Barcelona Fashion Is Not What You Think

Catalonian fashion brings to mind vibrant colors, bold prints and frilly things. If you’ve ever walked through Gaudi’s Park Guell—or popped into a Desigual store, for that matter—then you know the people of this lively corner of Spain aren’t afraid to show some flash, or flesh. But don’t sell the local style short; there were plenty of unexpected runway moments at Barcelona Fashion Week, aka 080 Barcelona. These three designers piqued our interest…

Der Metropol
While many designers turned to the Spain’s Gothic history for inspiration, Mario Francisco eschewed Inquisition robes in favor of puffer jackets in an explosive monarch butterfly print. In his men’s collection, fabrics were heavy on sheen, so Francisco threw in a few more wearable options, like a zip-front track jacket paired with red shorts. It was a smart, almost conceptual take on athleticism.

Manuel Bolaño
Wallowing in the dark side, Manuel Bolaño was influenced by mental institutions, the military, and Nazi Germany for fall, practically daring you to look at his models with (thankfully fake) bruises and bloodied noses. Layers of raffia, photographic prints, and striped jackets showed a good understanding of print and proportion—like a procession of Otto Dix paintings come to life, but without the disfigurement.

Yiorgos Eleftheriades
Men in skirts aren’t exactly riveting these days. Hell, we’re probably a season or two away from seeing leather kilts at Target, but Yiorgos Eleftheriades offered a more viable option, a pant-skirt combo in leather and wool that hit just the right androgynous note. Women’s oversized liquid leather coats and two-tone knits had a slouchy quality, balancing out the hard edges of an aggressive collection.

Alexis Reyna
Alexis Reyna’s adventurous show took the crowd in a few different directions. What started with tribal wrap dresses quickly veered into white gossamers, menswear style jackets, and most surprising, a hooded tangerine terry-cloth cape. Needless to say, there was a lot to take in, but sometimes sensory overload can be a good thing, particularly when Reyna tackled printed outerwear. It was some of the best of the week.

Toni Francesc
The liquid silk shirtdresses and double-breasted jacket with dropped lapels were some of the standouts in this quietly excellent show from Toni Francesc. The tone was somber and elegant, but a couple of Francesc’s more unique pieces, like a sheer knit gray jumpsuit, gave one pause. Otherwise the strongest pieces came in the form of dramatic tailoring, like in a one-shoulder print top with a voluminous silk trouser. It was a great reference to 80s tailoring, minus 80s styling, thankfully.

Josep Abril
Barcelona loves a touch of the Gothic, which might explain why Josep Abril’s collection was so well-received. Well, that and the clothes were pretty spectacular. Navy and teal plaid pieces were sharply tailored and effortlessly stylish. There was also a vaguely Arabian theme throughout the collection, with male models in sandy desert prints and wrap turbans. It’s not hard to see these clothes making the transition from runway to real life.