Pierre Cardin, Mango and Desigual, the major figures of the 080 Barcelona Fashion Week

During four intense days, the ceremonial hall of the old Palau del Rei (King’s Palace) of Barcelona, the Saló del Tinell, became a catwalk full of glitter, aromas and, above all, glamour.

Joan Serra Mingot

January 31, 2012 02:57 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Long-faced models, Catalan politicians, skinny bloggers creating trends and a crowd of journalists gathered at the ninth edition of the 080 Barcelona Fashion Week. During four intense days, the ceremonial hall of the old Palau del Rei (King’s Palace) of Barcelona, the Saló del Tinell, became a catwalk full of glitter, aromas and, above all, glamour.

The 080 began officially with a speech by the Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Francesc Xavier Mena. In the middle of champagne and cupcakes, the Minister stressed that the aim of events like 080 or The Brandery is “to project Catalonia in the world and build a leading industry”. Although this year public resources have been cut by 40%, some companies and sponsorships have carried on with this increasingly consolidated catwalk.

The Village

From the fourth floor of the Palau del Rei, we could see how the square had been occupied by a large elongated white tent. Inside the tent, called The Village, some sponsors offered samples of their products to guests and journalists. MAC’s makeup artists transforming ordinary people into models, Bacardi rum for thirsty guests, strawberries and photo booth session, courtesy of sweetener company Truvia, or Nespresso coffee to make the waiting more enjoyable.

A Gothic stage

The real show was being lived out inside the Saló del Tinell. Unlike the Madrid marquee where the Madrid Fashion Week is held or the tents where models walk up and down on New York’s catwalk, the 080 has chosen this year a classical and historical stage. A dark wooden walkway and three benches on each side for guests were placed along this Gothic room, which is one of the largest Civil Gothic rooms in the world.

TCN underwear, the first parade

The Catalan brand TCN had the honour of being the first to present its designs in this room from the fourteenth century. The company, which will exhibit at the Madrid Fashion Week its street clothes, chose to present its underwear collection in Barcelona. TCN selected a pine and lavender aroma, because this year, each brand picks a scent to perfume the Saló del Tinell. A Pyjama Party was the theme of the parade, full of corsetry, lingerie and home wear. The models paraded in front of powerful spotlights with sober, somewhat unsexy but wearable and comfortable garments. Draper checks were the lead; red and boiler tones combined with cooler colours like green or blue. TCN goes for fifties style culottes, not very tight corsets, pyjamas or sweatshirts with messages. Lace, fur or sheep hair were some of the materials used for hats, scarves and boots.

Independent designers’ moment has arrived

Checked material and wool were also the protagonists of Josep Abril’s male collection, entitled “Introspection: Observation and Examination of our own feelings and thoughts”. The predominant colours were black and blue, with a touch of grey. Abril goes for heavy materials, and checked jackets, pants and even skirts. The turban was one of the accessories that attracted the most attention such as the one worn by Spanish model Jon Kortajarena.

Other designers who presented their clothes on the first day were Celia Vela, with an original and colourful collection ruled by floral prints, bows or overlapping layers. After the extremely sober and dark Karlotalaspalas collection, Montse Liarte introduced its new season, dominated by pastel tones, flowers and straight lines. Animal prints and models made-up as monsters were Alexis Reyna’s proposals, a designer from Barcelona who won the 080 prize this year, valued at 20,000 euros.

The elitism of Mango

The next day, Brain & Beast surprised with white masks and mime aesthetics. Gray was part of almost all the dresses of Juan Pedro Lopez, who opted for gauzy fabrics and tights with elaborate patterns. Gray was also the predominant colour of Who’s parade, apart from black and blue shades on serious and dark floral prints, unlike those of Celia Vela. Der Metropol, however, opted for bomber type jackets, bright colours and butterflies’ prints. However, the big event of the day, the parade of the Catalan brand Mango, was only available to a few fortunate ones. After waiting for an hour and half to the weather, the stewards reported to the hundreds of journalists waiting outside that they could go home. Apparently, only top professionals and famous Spanish celebrities from the yellow press could watch it. At least for the rest of the day we could enjoy parades by other talented designers such as Justicia Ruano, Miriam Ponsa or Sololaverdadessexy.

Desigual’s Rainbow

January 27th was marked by three shows: Toni Francesc, Manuel Bolaño and Desigual. The first one goes for the top colour of this catwalk, grey, but also for brown tones. The abundance of fur, leather and original boots with high platforms in the same colour were also some of his most representative features. Manuel Bolaño’s models walked up and down the catwalk with small square sunglasses made up like zombies. Fringes, stripped prints, and a wide range of colours (again, with grey as the predominant colour) were the highlight of this designer from Barcelona, who has already won the 080 Award twice.

But undoubtedly the funniest parade of the ninth edition of the 080 was the one by Desigual. A group of children were the first to present the new proposals of the Catalan brand on the catwalk. The collection is called “Rainbow” and, for that reason, there were many bright and fresh colours, as is customary in this brand’s clothes. The cheerful and fun models paraded on the catwalk to the beat of pop music, bringing all kinds of fabrics and prints, from Marilyn and Mickey Mouse (with mouse ears included) to daring psychedelic or ethnic patterns. But Desigual had prepared another surprise, the collection “L”, inspired by the Cirque du Soleil, the fruit of his collaboration with French designer Christian Lacroix. Although the clothes were very carnival-like and not very street-friendly, at least they made their show a joy.

And, finally, Monsieur Cardin

Pierre Cardin’s parade marked the end of 080 Barcelona Fashion. The French master, 89 years old, gave a lesson of experience and professionalism to the other designers and brands. Cardin presented his new collection to more than 400 people through a very emotional parade that lasted for about 45 minutes.

Futuristic elements mixed with classic garments. The parade began with a model dressed in black from head to toe, followed by mini dresses with black leggings and futuristic glasses. Hats had a leading role: as a vinyl record, flying saucer, staked or like the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland. The lower skirts finished with a sort of black plastic float or with hooked spheres that looked like planets were other elements that looked to the future. There were handbags of impossible shapes, extra big buttons and flared sleeves and collars, as well as dresses with bows and flounces. The fabrics were very varied, from satin to waterproof fabric, through lycra, plastic, wool or velvet. There was a place for evening dresses, very full and gauzy with satin sheens, and serious and formal suits for men. The last phase of the parade was marked by a purely futuristic aesthetic: tight dresses to the knee with rings around them in strident tones, metallic fabrics and even a wedding dress for the brides of the future.

After finishing the parade, the designer came from the audience, and earned a standing ovation. Thus, the most applauded collection of this year brought the ninth edition of 080 Barcelona Fashion Week to a close.