London, New York, Paris, Milan. No need to name any more cities here – you know we’re talking fashion. Although Buenos Aires might not be the most obvious design capital in the world, it racks up loads of points for originality and style, and Palermo is the BA fashion Mecca for boutiques, market stalls, second-hand stores and street vendors flogging their creative wares.
So it is of little surprise that Buenos Aires also holds its own catwalk extravaganza, fondly known as BAF Week, whose Autumn/Winter 2012 (Otoño/Invierno) edition starts on 28 February. Although it takes place at Palermo’s La Rural, better known for its annual agricultural show featuring prize-winning cows, BAF Week brings together a catwalk, four days of shows, and Argentina’s finest clothing designers under one roof.
BAF Week: Unmissable
Top designers to watch out for, both locally and globally, who are making an Autumn/Winter 2012 BAF Week appearance include:
– Garza Lobos, a fledgling brand headed by natural fibre old hands Rubén Troilo and Constanza von Niederhausern whose cashmere collections have got local fashionistas fighting over knitwear (8pm, day three);
– Hermanos Estebecorena, a sibling duo renowned for their functional menswear who are making it big in Japan (9pm, day three);
– and Martin Churba’s Tramando, a fun and quirky Recoleta-based women’s wear brand whose eye-catching store is as visually exciting as his clothes, and has the privilege of closing BAF Week (9pm, day four).
Other fashion highlights include:
– M! by Mariano Toledo, a capsule collection collaboration between fun high-street brand Muaa and the women’s wear designer, which is inspired by 80s fashion heroine Boy George (5pm, day one);
M! by Mariano Toledo, photo courtesy of MS&L.
– Vicki Otero, whose signature staples are masculine tailoring and geometrical jackets (8pm, day one);
– Bold and bright women’s wear brand Amores Trash Couture (8pm, day two);
Amores Trash Couture, photo courtesy of BP Prensa.
– and Grupo 134, whose Spring/Summer 2012 campaign featuring functional urban wear for men and women was led by sibling actors Ana and Nicolás Pauls (7pm, day four).
BAF Week: The Next Generation
One highlight of BAF Week is the UBA Semillero. Thus may sound like gibberish but it refers to the “seedbed” competition held for fashion students at the University of Buenos Aires, with the winner given the chance to show off their first collection on the catwalk among the big boys. The Semillero is always worth a look for original concepts that wouldn’t look out of place in London. This season’s winners Perfecta Imperfección and En trans respectively focus on deconstructed tailoring and minimal women’s wear, and their joint show kicks off proceedings at 2pm on day one. Check out the show by Spring/Summer 2012 winners Circo Criollo and Hgernig Magna here:
BAF Week: Designer Focus
Evangelina Bomparola used to work for Hermés Argentina before venturing out on her own to show her first collection back in 2003. Now one of Argentina’s most prolific women’s wear designers and a BAF Week regular, she has also shown at New York Fashion Week. Here she offers TRA her thoughts on this season’s musts and the forthcoming BAF Week shows. Speaking about the inspiration behind her Autumn/Winter collection, Evangelina says: “It is a set of designs that, respecting the winter typologies, revolves around a cosmic woman. It was inspired by David Bowie’s Space Oddity lyrics where he talks about the images and hallucinations that Major Tom had through the eye of his capsule while he was lost in space.”
Although she hasn’t yet planned which shows she’ll be attending, Evangelina says she loves to watch them and says of Buenos Aires Fashion Week: “BAF Week is the best platform to show our work. Those who go are lovers and experts in fashion and I think it’s a huge achievement to have our own fashion week, like in New York, Milan, Paris… fashion capitals!” Looking ahead, Evangelina predicts this season’s must-haves: “Cocktail dresses, palazzo suits and jackets and jumpsuits.” Check out Evangelina’s Bowie inspiration for yourself at 7pm on day one.
BAF Week: Insider Eye
1. Tickets: For a mere ARS$30 pesos (or ARS$80 pesos for a row-three seat), this edition of BAF Week is jam-packed with at least eight shows a day. The BAF Week website has the full four-day schedule listed under “desfiles”.
2. The letter Q, as in queue: BAF Week starts heaving as soon as school’s out, so pick and choose your shows wisely, and be prepared to get in line.
3. Fiesta time: Although most parties are held at La Rural simultaneously while the catwalk is bustling, fashionistas need to be on the list to get in. Look fabulous enough, speak in English loud enough and stand close enough to the cordon — and security is bound to let you in sooner or later. Loiter with intent as soon as you see Rapsodia or Juana de Arco splashing the fizz, and I’ll see you there.
4. Motherly advice: Take a light jacket. It might be 30 degrees C outside, but it can get cool next to the catwalk. This is Autumn/Winter, after all.
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