Regardless of any which way you look at Portugal, its inherent on-edge positioning allows for unique perspectives. Lisbon Fashion Week designers unveiled some of the more conceptually poignant collections on the fall-winter 2016 European runway circuit. Dino Alves took on the southern Mediterranean cultural staple, the forever-mourning widow, and challenged it to a neon-lit standoff. Instead of perpetuating common fetishization of their veiled and shawled experience, Alves intervenes on behalf of “women seeking emotional solace in the blackness of their clothes, imposed by resignation and especially by sometimes hypocritical Catholic moral… for the rest of their lives as if lack of color translated their social role and significance.” And while he’s at it, he aims to liberate the wardrobes and lives of a few good men, too!

Task 1: Lighten things up. Silk, polyester, vinyl, rayon and other featherweight fabrics make up the bulk of the collection while wool embellishments ground it (literally and figuratively) in artisan tradition. All that shimmer-sheer-flow runs the risk of making garments come across as an endless nightdress parade. Hail clever layering! It saved the looks from boudoir-bound fate.

Task 2: Brighten things up. Alves is not anti-black. In fact, he offers enough black to qualify for any Manhattan showroom, see below 🙂 He just pitches it “no longer as a symbol of pain and sin” and reconstitutes the palette with a kaleidoscope of orange, pink, purple, and gold. The contrast is textbook, but given its context, it reads well. Side note: any designer who successfully manages to outfit a man in pink gets a rousing ovation from the brights-shy lad within me.

Task 3: (Re)integration. The stylistic and conceptual status quo Dino Alves pushes back against is characterized by social ostracizing. Instead of enduring endless siesta behind closed shutters and pulled-down shades, we are introduced to a parade of people on their way to the market, working the homestead, gossiping up the promenade. That’s all good. However, the choice of freckles for key make-up feature switched the aesthetics settings from borderline kitsch to circus. No downfall, just mild disservice to an otherwise brilliantly balanced and nuanced collection.

Now [bracing myself] how many hailmarys will it take me to get into a pair of those pink pants?! #Wishlist

Join Dino Alves on Facebook and check out also Catarina Oliveira’s quiet battle-cry and curious wish-granting by Ricardo Andrez as well as best-in-show Nuno Gama collection from Lisbon Fashion Week. Then follow Moda Lisboa on Instagram & Facebook

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