Madrid Es Moda

Madrid just had their fashion week. (#MBFWMadrid in case you didn’t know.)

Events beget events in fashion. Living off the momentum of MBFWM,  Madrid Es Moda is the city wide event that brings the fashion from the runway to the rest of us. Fashion pops up not just in window displays, but in museums, hotels, design and art exhibits, open studios, bookstores, parties, movie screenings, fashion contests, and other cross-collaborations.  There are even specially themed tapas you can order at over 25 restaurants. They are proven to help you fit sample size.

These fashion moments are not the main event.  They’re cursory or something to glance at while you’re eating your pulpo. I went to the lovely Hotel Gran Melia Fenix to get a closer look at the designs of Amaya Arzuaga, the mistress of undulating shapes; Jorge Acuña, jeweltones and silk charmeuse;  Moisés Nieto, the king of mesh; and my new favorite, Devota & Lomba, my fellow lovers of red, black, and white.  The concierge looked at me like I was a freak for explicitly coming to see these.

(Sigh.  I´m still adjusting.  It took me 15 minutes to figure out how to add an accent to the “e” and then do an upside-down exclamation point on this keyboard.)

There was also a free event at El Museo Cerralbo called  “La Mujer Ochoa: Modernisma y Modernidad.”  Ochoa was an artist and illustrator that has been said to simultaneously be a part of Art Deco, Surrealism, Pre-Raphaelites, Abstract art and Gesturalism. Not bad. These mujers are fantastic and so inspiring. You can almost hear the the scratchy record playing in the background as he painted them.

This seemed to be a more casually organized idea and I don´t think the ticket ladies actually knew what I was talking about (or they probably didn’t care).  They wrote something down and waved me in the right direction.

The always recognizable Desigual had a “Street Takeover!”:

I signed up to see a screening of “La Modista/The Dressmaker” (tagline: Revenge is Back in Fashion—mwwaahahahaha!) with Kate Winslet.  The directions were to send an email to a random address to get on the list.  We shall see what happens!

Here’s a beautiful and I think particularly seamless store display that I just happened to walk by and realize it was part of the happenings as well.  Store: Florin Antiques;  Dress: Ion Fiz:

Muy elegante.

There was something called “Designers´Rooms Fashion Bits” that was a presentation of…well, honestly, it took me awhile to figure it out. Something about online showrooms and 100% Made in Spain!…There were so many ideas and events and collaborations and then throw a little language barrier in there and I was lost sometimes.  I think universally, fashion suffers from “event fatigue.” These opportunities are seductive but they can become a thorn in the side of any designer and make them do a quick cost-benefit analysis. Some cool stuff though:

Last thing. Davidelfin and IKB 191 Collab:

Some bleak drama courtesy of
“Inferno” meets Mid-century Modern. Why not?

So here’s the deal so far:  I average 5 miles a day walking around the city looking, talking, and thinking.  Is there something inherently Spanish that I can discern?  Why am I always the only one here looking at this?  I hesitate to summarize yet but I’m certainly past the knee-jerk assumptions of Spanish designers being inspired by warm weather and bullfighting. (Nor did I ever go there!!)  I think it’s pretty damn cool to have Ochoa’s art in the zeitgeist.  And to see fashion incorporated so homogeneously everywhere. (Especially my two favorite things that aren’t often paired, food and fashion.) And to that point, that designers and businesses collaborate so willingly, and goodness gracious, SO MUCH. The breadth of the events is staggering.  I didn’t even go to 1/4 of them. Need to meet the folks who organized this.

Madrid is really doing their own thing and their fashion week is not a separate, isolated event. Fashion is relevant to everyone and a reflection of what’s going on. So I really get it when they called it “Madrid es Moda” because they truly made it their city full of fashion.




Fashion Forecasting and Lidewij Edelkoort

You’re just gonna have to look it up to see how to pronounce that.  I did.

"There is no creation without advance knowledge, and without design, a product cannot exist. " Lide
“There is no creation without advance knowledge, and without design, a product cannot exist. ” Lidewij Edelkoort

I’ve been getting really excited preparing for a lecture about trend forecasting.  I’ve always loved pouring over the books I got at trade shows but enlightening students on this career has made me want to cultivate my own micro-forecasting world.  I don’t know anyone who has a career in this but I would love to hear all about it if anyone out there is one!  The thing that excites me the most is that in order to become one, you basically need an immense amount of knowledge on all things past and present.  The end.  And then you need to be able to interpret how they affect our lives.  That’s all. (I’m guessing they’re probably very smart people.)

This is what one looks like.

Can I be you one day?
Tissue scarves are IN.

Her name is Lidewij Edelkoort and she’s been doing this for at least thirty years.  From her website, it looks like she knows a LOT about cool things like fashion, color, design, technology, art, history, politics, the environment, literature and… sigh.  I bet she sits at her cool kitchen table in Paris and flips through Taschen books she gets for free and takes calls from Virginie Mouzat while sipping some tea we won’t hear about for 4 years (am I glamorizing this job or what?)   There are a few other impressive forecasters out there too like Martin Raymond and David Wolfe but their pictures aren’t nearly as dramatic so here’s a book one of them wrote:

"Trend forecasters are lifestyle detectives." Martin Raymond
“Trend forecasters are lifestyle detectives.” Martin Raymond

It’s not lost on me that “forecasting” sounds like something mystical and interpretive.  It sounds like a scam to a certain degree.  When I introduce the concept in class, I always have a student ask me, “If designers are the ones setting the trends, why do they hire someone else to tell them what’s going to be popular?  That’s crazy!”  It’s like when I got my fortune told and the fortune teller said my “aura was stuck” but that she could help me if I came back and paid her more.

Rasputin knows the colors for Fall 2016.
Rasputin knows the colors for Fall 2016.

So it’s a really good question.  And it’s a big one to answer but I have a two thoughts on it: 1) times have changed and 2) it’s complicated.

The Kaiser said, “You cannot live in an ivory tower and make fashion or anything artistic….You’re to live in the real world.”  Indeed.  Even a couturier like him knows he’s not alone in creating fashion.  Gone are the days when a single person decided what was in.  If a couturier with all the skill and talent at their fingertips is truly an artist, they need to consider more than what their subjective view of the world is.

And when you’re living in that world as a designer, there are a lot moving parts.  To get a garment made requires many different people, across many cultures, with many steps and things to keep track of.  You’re like an air traffic controller except the thing you’re trying to get down the runway doesn’t weigh as much (but it took the same amount of fuel to get there.;))  Simply, you don’t always have the time to shop the market and see what’s out there.  Sometimes you need someone else to organize that information for you.

Like these guys.
Like these guys.

These agencies are smart and know what they’re doing, so don’t be too shocked when you see the price tag that goes along with their reports and subscriptions   However, remember that while they might be seasoned at interpreting the trends, they get their information from the exact same world we all live in.  Your most important skill to foster your inner trend forecaster is to keep those eyes open, make connections about what you see, and, for goodness sake, find inspiration in them.