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Report: 080 Barcelona Fashion Week SS15

Back in January, I tripped down to Barcelona to check out the fashion week there. It was a really interesting experience, partly for the fashion on display and partly for the way it was displayed and the cultural significance of fashion in Catalonia. Well, fast-forward to the other week, and I was back for another edition of Spain’s second fashion week.

In January, the thing that struck the most was the way the government was using fashion to promote a powerful Catalonia, and this was once more in evidence. You can read my musings on last season here, so what’s new this time? Well it seems that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Catalans know where they are even better with spring/summer collections.

desigualTake Desigual for example; as a brand they still have semi-pariah status in the fashion world, but for SS15, they seemed to strip back the OTT pattern clashes for a more streamlined look, based on Hawaiian tropical prints. Let’s be clear: Desigual is never going to have a Miuccia-esque spin on this theme, they are a high-street brand, and as a result everything was jolly, with prints complementing rather than contrasting. I was surprised by how much I liked it, especially the jazzy printed lace-up espadrilles – perfect for a beachside stroll. I was even more surprised when a mermaid closed the show, but y’know, why the hell not?

guilliemBack in serious fashion-land, the double-show of Georgina Vendrell and Guillem Rodríguez showed some seriously good menswear, that would sit perfectly alongside those showing at London Collections last month. Rodríguez’ simple shapes and sharp cutting of block colour pieces flirted with gently with monochrome patterns and heavily with a JW Anderson-inspired approach to masculinity – leather zip-fronted long vests (aka dresses) were a highlight, but the slightly shorted pleated tanks were much more wearable.

vendrellThis season, Vendrell went for a full-on sportswear-inspired collection. Encompassing tailored joggers, boxy t-shirts, elasticated detailing, technical fabrics, cagoules and short shorts, her collection was right up my street for its wearability and balance between design ideas and commercial possibilities. I hope a London retailer takes notice of her; on the basis of just the last two collections, I feel like it’s high time that Vendrell was better known.

abrilLast year’s award-winner Josep Abril’s tailoring was somewhat toned down from last season, but beautifully-finished once more, wit particular attention paid to the fabric quality this time. Soft checks in greys and mid-blues worked particularly well in complex-construction boilersuits with multiple layers, as well as short-sleeve suiting. Abril’s tailoring mastery ran the gamut of shapes and silhouettes, but IMO could have been lifted with an injection of summerier colours.

yerseYerse’s womenswear was more of a literal translation of sportswear, but the mix of stripes, geometrics and florals gave it a sophisticated feel. Take out some of the overdone styling (gym socks, visors, mirror sunglasses), and the pieces revel themselves to be simple, luxe staples that would look as good on a Raval street corner as it would in Shoreditch.

miriamThis year’s prizewinner (€20,000, if I’m not mistaken) was Miriam Ponsa’s nomad-inspired collection. Last season’s yetis were a little too much for me, but this time the softer fabrics and neutral colour tone was much less harsh, bringing a soft scirocco to the catwalk, emphasised by desert shemaghs. Leather accessories were particularly strong, and Ponsa’s expertise with intricately woven fabrics was really given a chance to shine. A well-deserved winner.

txellTxell Miras experimented with drapery, pulling jersey fabrics and stiff neoprenes this way and that, cutting a deep curve out of a jacket to reveal an asymmetric hem. It could have been a total disaster, but the architectural approach to layering and perspective was intriguingly beautiful, and the complex cutting revealing a huge amount of delicate craftsmanship.

Plenty of other labels and ideas were on display, from a very entertaining underwear show from Punto Blanco (c’mon, who doesn’t enjoy models in underwear?) to a bizarre trend for using tennis racquets as styling props. These seven though were my pick of the bunch, displaying a great spectrum of creativity and array of interpretations of a Catalan summer.

So another fabulous season from Barcelona, set this time against the the drop-dead gorgeous modernist architecture of the Hospital de Sant Pau – seriously worth a look around if you’re in Barcelona any time soon – though I can’t promise that Jon Kortajarena will be there too. And if you do happen to be on the lookout for something a bit different for your spring/summer wardrobes, have a look at these guys. Barcelona is still a rich crucible for young talent.

- Seb Law







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