The invite warned fair ‘n square this was going to be shiny, with lace, and bejeweled embroidery. As a survivor of several Moscow fashion weeks, I braced myself for impact. Back where I hail from, these are the last limelight-fighting words you hear before getting blindsided by some gaudy sparklefest of desperation. I didn’t know any better. I know now. Justicia Ruano presented an exemplary collection at 080 Barcelona Fashion Week. Citing the 18th century philosopher Pierre Louis Maupertuis, it took ORION, the small place whose light is just barely brighter than the darkness of space, as its destination rather than a point of departure. The sheen was, indeed, kind. But it’s in the mix of textures that the collection found its gravity: vinyl with Chantilly lace, mohair splattered with lurex, silk brocade and crepes. The lavender pieces (sound as they were) seemed out of orbit within the big picture. However, the molten lava florals in the coda looks made every step of getting to them worthwhile. Sidebar: younger designers take notes… If you’re going to show just one coat in your entire fall-winter line up, it better be matte pink gold! Kudos to Justicia Ruano for making “celestial sciences” seem like a contemporary discipline. An apprentice, Alexey Timbul

P.S. The feeling of witnessing this collection unfold reminded me of the Years & Years smash hit “Shine” … I remember us alone, waiting for the light to go off. Don’t you feel that hunger? It is you that I’ve been waiting to find! … and/or the Paulo Coelho significant other light in his novel “Brida”, slightly above the left shoulder. Fashion can do that.

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