ModaLisboa Day 1: a + 1’s Point of View

Yesterday Matilde, my closest and most dearest friend, rang me saying that her boss had given her a three-day pass for ModaLisboa, AKA Lisbon Fashion Week. Either way, Matilde would have found some way of getting in. Correction, of getting US in. And she wouldn’t settle for a tourist visa, if we were to attend ModaLisboa, it would be as VIPs, benefiting from all of the privileges, or the open bar at least.  It would be absolutely unthinkable to attend such an event without such a pass. 
However, we’re not here today to talk about Matilde. We’ll come to Matilde, but not today. Today, it’s all about ModaLisboa. 
Upon arriving we head immediately in the direction of the VIP lounge. The term VIP in Lisbon is highly overrated and almost makes a mockery of the term VIP itself. I am not a VIP, neither is Matilde, neither were over 40% of the people surrounding us and queuing for the free Absolut Vodka. If you know enough people in this city (which believe me is basic, there are only two million of us) you can virtually push your way into any event no matter how exclusive the host makes it out to be. There is always a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend who has a way of acquiring invitations of who is working at the door and willing to pull his or her weight to get you in. 
That’s just the reality of this city, and it’s one of the reasons I love it

Pátio da Galé – Venue of ModaLisboa
Let me just say that I may have been slightly less that factual in in the previous statement.  Matilde is a so-called VIP, she works at Fashion TV making it perfectly plausible that she partake in such an event as Fashion Week. To label myself as a so-called VIP is not only presumptuous, it is highly inaccurate. I constitute the bottom of the food chain of the 40% so-called VIP’s at Moda Lisboa. I’m a +1. I’ve leeched onto to a friend in order to make my way in, to be seen, to observe and to report back. My VIP pass denotes in back bold letters: “Acompanhante“… I don’t even have the right to a name. Nonetheless I’m extremely grateful and remind myself that I’m here to enlighten myself about Portuguese designers and network.
Personally I would love to be able to critique the latest collections of our Portuguese designers, dispersing opinions regarding what is innovative and truly marveling and what is a complete and utter waste of time. However, I’m not a fashion journalist, I’m not even a journalist. The point I wish to make is that to some extent, Fashion Design is Art and the evaluation of any form of art is a complex and arduous process. Of course, as individuals, we’re all entitled to our personal opinions, usually based upon whether or not a piece is aesthetically appealing. But art, or in this case fashion, cannot be solely appraised based on aesthetics… Structure, form, concept, use of materials and textures also play a big role in the construction of the overall picture and these variables simply cannot be overlooked. Therefore, lets leave the reviews to the big shot professionals at Vogue and co. 
I limit my contribution to giving a some what anthropological and visual insight, from an outsiders point of view, regarding what goes on at the actual event. 

+1’s First Impressions:  Day 1

Visually, upon arriving at the VIP lounge there were a number of trends being sported by our ModaLisboa VIPS that caught my eye:

  • Browns – Women especially are wearing tan. Tan skirts, tan blouses, tan shoes and accessories.
&
  • White silk shirts – Bohemian chic is apparently still hot. White silk/polyester loose & long shirts adorned with gold buttons are being worn with skinny trousers.
  • Sienna Miller: The Queen of Boho Chic demonstrating the effect of the White Baggy Shirt

  • Maxi Totes – The large handbag fad has been around for quite a while and it was vividly noticeable, not so much from a visual point of view, but rather because in the over  crowded space I kept getting slammed by these over-sized accessories.
Maxi Totes

  • Bow-ties – The gays are reputably known for their sense of style and it looked like more than a few of them had decided that bow-ties were a must for this season’s fashion week.

The Ever-So-Cool twist of the Bow Tie
 
  • Casio digital watches – The hipsters started this trend approximately 2 years ago (when it was actually cool) and it seems the masses have caught up to the point where even the preppy people have traded in their classic tick-tocks for these geeky digital time-tellers.Very retro. 

The Bring Back of the Casio Gold Digital Watch.

 

  •  “All that Glitters” & gold – Mostly present in the forms of blazers, cardis and t-shirts. Some of the bolder fashionistas were pulling off the trend through footwear.. (I spotted a number of glitter pumps and ankle boots.) 


“All that Glitters”


Each of the above are in my opinion very cool and I myself as well as many of my friends are keen to shop and adorn each of these looks. But at the end of the day, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. In fact, most of the trends have been seen, done and passed over in London, New York and co. Is there really nothing that Lisbon can bring to the table except leftovers from yesterday’s lunch?

I’m no better myself. Of the trends mentioned in this post, I was boasting a tan pleated skirt, a black body, gold jewelery that of course included my Casio digital watch, black man shoes with a gold heel and a large birkinesque tan handbag. And it was pretty banal. I think I’ve never felt so uninteresting in all of my life, or unstylish. On the other hand, a lot of the people in the venue were trying far too hard. Their outfits all perfectly calculated and identifiable. I may not have caused an impact, but at least I was myself, as were most of the people I knew and was socializing with. My friends and I were perfectly aware that our fashion was not avant-garde. None of us were dressing for attention, and all of us were waiting  to be stunned. We may have not been show-stoppers, but we certainly weren’t posers.  We all knew that tan, glitter and silk white shirts were nothing to make a fuss about.

The fads presented above are of course mere observations. They may have been more going on that my untrained eye was simply incapable of catching on to.

Nonetheless, the general feeling of many of the people I spoke to yesterday who are far more in the know than myself is that they’re Jaded with our street-fashion as well as with what is currently being presented on our Lisbon catwalks. One of my friends, a journalist for the magazine EDIT, confided that she was disappointed. “Where’s the wow factor? There’s nothing new!

Let’s hope the next three days will bring about WOWs, WOOs, OOOH HOOOS and many more exclamations of shock and enthusiasm because the current mood thermometer is pretty damp. 

But keep in mind, it’s still only day 1. Who knows what will happen? One thing is for sure, expectations are high, especially after what we saw Sarah Burton do for Alexander McQueen last week in her New York Spring 2012 show that no-one can stop talking about with its incredible sea-inspired textures and designs. 

Fingers Crossed Lisboa. Give us a Show Stopper.

P.S.  Here’s some food for thought, yours truly Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen Spring 2012:

Photo credits: Marcus Tondo
Photos taken from: gorunway.com 


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