What I learned in Madrid This Winter


Madrid Fashion Week – a camera man swarms the soon-to-close runway wearing a Surf the Basque t-shirt. He homes in on an unidentifiable woman and the host of this particular show, a swarthy young man with a mop of black curls starts to interview her. The light on his face mimics the manic energy of his smile and enthusiasm. The woman has princess leia braids and keeps one hand on her hip radiating the confidence of a Flamenco dancer. A woman in front wears all gray leather with a face not her own – but she looks good, her skin settled around her new features and her look polished and compelling. Peppered throughout the audience are men in suits. Shareholders?

The Jesus Del Pozo show starts and what is presented is for an older society woman, not much for me to relate to but I note one lovely gold blouse and a nice pencily silhouette. What looks like a nice pant-to-boot proportion I later realize are just pants tucked into a straight leg trouser. It wouldn’t work in real life. I did enjoy the reworking of Marlene Dietrich’s song Black Market playing as the models strutted. I would post the youtube vid here but it doesn’t do it justice.

At Duyo, a show I attended because the designer sent four women of advanced age down the runway in his last show which piqued my curiosity, a Spanish singer famous in the early Seventies, Jeanette, came out and sang her old songs in a sequin gown and blazer with the sleeves rolled past the elbow. Everyone in the front row opposite tapped their toes and sang along. The effect was better than anything I ever saw at New York Fashion Week in all the ten years I attended hands down. Here’s the song:

The clothes were mostly rippling silk pant suits and head wraps, very 70s and very costume-y. I was sitting there thinking I’d title it something along the lines of Insane Pajama, but it was fun. It reminded me of a cigarette ad from the 70s. A bit like this:

AA de Amaya Arzuaga Fall 2011

I enjoyed AA de Amaya Arzuaga‘s collection- her sculptural geometric skirts may have been nothing new but they were wearable, sexy, and formidable with the right shoes and attitude. I could also get into some of the flowing and fluttering trapeze shape dance-worthy dresses from Victorio & Lucchino. Some were a little too goth chick, but others were just the right note of Spain sexy.

Themes (some call these trends)

The strangest thing was that most of what I’ve seen in Madrid or online about New York or London has been about artificiality. Strong colors not found in nature. Unnatural fabrics or dead animals. Sort of anti-eco. How could that fly right now? A bit antithetical to the world’s collective awakening of late and all those sustainable fashion companies starting to gain ground. Color is a real draw though. Color is the key to escape. Hopefully the processes aren’t as cruel as they look. Here goes:

head-to-toe monochrome. I saw it in red, white, grey, greige, purple, and black. My camera ran out of battery right away but this is basically the idea.

Very saturated colors

Hell for Leather -- I know this isn't Madrid but look at this crazy scene Susie 'Style Bubble' snapped up at the Acne show in London. Click on image to see the rest.

Teresa Helbig, who lives here in Barcelona gave us a big dose of high octane color in a decidedly unnatural fabric (neopryne?)

Martin Lamothe's color palette for Fall '11 is the right note of regal with a blend of optimism, cheer and humility, dignity. I love navy and mustard.


I’m not sure what was going on at David Delfin (the most anticipated of the shows there) because I was running to catch a flight to England but this trash heap pictured behind him reminds me of the landfills I picture every day walking the streets – all the Made In China and Indonesia crap, the fast fashion, the pilling sweaters and nasty ocre and maroon windbreakers, the tee shirts with sayings and logos like ‘miss thing’ or ‘your boyfriend wants me’; all the misdirected energy toward vanity and glamour and novelty, the impulse to provoke envy or one-up others, or on the other end, the lack of taste measured in defiance against loveliness. Fashion has its place and it is to offer a thing of beauty to the landscape but sometimes it just brings out the worst in us. That’s why I’m particularly grateful to have had this time in Madrid to meet some really cool and nice fashion loving people. It’s a bird all too rare ain’t it?”

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2 Responses to “What I learned in Madrid This Winter”
  1. 02.25.2011

    Hello! I’m Raquel was a pleasure meeting you and I regret not being able to say goodbye. I hope you will spend well in Madrid (some proposals have been great). A big kiss

    • chaunceyzalkin

      You too Raquel. I’ll follow your blog now. I posted my piece onto your FB wall and please do join the What Women Make facebook page as well if you like!

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