Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2011, Part 1. Photos & text by Glenn Belverio

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada has an exasperated moment with the paparazzi

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week sometimes goes unnoticed on the global fashion calendar because of its timing (it always takes place at the same time as London Fashion Week) but no matter: Cibeles’ laid-back Latin vibe is such a wonderful antidote to the feeling of desperate frenzy that hangs in the air like napalm in the established fashion capitals.

Sipping Grey Goose cocktails and sighing languidly at the layers of gorgeous, sumptuous fur on the Madrid catwalks did, it must be said, feel a tad decadent in light of the ghastly baño de sangre that was taking place in not-so-faraway Libya. But you know what they say, darlings: après moi le déluge! Here are my highlights from the 53rd edition of Cibeles.


Forget about Spain’s economic woes: Everything looked rich and refined at Roberto Verino. From the handsome wool suits and coats for men and the Oriental fantasies for women (echoes of Ralph Lauren’s Fall 2011 ’40s Shanghai collection, but somehow feeling less cliched from Verino), everything looked unapologetically expensive. Yes, there were heaps of real fur everywhere especially on the menswear and I just about died when I saw the wool coat that was festooned with with an outsized collar of dyed-crimson fur.

Considering Spain’s centuries-old spectacle of bullfighting (which I do not disapprove of) which romanticizes, even senualizes, man’s asserted dominance over animals, the appearance of fur in Spanish fashion seems benign in contrast. And now that PETA is once again in vogue in New York (Madrid is not trendy and A-list enough for them), what a relief to be able to enjoy some fur-adorned Spanish fashions without worrying about some protestors storming the runway.





Valentine’s Day came slightly late with the arrival of Agatha de la Prada‘s madcap Queen of Hearts collection. Proving yet again that she is a beguiling sorceress of color, Prada assaulted our retinas with bright primary hues and silhouettes that dared you to inquire, “How is someone going to wear that?” Prada defiantly revels in her fantasy world of Seussian abandon, making someone like Betsey Johnson look like Banana Republic.








So taken am I by Prada’s antics, that I chased her after she took her catwalk bow and stalked her all the way to the Kissing Room. Like the ones worn by some of the models in her show, the backs of her tights sported glowing LED lights.


If looks could kill: Agatha must have just spotted a journalist who gave her a bad review last season.


I loved Agatha’s fans/friends who all showed up in the Kissing Room decked out in past Prada designs.


New York stylist Tziporah Salamon & the divine red head.


One can really work up an appetite while sitting in the front row and snapping photos all morning. Prensa cafe to the rescue! What would Madrid Fashion Week be without seafood paella?


I loved this hearty soup made from broad beans, tripe and sausage.


AA de Amaya Arzuaga‘s jutting-hip skirts were an absolute misfire but we were all mad for these striped dresses.


Everyone was delighted when Jeanette nee Janette Ann Dimech (the half-Belgian, half-Spanish, London-born, American-raised singer who has lived in Spain since the age of 12) appeared on the runway for Duyos‘ show and sang her ’70’s hit “Porque te vas.” The song and its era coincided with the collection’s theme, which was an homage to the masters of the golden age of Spanish fashion.



Chicness in the Kissing Room


Yelena Griguk, the Fashion Television reporter from Riga, poses in the lobby of our hotel, Puerta America.


New York-based Scottish photographer Martin Scott Powell & Tziporah in the press room.





Pink is a big trend for Fall 2011 and we loved the way Devota & Lomba showed it.


And then of course the post-show cocktail in the Grey Goose Kissing Room followed the color trend. A debate erupted when I mentioned that Elsa Schiaparelli was known for “inventing” the color Shocking Pink, or Schiaparelli Pink, in 1947. (She actually introduced it to Western fashion.) Our friend from Delhi, Jivi, noted that India had that color long before Elsa knew about it which prompted me to obediently parrot Mrs. Vreeland’s famous aphorism: “Pink is the navy blue of India.”


Francis Montesinos collaborated with the Irish-American painter Matt Lamb whose work was turned into printed fabrics for the multi-cultural collection. A chorus of umbrella-wielding youth sang and performed throughout lending a Broadway-show giddiness to the whole affair.




After a hard day of watching shows, Caroline Attwood of WGSN and I retreated to my Jean-Nouvel-designed Japanese Emperor’s suite and ordered up a cart of jamon iberico de bellota and some croquetas de frutos de mar, washed down with a bottle of swag rioja.


Glenn Belverio


Glenn Belverio

Glenn Belverio is a writer and New Yorker. He has been reporting for ASVOF since 2005 and currently works at The Museum of Modern Art as the Content Manager for MoMA Design Store.