An interesting sideshow when attending international Fashion Weeks is taking in the cast of characters that make up the host city’s front row. Invariably you find soap opera stars, pop singers, drag queens, daughters of washed-up movie stars. At Madrid’s Cibeles Fashion Week, the best celebrity sighting had to be the Duchess of Alba. For the uninitiated, the 84-year-young Spanish royal is a card-carrying jetsetter of the first order, the bluest of blue blood, a lover of toreadors half her age, a patron of cosmetic surgeons and a holder of so many titles of nobility that she doesn’t need to kneel to the Pope. She also has a fiercely unique style all her own. The Duchess is a reminder to us all that they don’t make them like they used to. Now on to the collections…
The Transformer/body armor look was an early battle cry on the Madrid runways. Both Amaya Arzuaga and Juanjo Oliva and presented military-inspired looks of interlocking panels and sport-padding that alluded to some futuristic reality where clothes need to be both stylish and bullet-proof. Navy, olive and haz-mat orange dominated the color palette.
Davidelfin further evolved his explorations into tailored urban androgyny for men and women, but this time with more of a nod to his Spanish roots. There was the women’s bolero jacket that referenced flamenco, graphic sweater prints resembling Iberian tile, and a mustard hue prevalent on the buildings of old Spanish towns.
No one taps into the city’s vibrant, tweaked-out youth culture quite like Carlos Diez, who closed Madrid Fashion Week with an exclamation point. In knitted masks with pop-out ears, his models came out wearing draped habits in checkered flannel, country dresses with skull patterns and astronaut bodysuits in reflective mylar. Like the blackface he showed last season, or the furry monster bodysuits the season before, you’re never sure what to expect with Diez except the unexpected.