Post by Michele Friedmann, Former Graduate Student Intern at Barcelona SAE

Epic, exciting, thought provoking, unique, dynamic, integrated, popular and creative – these are just some of the adjectives used to define the experience of entering El Born Cultural Center! And for one week in January, 080 Barcelona fashion added another adjective to the list- stylish. In the show’s 13th edition, more than thirty designers and brands from Mango, Desigual, Custo Barcelona and more showcased their latest editions in Barcelona’s coolest place!

I was very fortunate to get a one-day ticket to see this year’s style from Georgina Vendrell and Naulover. While waiting in a long line of anticipating fans and photographers, dressed to impress, it was evident that Barcelona is a city full of designers and talent! Despite feeling sadly underdressed in my Levis and no-name sweater, I enjoyed people watching and had a difficult time sorting out who might be in the show and who was just a spectator. “Look for famous people,” was the request from the internship coordinator. Apparently, Cristiano Ronaldo’s girlfriend was spotted the day before. This request proved to be more difficult than I thought. It seemed as though everyone came to blend in, or possibly to get noticed!

Excitedly, I grabbed a front row seat just feet away from the runway. After taking in the ambiance, I was overcome with a strange feeling of being transported to a whole different world, one where ancient and modern collided. It was difficult to turn my eyes away from the dimly lit 17th-century ruins lying mysteriously underneath my feet. Like the models themselves, I knew they had a story to tell. As the music played slow, gothic tunes I imagined what this place might have looked like long ago.

The crowd got quiet as the models showcasing Naulover started to strut their stuff. I quickly noticed that dark colors were in, especially black. I was surprised to see male models wearing ankle length, tight fitting pants with loose tops and jackets. At one point, “space age” was the descriptive adjective that came to my mind as shiny, grew suites strode by. This style was very different from anything I had ever seen in America, and I appreciated the uniqueness. Also unusual were the variety of hats, each a distinctive shape and style. The fashion, atmosphere, and the model’s expressions matched the mystifying music perfectly.

Suddenly, the music changed with a new line up. Females flaunting styles lighter in color and feel were accompanied by more upbeat tunes. The outfits were loose and sheet-like, reminiscent of Roman times, which added even more to the décor. I was surprised to see open-toed shoes with thick white socks, and although I didn’t like how this new trend looked the thought of no more blisters was comforting!

After the final cheers ended, I was rushed out and would have to get in line again in order to see the next show. I walked past dozens of side tables selling hand-made jewelry, hats, fancy t-shirts and artistically created shoes. I was handed a free vogue bag on my way out- wahoo! The line to get back in was even longer this time. Apparently, Georgina Vendrell is quite popular.

Finally, I was back inside and in my transported world again. I was excited to find goody bags meticulously placed on each seat. Inside, were Vendrell catalogs and a beautiful scarf.  Obviously, this designer was doing quite well.  According to the music, the style would be eccentric and bold. My prediction was right! The female models showcased a variety of suits ranging from swimsuit looking garments with long sleeves to sleek and stylish blazers and skirts The gold plated leaf accessories that the women wore on their blouses as well as in their hair was a nice addition. A few outfits sported a hoody. I enjoyed this eccentric line!

The show was over, but will never be forgotten. Like the El Born Cultural Center itself, years of culture, history, and style collided to make an unbelievable spectacle. The 080 Barcelona Fashion show was a hit, inspiring for both fans and future fashionistas. My wardrobe will never look the same!