In a materialistic world, it is refreshing to see a label put not items but materials first. Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida are continually going right back to the core of dressmaking. It sounds like an unglamorous term but a dressmaker is what Yohji Yamamoto refers to himself as. And if it’s good enough for him…
Like Yamamoto and his great Japanese design peers, Marques Almeida are taking it back to the soul of cloth and fabric. Denim was their material of choice. Grown from the earth, this utility cotton has grounded them to keep revisiting repeated lines of varying enquiry – not now just with denim but with furs, jacquards and leathers.
Out of this primary understanding, naturally comes a label that instinctively knows who their girl is. As designers, Marques Almeida haven’t mapped out the modern by way of hype, associations and spectacle first; they have put substance before style. Their muse is Marques’ younger sister, the inspiration for this collection a favourite singer songwriter who pens open honest lyrics about life lessons, and the venue a makeshift warehouse space in north London. In times like this, they are making the wise decision to keep low and close to the humble process of building a label. Its unpretentious values organically fall out of their craft – and ironically become super coveted. In a world where authenticity is a rarity, savvy customers can smell it a mile off.
In terms of mood and aesthetic for this season, their ongoing nineties obsession drilled down into the seventies. A reference on a reference, these two decades work as a pair, so, it made total sense. Brown suede draped halter necks fell away from the back, and were everyday prehistoric – in the chicest way possible. That’s what is so great about these designs, they are so humbly enriched by craft, they make a serious proposal for avant-garde daywear. This was the girl from the cave-next-door. Curlicue of chiffon or denim spoke of the label’s Latin roots, and presented a genuine take on this season’s ruffles.
Metallic rose threaded chiffon made a return, from their debut S/S 14 collection. Shreds of chiffon were perfectly destroyed, and like Neoclassical ruins, took on new life. Patina never looked so rock and roll and huge oversized feathers managed to stay grounded and wearable. Raw rags of patchwork toiles were punctuated by the sharpness of black leather jackets and matching shorts. Transparent experiments in construction, this collection was both in process and finalised.