I think of Madrid, that sophisticated city, as having some of the traits attributed to first-born children. It’s a structured capital, a bastion of heritage, hospitable, and a bit formal. Lately, though, Madrid’s been kicking up her heels fashion-wise. Call it the Palomo effect: In the wake of the much-celebrated Córdoba-based wunderkind, Alejandro Gómez Palomo, emerging Spanish talents are choosing to present their collections in the city. Like Palomo, many have returned from abroad with a renewed appreciation and passion for Spanish traditions. Their presence on the official schedule, or on its fringes, is starting to make the city’s fashion week feel like a place where discoveries can be made. Two talents that stood out to me were Ernesto Naranjo and Juan Vidal, both of whom have participated in Vogue España’s Who Is on Next? talent program.
On the Madrid runways, neutrals were the prevalent palette, shirting looks were strong, and there was much tailoring in linen, freshest in short suits and softened with flowy layered pieces. Bias-style dresses with a 1930s-by-way-of-the-’70s vibe were key items. The most memorable takeaway was the beauty and quality of Spanish craft, which is being revived by a new generation of designers.
Patrimony is a source of pride in Madrid, and many brands were able to say that their collections (in part or in whole) were made in Spain. Generally speaking, the fashion tradition in this country has less to do with big brands than with dressmaking and crafts. It’s not only the Loewe Foundation that’s reclaiming this handmade heritage through its Craft Prize; many designers are seeking out and reclaiming these skills before they are lost. Notice all the raffia embellishments at Teresa Helbig and the delicate hand-beading at Juan Vidal.