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Lisbon Fashion Week S/S11

Portugal finished off another fashion frenzy, dominated by graphic motifs, fluorescent colours and bold prints

Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon's most notorious traditional food market, was the backdrop for ModaLisboa's 35th year. Amongst old veterans and promising talents alike, printed fabrics seemed to be the primary choice for Spring / Summer 2011. From graphic motifs to more romantic ones, used head-to-toe or paired with pastel or fluorescent colours, prints were the most noticeable choice in the runaway. All together, prints and textures were combined to explore the three-dimensional side of the outfits, more connected to fabrics than to the use of shapes and silhouettes. Shorts were present in many of the collections, from sportswear versions to more sophisticated ones. In terms of fabrics - carved cotton, silk taffeta, muslin and light summer wools created subtle visual textures that complemented the use of prints. We talked to four designers whose collections stood out among the 36 shows of Lisbon Fashion Week.

Alexandra Moura
Inspired by a friend's PhD in micro structures of pre-historic Portuguese metals, Alexandra Moura designed a collection that combined her signature structural work with the extensive use of prints. "I never used prints in total looks before but I was so fascinated when I saw my friend's thesis and the images the microscope captured. I was lost in more than 3000 photos, trying to choose the right one to create these fabrics", Moura says. 

Although the prints and the splashes of light blue and beige were very well balanced, Moura's collection comes alive with the details – the rough finishing, specially when applied to darts and cuts, giving it more spunk and personality, making the outfits look less rigid. “I worked a lot in having rigorous fittings and then had fun deconstructing it in a few pieces”, the designer explains. And those are the outfits that stand out. They're the result of a solid knowledge in pattern design put to the service of easy elegance and creativity.

Pedro Pedro
After exploring the use of prints in a more overpowering way for Winter 2010, Pedro Pedro stood out with a lighter twist on the subject. “Everything started with a William Morris' book that I found. It was the starting point to the all collection”, the designer explains. Using white / grayish silk as a canvas, Pedro Pedro returned to Art Noveau and hand painted oversized flowers in blue, green, grey and black. “I used mostly watercolors but experimented with a few other techniques as well”, adds Pedro Pedro. 

Sara Lamúrias
Sara Lamúrias, the designer behind Aforest Design, always marched to the sound of her own drum. “To measure together”, the collection she presented at Lisbon, was all about exploring what's beyond the false harmony of symmetry. “I wanted to play with central axe of the body; multiply it, rotate it, reflect it, creating a graphic game”, Lamúrias explains. “I played with images from magazines, cutting and glueing them in different ways, just exploring what new volumes and shapes can be achieved”, the designer added. 

The result is Aforest's best work in several editions of LFW: interesting and innovative sportswear pieces, that maintain the brand's identity – organic fabrics, comfort, experimentation - while taking it a few steps forward in terms of consistency. The grey dress-jacket is beautiful but the true must have from Aforest Design is Lamúrias' ability to really think about fashion and clothes, putting it all in different perspectives.

White Tent
Last but not least was the White Tent where expectations were high to see if Evgenia Tabakova and Pedro Noronha-Feio could take the brand towards its long seen potential. And they responded in full force – it was the best show seen during the four days, presenting the shapes of baggy t-shirts, loose knits, shirt dresses and their signature deconstructed trench coats and jackets - the “poster collection” for cool, urban and understated elegance. Comfort and texture were the main criteria for the choice of fabrics. “We wanted to explore more organic materials and see how they would react within your pattern design and fittings.”

“Until now, we decided to keep the collections in manageable sizes, considering our financial structure”, says Pedro Noronha–Feio. “But during the last year, we've been working on an expansion plan, creating partnerships in the industry and obtaining private financing”, he adds. This allowed White Tent to present 35 outfits, including leather accessories, and announce new selling points in Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and probably Russia too. They will be also selling online at Yoox and Not Just a Label.

Lisbon Fashion Week - From October 7th to October 10th at Mercado da Ribeira, Lisbon.