Dear Shaded Viewers,
By now, most of you know that twice a year I travel to Barcelona to cover their 3-day catwalk event. This was the 6th edition of the event that was conceived as part of the 2007-2010 Action Plan for Catalan Fashion, promoted by the Ministry of Innovation, Universities and Enterprise of the Socialist Government of Catalonia. I should probably mention that while I was in Barcelona, I heard rumors that the elections this October could drastically change the future of 080 Barcelona Fashion. Barcelona’s Socialist Party has been bankrolling this terrific event since the beginning, however their party has become increasingly unpopular with the general population. As a result, a more fiscally conservative, non-socialist government may take power this fall.
But on to happier thoughts….here are my highlights from the latest edition of 080…..
JUAN ANTONIO AVALOS
Young Spanish designer Juan Antonio Avalos was this season’s winner of the 080 Barcelona Fashion Award for menswear (10,000 euros go to each of the two winners). Titled Tropical Knight, the collection combined inspiration from Medieval knights (volumes were based on armor; patterns were based on 11th-13th century coats of arms) and sportswear worn by California surfers and skaters in the ’70s. “Imagine if you will a Medieval knight in the California of the 1970s,” Avalos asks, to which I reply, “Why not”?
I was absolutely delighted that Manuel Bolano won the women’s wear award this season. I’ve been a fan ever since I saw his Galician Widow collection at 080 in September 2008. The collection was inspired by childhood summers spent with his grandmother in Vilavella, which is in Spain’s northern region of Galicia where Manuel grew up. (He was born in Barcelona.) Manuel’s memories of Sunday church visits, replete with gold-adorned statues of Mary and the smell of wax, transported him “to an imaginary world.”
As Catholicism wanes worldwide as an influential religious and political entity–a result of its own errors–I find it somewhat heartening that its accoutrements still hold the power to inspire art and fashion.
My favorite Korean designer, Songzio, treated us to an encore presentation of his menswear collection which he showed recently in Paris. Architectural shapes in high-tech fabrics (aero cool, cool max, soft wool microfiber), jewelry (anklets, bracelets, earrings) and Greek & Roman-style sandals expressed his theme of “heroism.” The show was a crowd-pleaser.
Above: I loved the bauble-adorned bods at Juun J.
Indian designer Manish Arora took a trip to the Art Deco era for a collection that was a kaleidoscopic wave of color.
Diane & I at the Karlotalaspalas show. Diane arrived, quite suddenly, on the last day of 080 with the type of frenetic fanfare and commotion that is usually reserved for rock stars. We were rather amused by the sight of hyper, gesticulating publicists directing Diane to seats in various locations around the venue, before settling on a place on the Jury’s bench.
Korean designer Lee Jean Youn’s collection was obsessed with the memories of a woman’s wedding day and how they linger on in her post-bridal life.
Diane with Paris fashion legend and 080 Jury member Maria Luisa. Outside in the mojito lounge, Maria lavished me with her jaded jet-set observations of Barcelona and her tales from the battlefields of high fashion retail. Such a fascinating woman!
Jade Jagger was looking gorgeously zaftig during a press conference in the 080 La Roca Village pop-up shop. She was there to support the Spanish designers who sold at the store and also to promote the release of a CD compiled by her DJ boyfriend in Ibiza. Surprise!
“Which way to the fancy dress ball?” Journalists Cator Sparks (New York) & Gabriel Ibarzabal (Mexico City) at the party for La Roca Village at the W Hotel. Take note of Cator’s VPL.
Champagne by the W Hotel pool with Cator, NYC stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin, London buyer Mark Quinn, moi and Gabriel.
I had a wonderful view of the city, including Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia….
….and sweeping views of the harbor and the Mediterranean from my spacious suite at the lovely 5-star Grand Marina Hotel. One of the more entertaining features in the room is the choice of 5 movie star pillows. The standard pillow, the Rita Hayworth, is hypo-allergenic—and about as comfortable as a piece of petrified wood. Sorry, Rita! Fortunately, the situation improved after Rita. I had the bellboy bring up the 4 remaining stars so I could test-drive them. Lauren Bacall? She was anointed with the “anatomical cervical” pillow. Since there’s nothing wrong with my cervix, I passed on Betty. Next up was Sophia Loren. Hers was the “no stress” pillow, which touts itself as a “new concept in pillow, made from the best possible materials.” A heat-press system claims to give the sleeper a pleasant feeling of weightlessness. I snuggled up to Sophia after a spontaneous tequila party that took place in my suite’s living room and dining room areas—so I was not sure if it was her or the top-shelf tequila that made me feel like I was floating for most of the night.
The winner of the pillow posse was, of course, Marilyn Monroe. This “lavish delight”—a feather duvet pillow—was the favored choice of both me and my overnight guest who at one point boasted with macho bravado, “We’ve just slept with some of the best actresses in Hollywood!” Marilyn was divinely soft and plush. So that just leaves us with Ava Gardner, a pillow designed for the Grand Marina’s “most demanding guest.” (Don’t look at me that way!) This alleged “botanical” pillow contained “relaxing” flowers and herbs, but I had a hard time smelling them. (It was a very comfortable pillow, though.) Of course, when I think of Ava Gardner in Spain (she lived there in the ‘50s and ’60s and was a MAJOR lush during this period), I’m reminded of the rumor of her getting booted out of a 5-star hotel for urinating in the lobby. Classy, Ava, classy.
It was only a small mystery why the Grand Marina did not include an Elizabeth Taylor pillow in their cushy menagerie. I imagined such a pillow waking me up in the middle of the night with its constant boozy braying, calling room service and asking them to fly in Chasen’s chili from Hollywood, and then demanding that I buy it expensive baubles from Bulgari.
There was plenty of room in my suite for Harald to do his yoga!
Diane & Elisava fashion school professor and Chicks on Speed member Alex Murray-Leslie in the lobby of the uber-chic Mandarin Oriental Hotel where Diane was a guest. Alex gave Diane gifts of tree tea oil & honey from New Zealand.
Spanish designer Jose Castro & I having lunch at Noti as guests of the Director of Barcelona Fashion Project of Barcelona City Council, Mr. Xavier de Balaguer. I loved the collection Jose showed in Madrid last September at Cibeles. It deserved to win the Cibeles Fashion Week Award!
Diane & Noti’s charming, stylish hostess.
Thanks for reading.