Portugal Takes the Fashion Stage

Luis Buchinho

Thanks to its thriving textile and leather industries, Portugal is on its way to becoming one of the largest fashion manufacturing hubs in Europe. But the country is also cultivating a fashion design scene. From March 25th to March 28th, the country celebrated 20 years of Portugal Fashion with 31 shows set in magnificent settings across Lisbon and Porto. Here are the highlights, from established brands like Alves e Gonçalves and Luis Buchinho to burgeoning design talents Mafalda Fonseca and João Melocosta.


Alves e Gonçalves Manuel Alves and his partner Manuel Gonçalves, the founders of one of Portugal’s most renowned labels Alves e Gonçalves, have been dressing local society women for more than three decades. For Fall 2015, the designers drew inspiration from the 2012 Bernardo Bertolucci film “Me and You,” the story of the close relationship between a teenage boy and his drug-addicted older half-sister. “The collection is oversized, the things are very long, with fandango finishes,” said Alves. “It’s very romantic, very intimate, and something about a new way to look at life.”

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Luis Buchinho For his 25th anniversary, designer Luis Buchinho went back to his roots, finding inspiration in the comic books he loved as a child, which he translated into bold, graphic pieces with angular silhouettes and vibrant stripes. “I was inspired by cartoons, by superheroes, by a very strong woman, by something that is really connected to the way I started when I was very young,” he said.

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Diogo Miranda Diogo Miranda celebrated his Paris debut earlier this month with a collection imbued with that je ne sais quoi—think elegant trench coats and lavish eveningwear. “It’s very chic, very sexy, for very confident women,” said the designer.

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João Melo Costa “He’s very unique, he does his own fabrics,” Miguel Flor, the creative director of Bloom, a platform to showcase emerging Portuguese designers, said of João Melo Costa, who placed a striking grid on monochromatic ensembles and flirty ruffled dresses for his Fall 2015 collection.

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Mafalda Fonseca This rising menswear designer’s strong, minimal navy and gray pieces were influenced by a recent dark period she went through with her friends. “We needed to introduce some brightness in our lives,” she explained, which she brought into the collection in the form of vivid bursts of yellow.

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Nuno Baltazar Baltazar, who in addition to his eponymous label also designs for Portuguese textile manufacturer Riopele, looked to the 2000 film Sally Potter film “The Man Who Cried,” which starred Johnny Depp, for his Fall 2015 collection. “It talks about three characters that meet each other in Paris during World War II,” said Baltazar. “One is Russian, one is Jewish, and one is a gypsy. It’s about what happens to you when you meet someone totally different from you in a different environment, and what you can take from you from other people. So this collection was about mixing cultures, textures, fabrics, finishes and silhouettes.”

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