Marques’Almeida, fall 2016 – text by Silvia Bombardini

Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,


The venue for the Marques’Almeida show, a Victorian exhibition centre that goes under the name of Olympia, was so far away from the previous one that it took us almost an hour on the bus to get there. Oddly enough, it almost felt like a welcome pause, to gather ideas and idly speculate. Imagine an unusually confident midday sun, the unfamiliar landscape of much further west than we usually venture – it feels like we’re going on holiday, my friend quipped, and one’s left to wonder if that was deliberate. Because the Portuguese design duo ventured for fall an idea of sweet disorder, the collection crafted from the same sundry mix of textures and fabrics one would find in any one’s real girl wardrobe. Or her suitcase maybe, that’s one third common sense and two thirds indulgence. Because the M’A muse is still on the cusp of adulthood but not yet there, still on the kind of identity quest that finds her testing her way through multiple styles, each with extra-long sleeves she’s sure to grow into. Marta and Paulo aren’t the first designers with a soft spot for youthful spontaneity, but if an attempt to mimic the natural way outfits come together in daily life would be probably bound to look a bit stilted, the designers sidestep the problem by approaching the season with a different creative process – one that leaves them personally a little less in control, but earns the brand precious points in authenticity. For the first time, they’ve not been working with full looks: rather, they’ve let their models, who weren’t actually models but friends, take their picks from the ample selection of clothes on offer. From their signature frayed denim to miniskirts with snake-like ruches, from grungy knits and nets layered over bikinis to a yellow hoodie big enough to host a friend, with drawstrings as thick as seatbelts. Tie-dye pieces came to be matched with a classic red and white picnic gingham, or an overblown houndstooth motif on its sheer glossy base. A lemon leather jacket with off-white shearling trims looks much better than it sounds, as does a multicolour ponyhair bomber lined in apricot lambswool. If we were to guess for the collection’s pi