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A couturier must be: an architect for design, a sculptor for shape, a painter for color, a musician for harmony, and a philosopher for temperance.
From December 4, 2018 until March 3, 2019 the fashion exhibition “Modus. The Spanish Way” will be on display on the Canal de Isabel II of the region of Madrid Exhibition Hall. This fashion exhibition shows the Spanish fashion concept and its international influence. The exhibition has mixes over 50 pieces from established names like Mariano Fortuny, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Francis Montesinos, Paco Rabanne, Jesús del Pozo, and Agatha Ruiz de la Prada; with younger creators like Ana Locking, Oteyza, or Palomo Spain; and international designers like Givenchy, Lanvin, or John Galliana, who have been inspired by “the Spanish way.”
Textures, Lines, and Volumes
I enjoyed my visit, strolling through it and recognizing with my eyes the feeling of each fabric, analyzing the origin of the line’s inspiration and the volume of each dress. “The Spanish way” shows us, through fashion, a visual summary of the character and beliefs of our land. Because the fashion of each historical period is the artistic expression with the clearest language of its time: it reflects the needs and changes of this society in each moment.
The color black is the exhibition’s protagonist. This color, and the austere lines containing it, takes us in a journey through time, through the pieces, to the court of the Austrias. The absence of color and ornaments reflect the strong religious influence in Spain. There are designs inspired by the world of Goya and the traditional suits which can be recognized amongst the pieces of the exhibition: the unequivocal character of the Andalusian with its flounces, mantillas, and spots, and shawls with their bright colored embroidered flowers.
Capes also become relevant again, used by man since prehistoric times, wore by queens and kings, villagers, aristocrats, military personnel, and bullfighters, mainly because of their elegance and comfort. In Madrid, capes and wide brimmed hats were banned by the Marquis of Esquilache so people wouldn’t hide weapons under them, protected by its anonymity, no man’s land.
The Fashionable Quixote. The Spanish Way for Me
For me, the world of The Ingenious Nobleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha, is what better reflects “the Spanish Way”, its character and personality.
The rich landscape that Cervantes describes, is also reproduced by Balenciaga when he uses heavy fabrics, that he enriches with embroidery, often by hand, or that he embeds with sequins creating quixotic mirages.
Seen through the eyes of Don Quixote, Sancho is something else than a man with material ambitions, although without the physical or spiritual strength to reach them, he’s another knight errant in the search for good. In the same way, Pertegaz, Jesús del Pozo, Balenciaga, or Sybilla are capable of seeing a dream in a cloth, and to make that dream come true.
In the same way Cervantes is present in the Quixote and Velázquez in his Meninas, so too Montesinos or Palomo Spain are portrayed in their collections. The skill to create amazing shapes, perfect finishings, the hard work of each artist is what dresses us, what envelopes us. I invite you to savour it in this exhibition.
Exhibition: Modus. A la manera de España in Sala Canal de Isabel II,
from December 4, 2018 until March 3
Curators: Raúl Marina y Wanda Morales
Photography: Oscar Rivilla
Music: Dr. Symptosizer
Hair and makeup: Jose Sande
Art direction: Carolina Verd
Pictures two and three: dress with flowers and sandals by Hannibal Laguna