Dear Shaded Viewers,
Where 080 Barcelona Fashion has a rarefied, intellectual tone, the more established Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week (this was its 52nd edition) is big, flamboyant and commercial–and we love it for that. The two cities vie for Spanish fashion dominance as political and economic tides ebb and flow in this hedonistic Mediterranean country. (Can you tell I've been watching CNN in my hotel room here in Vienna?) That said, Cibeles, which drew 60,000 visitors last season, is definitely one of the more entertaining and exciting fashion weeks on the alternative circuit.
Alvarado served up sophisticated color blocking that oddly contrasted with such pieces as the plastic python romper (a must for every man's wardrobe next spring) but we especially loved the beautiful beach bodies on display. (For me, fashion shows are just as much about scrutinizing clothes as they are about ogling exposed flesh–but you knew that about me already.) Says the designer: "One should always be improbable, because being improbable is an attitude, a sensation, a style of living and…possibly…of art."
Madrid's bad boy of fashion was in a decidedly Caribbean mood this season. I didn't like it nearly as much as the wig-print collection he showed last September.
Carlos Diez's shows tend to draw a more colorful crowd than most. Pepa Charro (here in "La Terremoto de Alcoron" mode) vamped and camped for the delirious paparazzi.
Like last year, I enjoyed the inventive Grey Goose cocktails in the VIP Kissing Room after the shows. Each cocktail was inspired by a different designer's collection. One of my favorites was the bloody marys made with rosemary.
Born in Mallorca, Lluis Corujo graduated from the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp in 2008. This collection, "Petalone" comes from combining "petal" (meant to express the "often frustrated attempt of the human being to imitate nature") and "alone" (the collection was conceived during a time of "sentimental and emotional loneliness" for the designer.)
My friend the singer and writer Carole Pope hanging out in my Zaha Hadid-designed room at the Puerta America hotel (more on my room in a future post….)
Caroline Attwood of WGSN, me and Angela Gaimari of JC Report out for tapas with the Cibeles organizers on our first night in Madrid on this trip.
I live for Spanish jamon and this jamon iberica de bellota was one of the best cured hams I've ever tasted. It is considered the finest ham in all the world and its exquisite taste owes to the fact that the free-range pigs dine only on acorns.
Me trying to turn some tricks in front of Museo Chicote, the venerable watering hole where Ava Gardner and other Hollywood stars hung out in the '50s and '60s.
Cooler than thou: What's not to love about the DJs at the Cibeles party at Cafe Lancia?
You know I hate to use the word "random" but….they were filming an episode of the American reality show "Basketball Wives" at the party! Here is Shaquille O'Neal's estranged wife (left) revving up for one of the show's (staged) war of words. I'm not exactly sure what was going on but her friend looks terrified.
After the Lancia party, we headed over to the launch of the Spanish edition of V Magazine's "I Love New York" issue in a lovely art nouveau mansion. The theme was old-school hip hop and sexy breakdancers were doing shows. Madonna's brand-new single was spun for the first time. Angela and I cut some rug to the sick DJ set. A great party!
Glamour puss and moi. Just like the old days of NYC!
AGATHA RUIZ DE LA PRADA
Some designers think they understand color but no one understands it better than Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. Madrid's most eccentric export, de la Prada is married to the owner of Spanish newspaper El Mundo–power couple alert! This was definitely my favorite collection of the season. "My design is conceptual," de la Prada remarked back in the '80s. "To draw a suit is not to hide it under a mountain of zippers, flounces, buttons and leather appliques. Above all it means to search for the essence of an object." De la Prada was heavily involved in "Movida Madrilena," the movement of sexual revolution, art, performance and punk rock that exploded in Madrid a few years after Franco's brutal dictatorship ended with his death in 1975.
The towering hairdos on the slender models at Montse Bassons gave them a phallic-like appearance. (I'm writing this from Vienna so you'll have to excuse the Freudian cliche.) The swimsuits had a sci-fi heroine feel to them. (According the the designer, they're meant to be "futuristic horsewomen." Sounds like Mr. Ed and Trigger would have loved it!)
Carole, Angela, Caroline & I indulged in traditional Spanish cuisine at Botin. Opened in 1725 it's the oldest restaurant in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
I only eat dessert when I'm in Europe.
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for Part 2.