lisbon fashion week: ricardo dourado

(images via portugal confidential)

oh, children. like all good things must, we’ve now come to the end of our time for discussing lisbon fashion week, but with it, at least, we’ve got part two of my two-part favourite collections block! doesn’t that soften the blow, at least a bit? anyway, interestingly enough, this comes in the form of the a/w 2013 range of young designer ricardo dourado, whose work in the past i’ve found decent enough (see a/w 2012 & s/s 2013), but never this compelling.

right, then. so this time around, although there wasn’t as much published information on the range as i would have liked, the designer did explain of his work to the blog daily moda lisboa that (trans.) “(t)his collection owns part of the very environment that people live in in  Soweto. Not for its history or its political connotation, but for its energy, the people who live there and how they interpret their roots in a neighborhood that nevertheless has become so urban.”

“I like the colours of the equipment of the kids playing ball, I like the colourful patterns that mothers dress in, I like the smiling faces, like the noise of passing motorcycles, like the happiness of people that live with so little,” (again, trans.) he continued. “This collection has both urban and ethnic African fabrics with unique neoprene, made ​​with patchwork and all the different parts are built with overlapping seams, allowing one to see the duality of the material.”

what i liked–or loved, rather–about the collection was the manner in which i felt the designer’s enthusiasm for the city really came through in the pieces, and didn’t feel like lip service to a region he didn’t really understand, or merely trying to copy the ethnic pieces he had seen and pass them off as his own. rather, we can see the designer’s dna at play here, but also the unique elements of the south african city, as well.

anyway, as the blog sewing machine cheerfully offered that (trans.) “(t)he energy of the people and the fusion between tradition [and modernity] gave rise to a coordinated and sophisticated collection with vibrant colours and patterns with tribal prints,” as the portuguese site maxima described how (trans.) “(t)he parade began in shades of white and then incorporated colourful, ethnic-inspired patterns. The collection has evolved to a stage with tougher pieces in larger and darker shades with patchworks of hair and ended with a return to the standards and an explosion of colour.”

range materials weren’t really spelled out, but portugual confidential did detail how we saw elements such as “African prints, faux fur, [and] large deep side pockets on dresses,” while adding that the prevailing silhouettes were mostly those with “(v)olumes and bulk compete with sleeveless and straight [cuts].”

then, finally, the site arc street related how the show “began with white clothes very architectured, [sic] strong shapes quite minimal and clean but also sophisticated by the composition and contruction [sic] work.” these architectural elements are usually present in his work, but this time around, i found it nice to see a certain amount of fluidity, as well as the prevalent prints, which we’re not generally accustomed to with this particular designer.

in the end, i liked the manner in which the clothes were, on the whole, wearable, and never felt like costumes, or something that would only be appropriate for those, yannow, like from the region to don (as sometimes specific, ethnic clothes tend to feel). and even if sometimes i get a little tired of designers always mining africa for inspiration, i feel mr. dourado did it in a subtle enough fashion that it wasn’t, like, immediately obvious whence his inspiration sprung. i mean, now that i know it i totally get it, but i liked that initial moment of hesitation, you know? it gives the clothes a little bit of mystery that we don’t often associate with such bold patterns and hues.

(see the full fashion show video here)

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