Marques’Almeida straddles the contemporary level market and also the high fashion frontiers at London Fashion Week. Marta Marques and Paolo Almeida’s brand has cool girl appealability and comes with a matching price tag, one that isn’t overtly expensive (in terms of contemporary fashion) and it serves collections which are gripping insights into the many manifestations of how women could dress in five months. Without fail, their shows imbue the modern woman’s wardrobe with a distinctive sense of character—it is idiosyncratic, oftentimes weird but never short of wonderful. Their Spring 2018 outing was presented in Brick Lane and it resulted in their truest
What was initially borne out of distressed denim blossomed into a beautiful, multi-dimensional business serving more than just the signature that propelled them to mainstream success. Nowadays the clothing is permeated with a rough-edged 80s sensibility, that looks effortlessly modern but also delectably nostalgic. The ascription of country singer Dolly Parton and war heroine Joan of Arc to their mood board made for riveting viewing material; it built upon last season when they heavily emphasised the working woman and 80s power dressing. This collection’s motive was to reflect demanding nature of women’s lives today and fashioning a wardrobe for this climate. “Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living, barely getting by, it’s all taking and no giving,” Parton sang famously.
Amidst recent predatory behaviour in the workplace, specifically allegations against Hollywood despot Harvey Weinstein, and additionally fresh allegations surfacing in the fashion industry, many will find it difficult to muster a response. Although presented before light was shed on those atrocities, one can’t help but appreciate the boldness of the Marques’Almeida offering—shoulder pads on blazers and sturdy leather boots with dresses. It may seem facile—any comment in designer’s collections about the iniquity of recent allegations—but fashion’s sole purpose is to reflect the times. It would be remiss of them—neglectful, even—to continue to ignore what is going on. On that level, this would be brilliantly applicable for its confident quirkiness and its desire to emanate an unapologetically insuppressible self-assuredness.
The styling is unmistakably weird, however its peculiarities don’t ever come across as forced. In fact, there’s a subtlety even in the way summery tartan is paired with Holstein Friesian cattle print and lustrous heels or a striped, asymmetric neckline shirt with a brocade bustier and cargo pants. It is effortlessly chic and compounds the disparate worlds of Dolly Parton and Joan of Arc. It isn’t about being something to everyone so much as it is about a woman embodying many different things. It positively flips the current status of the fashion industry on itself. And there aren’t many out there brave enough to style a spangly bra with fashion’s answer to board shorts.
A cornerstone to their work has become the stripe. Difficult to master, the designers appreciate the oddness of the print. In its presentation, it is asymmetric, never conventional like a Breton stripe. It wouldn’t be Marques’Almeida if it was ‘just a Breton stripe’.
Their genius social media strategy has attracted a loyal fanbase. They present a unique online shopping experience, their newsletter reads like a handwritten note from an old friend from college, eager to catch up. They champion the personal, both with their business strategy but their individualistic aesthetic.
Individuality has never looked more authentic than it does at Marques’Almeida.