With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid increasingly attracting the attention of the key fashion press and buyers around the world, the Spanish capital is perfectly placed to become a serious contender to the Big Four of Paris, London, Milan and New York. There’s a steady stream of international fashion professionals heading to the city, thanks to its reputation for teaming creativity with polished, wearable pieces. ‘Our main target now is to improve our presence abroad. That is one of the reasons why we changed our dates and we are the first international show in the fashion calendar,’ explains event director Leonor Pérez Pita. ‘The number of visitors is also increasing considerably.’
This growing confidence was evident in the shows for spring/summer 2013. Madrid’s take on the floral trend was bold and bright: not a hint of wallflower on these catwalks. Devota & Lomba’s wreath-style necklaces were fanciful and beautifully ornate – ideal for modern-day tropical-island princesses – while blooms appeared in Guillermina Baeza’s patchwork bathing suits. For aspiring goddesses of the silver screen, flowers were trailed artfully down the full-length delicate gowns at DelPozo.
Classically feminine shapes also dominated, from old-Hollywood-inspired, full-skirted creations in black chiffon at María Escoté to Maya Hansen’s sumptuous, curve-clinging gowns. These included a head-turning gold metallic corset top and mini skirt worn with space-cadet visor, evoking the aesthetic of Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra, with horse-hair embellishments on the hip; this designer takes no prisoners. On the other side of the spectrum were the exaggerated, squared-off shoulders and angular sleeve shapes that looked modern and pared-back. At DelPolzo a white short-sleeve jacket was nipped in at the waist for a modern hour-glass silhouette and worn over a buttoned-up white sleeveless shirt. Artfully folded sleeves added an edge, while lace appliqué white dresses had exaggerated hips.
If femininity, florals and candy colours are simply too whimsical for your wardrobe, there were also neat pointed collars and button-up shirts to add a dash of restraint to all the froth and fancy. Clean, fresh and modern looks that nodded to slick tailoring played a key part at Madrid Fashion Week. Designers such as Ángel Schlesser and Sita Murt incorporated closed-neck collars, which lend an austere, restrained air. The shirting referenced androgynous dressing and the mannish style of Katharine Hepburn.
It’s no wonder that Carlos Díez knows how to give a good performance, given that he combines his work as a designer with being a DJ. Pop art prints were riotous and bold, with a raft of optical eye prints on white garments, worn by models with lipstick-print-kissed faces and 1990s grunge-style hair bunches. A navy and white striped minidress spliced utilitarian straps with a ra-ra skirt for a playful interpretation of a cheerleader’s uniform. At Ana Locking, menswear was given a shot of adrenalin with sporty shapes such as surfer shorts or simple long-sleeved T-shirts, contrasted with ultra-bright print sleeves and jewellery. Meanwhile the women sported the same prints on matching peplum skirts and collared blouses.
While primary shades and classic, go-faster green were championed by the Big Four, Madrid has taken this season’s love affair with pink, fashion doyenne Diana Vreeland’s favourite colour, and applied it to its catwalks. From raspberry to bubblegum, coral and rose, 2012’s mint and blue pastels morph for 2013 into this most feminine of blush tones. Like delectable confectionery, Sita Murt’s rose-pink silk frocks and Devota & Lomba’s divine floral dresses topped with miniature fuchsia bolero jackets gave a hint of bullfighter flair.
Meanwhile Agatha Ruiz de la Prada’s girlish heroines danced down the runway in Warhol-inspired pop art brights, from canary yellow to salmon. Splashes of red and emerald green were combined with mirror effects, patent leather, sequins and satin for a dressing-up-box celebration of summer delights. It’s time to put the black sweater to one side; Madrid Fashion Week suggests that for spring/summer 2013 the brighter and bolder the better.