Foreign Fashion Weeks can and undoubtedly will lead to comparisons with London. Heck, going on holiday gets us comparing. While the differences between the other big guns may be slight, sizing up five days of shows in the same venue hardly seems fair against London’s exotic backdrop of skate parks and tearooms.
That said, last week Clash was invited to sample the fashions of Catalonia at 080 Barcelona Fashion, and for one reason or another we duly agreed; proximity to the sea and blue skies as a given were just a nice extras, ok?
Aside from the venue – this year the Disseny Hub Barcelona held the honour, simultaneously housing the Festival of All Design which made for an enticing display – initial differences to its London counterpart meant attendees appeared ready for the beach while shoes worn on the catwalk were championed as ‘funky’ throughout.
Designers exhibiting their wares ranged from international brands like Desigual and Custo Barcelona (each following their presentation with an all expenses splashed fiesta of sorts), and designers lesser known to Spain’s British guests including Alexis Reyna and Josep Abril.
Shows began not with the atmosphere damaging screams of ‘uncross your legs’ from the photo pit (there was a good metre between the front row and the catwalk), but with a visible 30 second count down similar to that in episodes of ‘24’.
Audience members ranged from twenty-something fashion students to families. In this sense it was hard to judge just who the week was really aimed at, but for the catwalk it created an upbeat energy that granted each show a must see event.
Also lending itself to the room’s vibe was live music, which accompanied a handful of presentations. From boy bands that actually play instruments (but also cover Black Eyed Peas) to string quartet’s who do a lap of the runway, followed by a trail of bemused models; the week had it all, and some.
A former recipient of the ‘Best Collection’ accolade from Barcelona Fashion Week, Alexis Reyna’s 080 bio stated that he is influenced by ‘the artistic professions of his parents’. For his SS14 collection his models wore half painted faces and carried bags of goldfish.
Ideas were mixed – loose suiting followed by checkerboard prints and sports tops – while a standout pink concoction was paired with a set of false red lips. Individually though, there were some strong pieces.
Juan Pedro Lopez had a much clearer vision, delivering pink, navy and white looks in glitter and leather alongside rude gal gold bamboo hoops.
Perhaps it’s the Shannon effect, but his strong way with glitter (used to create a much more classic collection than Christopher Shannon’s glitter doused heads) left us gawping with excitement.
A name we were told to look out for by previous attendees was Josep Abril. A menswear designer who’s already claimed the ‘Barcelona es Moda’ award (in 1998), his Spring Summer show shared similarities with the Irish born designer, Alan Taylor.
A sea of navy and grey, models clad in kilt like pieces, all in ones with semi suit jackets, and many raw edges were all witnessed on his catwalk.
Lastly, Punto Blanco and Naulover got our vote for their use of plastic. The former, an underwear brand since 1996, showed their tighty whities alongside rucksacks in transparent shades of green and orange, to great effect; knits displaying palm trees also went down well.
Naulover on the other hand created Simons for Dior evoking neckties out of the material. Sat alongside the textiles company’s 50s esc designs, the neckties were made for marveling.
A busy schedule with enough highlights to create a decent wish list, 080 Barcelona Fashion offers something that you won’t see elsewhere. Don’t let our holiday snaps deceive you, this is an event with time and care put into every inch.
Words: Zoe Whitfield