Barcelona Fashion Week

According to my Spanish friends, the favorite past-time of Catalonians isn’t fútbol, but the sport of loathing their down-country neighbors—especially those heathens from Madrid. It’s true. When confronted with a Madrileño, a Catalonian will commonly react with a cold shoulder, a roll of the eyes or worse. So it comes as no surprise that the Catalan designers of Barcelona Fashion Week (aka 080 Barcelona Fashion) seem to find inspiration farther north, or far to the east—places where sartorial sensibilities skew dark and cerebral.

  1. Jan Iú Més, the first show out of the gate, was an example of this. A moody display of brooding men draped in gothic tunics, kimono-like robes, chunky knits, boiled wool—all in hues normally found at your local monastery.

  2. A similar vein prevailed in the womenswear of Miriam Ponsa—but with an edelweiss twist. It was a mix of rustic and modern: ponchos, knitwear and patchwork leggings paired with trenches, blazers, and black minis. Think country girls on their way home to dinner with grandma before hitting the town.

  3. Songzio, a Korean men’s designer who also shows in Paris, was another prince of darkness. But what sets Songzio apart from the pack is the sophistication and clarity of his execution: the artful sweep of a wide pant leg, the deft bunching on a leather motorcycle glove, the dark glint from a metal shackle bracelet.

  4. Manuel Bolaño provided a much-needed break from all the doom and gloom. If you’re in the need of a pink, Krystle Carrington power suit with a two-foot-long bow and teddy-bear heads popping out of the shoulders, Bolaño is your man. But underneath the silliness was a certain brilliance in how the designer subverts yet celebrates the female silhouette.

  5. The final highlight of Barcelona was Martin Lamothe. Elena Martin, the label’s designer, re-imagined the concept of “nautical”—but not boat shoes, sailor collars and anchor motifs. A wrap of knotted rope became a mini-skirt, while an oversized men’s navy trench filled out like a sail when it breezed by on the runway. Another standout were the sheer looks at the end, a cross between lingerie and raincoats. Even a Madrileña would look good in one of those.

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