Dear Shaded Viewers,
I recently attended the 2nd edition of 080 Barcelona Fashion and this one was even better than the first which I attended last March. Systeme D in Paris, which handled the event’s communications, assured that everything went smoothly and stylishly. Barcelona’s dramatic Fira district was the backdrop for the collections and each show was punctuated by films and graphics that were projected on giant screens behind the audience and at the end of the runway, courtesy of artist Bjorn Tagemose. These dynamic works transformed the fashion event into an art happening–a real treat. That coupled with Cava (Catalan champagne) which never stopped flowing and a savvy international crowd of editors and tastemakers, 080 Barcelona is now a maverick fashion weekette to be reckoned with.
After a nap in my room at the stately Barcelona Center Hotel, I was whisked away with the other invitees to a magical soiree at the Palau Dalmases, a delicious 15th-century palace owned by a mysterious marchesa and located in Barcelona’s atmospheric Gotic district. The occasion was an exhibit of clothing by Bilbao resident Miriam Ocariz, an illustrator and fashion designer. "You are never given a second chance to make a first impression," Ocariz is quoted in the notes of "From the Idea to the Catwalk." I’m happy to report that her clothes, which were at once whimsical and smart, made a nice first impression. Cointreau was on hand proffering Cointreau cosmos ("Cointreaupolitans") and I was amused by the bartenders’ refusal to serve anything but this rather time-worn conspiracy. No water, no juice (which was one of the ingredients), sorry, darlings. Carrie Bradshaw imperialism arrives in Catalonia! The strong cocktails, coupled with the unpleasant Mediterranean mugginess, added to the evening’s intrigue…
The opening night party for 080 was held at the oh-so-modernist Pavello Mies van der Rohe. Speeches were delivered in Catalan and the gauntlet was thrown down yet again; a fashion provocation aimed at Madrid. Frisson! The Font Magica de Montjuic (below) was turned on just for us, the visiting fashionistas. Spoil me!
I’m always delighted to be the only North American at any event, and this was one of them. The assembled French, German, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, and Viennese guests nipped at the passing canapes before a full-fledged risotto riot ensued. Most of us got very tipsy and very acquainted…
Gori de Palma
Not sure if Gori is any relation to director Brian de Palma, but there sure was a Dressed-to-Kill-or-Be-Killed aura hanging over the proceedings. Models were handcuffed, masked with sinister chain-metal hoods, and adorned with preposterous paper accordion Halloween decorations as a menacing industrial remix of a Lydia Lunch song wailed and screeched on the soundtrack. The video backdrop burst with images of a simmering, steaming German power plant. It was all great fun.
Before this show (my favorite of the event) Damian Sammarco, Fashion Director of SLURP–a conspicously thick fashion-and-male-eye-candy magazine from Milan–and I were discussing our Calabrian roots (my grandfather, his mother) and the Italian region’s proximity and relationship to Sicilian culture. We were therefore astonished to see that Bolano’s show seemed to channel the intensity of the Sicilian widow. Truth be told, the show was an homage to the rituals of the widows in Spain’s region of Galicia. Throughout the show, everyone who was sitting nearby poked me and exclaimed, "This is SO Diane!"
EBP, by designer Eduard Ballester Pi, returned again this season by "hinting at a long-gone ancient past." Shirts and jacket linings were printed with fish scales perhaps meant to evoke mermen or Atlantis. Me, I was too busy studying the leather shrug, worn by the model on the left, to decipher the season’s cryptic message.
For spring, Petrov indulged in matte finishes, kangaroo leather (down, PETA!) with matte-techno finishes, high-tech windbreakers and "a mix between high and low culture, elegance and street life."
Paris-based brand Lutz staged a retrospective of key silhouettes from the past 15 collections. "I don’t dress a woman’s body, I dress her soul," Lutz Huelle exclaimed during his elongated press conference in Barcelona. This put me in mind of what Harold says in the William Friedkin film, "The Boys in the Band": "Although I’ve never seen my soul, I understand from my mother’s rabbi that it’s a knockout. I, however, cannot seem to locate it for a gander. And if I could, I’d sell it in a flash….for some skin-deep, transitory, meaningless beauty."
I think that just about sums it up, non?
The exquisite meals served in the Press Restaurant were catered by Cal Blay Grup. Above: Shrimp with salmon tartare, tomato ice cream with caviar, and Iberian pork topped with a luscious slab of foie gras. Divoon.
Me and Jie Li of Chinese Marie Claire; French journos dive into the hot tub during a party on the rooftop of our hotel. The one in the middle kept trying to splash water on my suede sneakers, the bitch.
Above: A selection of Bjorn Tagemose’s delightful video backgrounds.