Portuguese fashion begins with a show in an “underground” garage

THE Portugal Fashion started today, in Porto, and the catwalk chosen was the interior of a property on Rua Latino Coelho, known as “Edifício Quattroruote”, where mannequins paraded in an underground underground garage, with poorly treated floors, walls and ceilings.

If the previous editions of Portuguese Fashion were marked by the fact that they took place in the historic and sophisticated building of Alfândega do Porto or in the streets and iconic public spaces of the invincible city, such as the Mercado do Bolhão, today the scenario of Portuguese Fashion took place. in a vacant building, with a ‘basement’ (underground) garage environment and gray color.

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“The venue itself is proving to be one of the innovations. We continue to keep in touch with the community and the city, albeit more confined to one venue and, later, with the entire complementary program of parades scattered throughout the city,” explained the director of Portuguese Fashion, Monica Neto.

It is an “unexpected space” and a “challenge” for the organization of Portugal Fashion, adds the manager. “Let’s make use of it [da garagem] and taking the collections there and making sure that whatever is new – which is what the ‘designers’ present – shines on its own. This is always the biggest challenge. (…) We managed to give a stage to the “designers” and above all the versatility of a space that, suddenly, was an old garage and turns into two or three presentation scenarios for fashion shows”.

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The unsettled weather in Porto in March was another factor taken into account when choosing the location to present most of the Portuguese and African fashion shows “We always have the question of the season [do ano]. Porto in March has a more complicated climate and the risks are greater. I think that was also one of the reasons why we didn’t spread Portuguese fashion so much in the city. There were many events that were outdoors in the last edition and this time it was not, and therefore this is one of the reasons”, explained, in turn, Alexandre Meireles, director of the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs, the entity that manages Portugal. Fashion.

Mannequins paraded over a dusty, pitted floor where light filtered in through windows obscured by dirt and cobwebs. While putting on make-up for the House of Wildflowers show, 17-year-old Sahil reveals it’s his second time participating in Portuguese fashion and that today he would be walking for three “designers”.

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“In the previous version, the working conditions were better, it was more spacious, better organization, better food. Now it is less organized, less food, less comfortable,” thought the young model.

The first fashion shows started shortly after 2 in the afternoon, in a garage located at 37/93 Rua Latino Coelho, with the presentation of various collections of African designers and brands, such as Savá, Yeside Laguda, House of Wildflowers, Block or Ntando XV.

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The more “underground” spirit of this fashion location in Portugal does not surprise Beppe D’Elia, creative director and founder of the Beautic brand – an Italian hair and makeup agency that works with established brands such as Dolce&Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Moncler, Prada, Philipp Plein or Valentino.

Beppe D’Elia, who leads a team of 25 stylists for this edition of Portugal Fashion – 20 professionals are Italian – said that the concept of more informal spaces is common in other fashion weeks, such as in New York, and that The teams are used to working on shows in conditions identical to those of Portuguese fashion.

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“This is the first time we are working on Portuguese fashion. We talked to the ‘designers’ to find out the style, image and spirit of each collection and adapt the hairstyles,” he says, revealing that the creators asked for a “fresh style, more ‘minimalist’.

Jacobo Finocchi, another hairstylist and creative at Beautic, says he was working on 20 models’ hair with his team for the Savá pwd by Canex show and was asked for a style with “some wild African spirit, but elegant.”

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Between the arrival and departure of clothes and the rapid dressing and undressing of dozens of mannequins of various genders and skin tones, there are also several volunteers working at Portugal Fashion to assist fashion designers and mannequins.

While ironing some black trousers on the ironing board that will be shown on the catwalk, Vanessa Ferrante, 20, a fashion student at Escola Superior de Arte e Design (Matosinhos, Porto), says she is volunteering backstage at Portugal Fashion for the first time.

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One of their tasks is to help the models in the “fittings” (testing the coordinates), to photograph the “looks” that the creators have in mind, and to give the appropriate clothes to each mannequin. “It was a cool experience,” he sums up.

In the field of make-up the hustle and bustle is unstoppable. Make-up artist Liz Iapp says it’s her third year working at Portugal Fashion and so far the new space doesn’t scare her.

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“We’re getting it done. Logistics is calm. The hardest are the last few days. On average, per parade, I make [a maquilhagem] in two or three models,” she says, mentioning that if a problem arises she tends to improvise.

Most of the shows of this edition will take place in Rua Latino Coelho, The fashion show of the designer duo Marques’ Almeida opens the second day of Portugal fashion shows, Thursday, 16. new collections from designers Katush, Nuno Miguel Ramos, Susana Bettencourt, Nopin and Eric Raisina.

Designer Katty Xiomara presents her new collection on March 17, at the Grande Hotel in Porto, Rua de Santa Catarina. The “designers” Miguel Vieira, Diogo Miranda, Pedro Pedro, Estelita Mendonça, Carolina Sobral, Awa Meite or the brand Pé de Chumbo will present the new creations on March 17, also in the building on Rua Latino Coelho. Luís Onofre, David Catalán, Hugo Costa, Alexandra Moura, Maria Gambina, Sophia Kah will present their collections on Saturday, the last day of the event.

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Portugal Fashion had an average budget of around 900 thousand euros, but in this and the previous edition it had an amount of 450 thousand euros available, a cut justified by the end of European funds for Portugal 2020 and the fact that they had not yet opened applications for Portugal 2030.

On 9 October 2022, the president of ANJE, the entity that organizes Portugal Fashion, speculated that the fashion initiative might not take place in 2023 due to a lack of European funding.

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