It is one of the oldest fashion weeks in Europe, started in 1991 and concludes its 44e last weekend’s edition. ModaLisboa is the biannual event where the Portuguese fashion capital Lisbon shows what its local fashion industry is all about. This does not mean, however, that this is an exclusively Portuguese affair. Aside from the swap deal between ModaLisboa and Polish Fashion Week (which sees a designer from both countries participate in swap partner’s fashion week), it’s the former Portuguese colony, Angola , which stole the show.
OPEC crisis or not, Angola, rich in diamonds and oil, is still considered one of the biggest investors in the Portuguese economy. The southern African country is one of Portugal’s largest export markets, after Spain, Germany and France. Currently, the daughter of the Angolan president, who is called Isabel Dos
Dos Santos’ mother-in-law, Angolan first lady Ana Paula Dos Santos, has a thing for fashion. She’s no stranger to Lisbon’s upscale shopping street Avenida da Liberdade (the majority of Angola’s mega-rich are not either, who often own residences nearby), and an extravagant shopping spree at a Blumarine store in Milan, inspired fashion label founder Anna Molinari to open a boutique in Luanda.
As for the Angolan first lady, her favorite designer is Nadir Tati, based in Luanda, who has won a special place in her heart, as well as in her wardrobe. Tati presented her collection, which was themed “40 years of independence”, for the first time at ModaLisboa. The collection saw the use of ankara fabric – which is often favored by African designers – in addition to a number of sheer evening looks, as well as a loose dress and matching scarf in native Angolan style, this which made it the ultimate spectacle.
Angola’s presence was also felt on the track outside of Tati’s show. Internationally sought-after models, discovered in the former Portuguese colony, strutted the square-shaped catwalk for a variety of designers. Portuguese creative director Miguel Vieira – whose fall offerings consist of high necklines for her, crossover suits for him, in dark tones of burgundy and black – was one of many local designers to launch the new one. Angolan coming Amilna Estevao for his show. Estev, sixteenao made her runway debut in New York, London, Milan and Paris earlier this season, where she walked the runway for Fendi,
The new face was joined by fellow model Da Banda (the Luanda-based model agency that acts as mother agent) Alécia Morais. Morais, who has worked with brands such as Kenzo and Tom Ford this season, has also proven to be a favorite among Portuguese designers. For Luís Carvalho, she paraded in an asymmetrical dress, in an earthy tone in perfect harmony with the dry climate of the Portuguese capital. Designer Pedro Pedro was another Morais fan and sent the African model to the catwalk in a bathrobe-inspired look defined by loose stitching.
Even though the country is struggling to keep its head above water in these critical economic times, Portugal has managed to celebrate fashion for three days. All of this could potentially lead to increased spending on local fashion. But in case the Portuguese don’t agree, the Angolans will.