Catwalks: Spain is the height of fashion

Roberto Verino, Paco Rabanne, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Adolfo Domínguez, Manuel Pertegaz, Jesús del Pozo, Francis Montesinos, Elio Berhanyer… Many of them are winners of important accolades such as the National Fashion Prize and the Golden Needle. Spain is home to some of the leading figures in the world of fashion who have worked to make this the venue for internationally prestigious catwalk shows. This is a cultural phenomenon featuring world-class designs worn by top models and attracting numerous stylists and the specialist press. Here are some of the most important shows.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid

This is the main event in Spanish fashion, and attracts over 50,000 visitors. It is a landmark on the world map of important catwalk shows, and takes place in the IFEMA exhibition centre. In each edition (there have been over 60), top Spanish designers showcase all their creativity and the quality of their work. Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, Amaya Arzuaga, Ana Locking, Ángel Schlesser, Davidelfín, Devota & Lomba, Duyos, Francis Montesinos, Hannibal Laguna, Maya Hansen, Roberto Torretta, Roberto Verino, Sita Murt and Victorio & Lucchino are just a few of the designers who have taken part in this event in recent years. Spectacularly impressive.There is also a space for young creators, in which the talented up-and-coming generations aim to make their mark.The autumn-winter edition is held in January-February, and the spring-summer edition takes place in August-September.

080 Barcelona Fashion

This is another landmark event for creativity and innovation staged in distinctive spaces like the Pedralbes Palace in the city of Barcelona. In fact, Barcelona has a long tradition of involvement in the world of textiles. There are numerous interesting parallel activities arranged around the catwalk events, including exhibitions, a design competition, lectures and accessory shows. There are two editions a year: spring-summer (around July) and autumn-winter (around January).

Other important dates

In addition to these three key events, there are several others such as the Barcelona Bridal Week (Spain's number-one trade show for bridal fashion), the Gran Canaria Moda Cálida international swimwear show, and various other prestigious fairs such as the FIMI International and Young People's Fashionwear Fair, Modacalzado + Iberpiel and SIMM—Madrid's International Fashion Fair (the most important fair for the fashion design and manufacturing industry in Spain).

Beyond the catwalks

Fashion also represents Spain's identity, and this can be seen in the numerous exhibitions that have been designed with fashion as the central motif. There are two specialist museums in particular: the Costume Museum and Ethnological Heritage Research Centre (in Madrid), and the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museum (in Gipuzkoa), where you can see the wedding dress of Queen Fabiola of Belgium or the outfits designed by Balenciaga for Princess Grace of Monaco, among many others.And what about film? The fact that figures such as the costume designer Yvonne Blake has won the National Film Award or that the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York has organised an event on fashion in Almodóvar's films are just a couple more examples of the high levels Spanish fashion design has reached in the Seventh Art.The streets and fashion workshops are a living example of everything we see on the catwalk: the major labels can all be found jostling for space on the "Golden Mile" in Madrid, the Paseo de Gràcia in Barcelona, and the Calle Sierpes in Seville… And here's an interesting fact: did you know that the workshop of the Japanese dancer who designed the spectacular maillots worn by Natalie Portman in "Black Swan" is in Spain?But it is the fashion show itself that is the culminating moment when the designers showcase their creations against a backdrop of elaborate stage effects. Evocative colours, volumes, daring bodices... It's all on display on Spain's catwalks, which today –thanks to their dynamic image and the hard work of various generations of fashion designers– have indisputably earned themselves a prestigious reputation all over the world.  

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