Madrid Fashion Week

Sandwiched, like bocadillo, between New York and Milan, Madrid Fashion Week feels a bit like sitting at the kiddie table at a family reunion, especially when the grown-ups of fashion are sitting front row at the London shows, happening at the same time. But this season was different: Madrid Fashion Week had reached its 50th edition, which meant the kids were on their best behavior. 

If you’ve wondered if the 80s will ever go away, José Castro thinks not. His collection—an ode to Michael Jackson, Grace Jones and greed-is-good excess—featured the trappings of the era: big shoulders, baggy pants, leopard print, neon, glitter, glam. All that was missing was a Nagel print and a mirrored coffee table.

By contrast, Amaya Arzuaga offered a subtler, more nuanced take. Like a fairy tale, her models floated by in lighter-than-air dresses adorned with puffs of sheer pleats, sculpted into cloud-like formations. I imagined these looks were for spouting charming architectural bons mots in MoMA’s sculpture garden.

Like the beautiful ceramic tiles that decorate the haunts of old Madrid, Juanjo Oliva‘s use of rich and colorful graphic patterns—printed all over flirty dresses and high-waisted pants—were also pleasing to the eye.

Carlos Diez is, by any stretch, a freak. His show featured reconstructed long johns, military-like mesh, barber-shop-printed jumpsuits and shiny chemical-coated snake prints. Did I mention his models were in black face—or rather, tan face? And, dios mío, the music was 200bpm drum’n’bass soundtrack turned up full blast, with all of Madrid’s club kids bopping along. It was an eye- and ear-opener, to say the least.