and elegant. Her collection consists mainly of casualwear, though her colourful printed dresses are also well-suited for an evening out. The place to find Salazar’s eclectic creations is her surprisingly minimalist shop in the sophisticated Chiado district (Rua do Carmo 87), a must-see spot on any visitor’s list.
Following in Salazar’s footsteps is Fátima Lopes, who launched her label in 1992 and became the next notable name amongst Portuguese designers. She was born in 1965 on the Portuguese island of Madeira and moved to Lisbon in 1990 to pursue a career in fashion design. Her ambition paid off, as she has the honour of being the first Portuguese designer to take part in Paris Fashion Week. She continues to show twice each year.
Visiting Lopes’s shop in the bohemian Bairro Alto area (Rua da Atalaia 36) can be quite an experience, as Lopes also opened a nightclub and a modelling agency in her building, even allowing customers to shop until 4am. Lopes’s collections emulate this fun and indulgent lifestyle with bright pops of colour, while her monochrome pieces are more demure. Ever present is a touch of luxury, as demonstrated by a belted cream fur coat in her autumn/winter 2011/12 show.
For those less inclined for a drink and maybe travelling with children, Storytailors (Calçada do Ferragial 8) is the place to go. Created by João Branco and Luis Sanchez, this fantasy-based shop is like stepping into another world, where even their Street Couture collection is full of fairytale imagination (the collections include names such as Dressing Playground and Enchanted Forest).
Branco and Sanchez launched Storytailors in 2003 after several years of sharing their ideas and opinions about fashion. They developed the brand’s reputation until finally launching a shop in the Chiado district in 2006. Their collections are based on legends and myths and the results are truly spectacular. Cinderella dresses are given a twist by using metallic silver, while black-and-white dogtooth jackets are both ladylike and wearable. All the while, the fantasy-based inspiration behind each garment ensures that they truly feel like one-of-a-kind finds.
While the aforementioned brands specialise in womenswear, Rosa & Teixeira is a menswear shop using a traditional method of tailoring perfected over generations by master tailors. The label was launched by Francisco Rosa, a disciple of the most prestigious master tailor in Lisbon, and his son-in-law António Teixeira.
Though new management took over the company in 1981, the same meticulous techniques continue to be used today, while the store (Avenida da Liberdade 204) has been given a modern transformation. The sleek wood and marble shop also boasts an impressive line of ready-to-wear collections in a variety of colours, both formal and casualwear.
Visiting these hidden talents of Lisbon is a unique experience, one that suits both fashion enthusiasts and curious travellers alike. Great attention is given to making the shops themselves stand out, so it isn’t only the products that matter; it’s the entire package. Lisbon is a city of beauty and history, and Ana Salazar, Fátima Lopes, Storytailors and Rosa & Teixeira are among the brands that have worked tirelessly to put their shops on the map and ensure visitors are given a deeper sense of what makes Lisbon’s hidden talents such a worthwhile find.