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Catalan Fashion shines at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid

22 February, 2012

Andrés Sardá / Hugo Camera / MBFW Madrid

A total of 44 fashion firms featured at the 55th Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid, formerly known as Pasarela Cibeles.

After presenting her designs in Madrid, Teresa Helbig’s smile is brighter than ever, the result of the joy, excitement, and above all the satisfaction of having taken home the award for the best collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid for the second year in a row. Between seasons the designer labors away quietly to ensure that each of her collections features an exquisite balance of perfect dressmaking, stunning blends of fabrics, carefully rendered finishes, and quality garments.

Step by step, in line with the designer’s preferred work method, she surprises us each year, because Teresa Helbig knows how to convert her creative instincts into dresses and combinations that the public both understands and enjoys. “I am thrilled with how things went in Madrid and I hope that, slowly but surely, our success will translate into more work,” Ms Helbig says during a break in her intensive schedule. “We didn’t expect to win the award for the best collection again. I think it is largely an acknowledgement of the work of the whole team.”

Opening Up to the World

It is more common to find the Barcelona-based designer personally attending to her customers or turning fabrics into a new homage to the 1920s, a reference point in many of her designs. But on this occasion, in the eye of the creative storm that always surrounds her, she has set aside space for reflection. Following on from her success in Madrid, Ms Helbig says her cap is still set at breaking onto the international stage.

There is no doubt that taking part in a platform like Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid can boost her profile abroad and she is also happy with the firm’s first foray into Arab countries, specifically Abu Dhabi, where she now has customers that are opening up a new market.

Breaking onto the international scene is also a priority goal for Sita Murt. The Igualada-born designer is a worthy veteran at the Madrid shows, where she has presented her collections more than 40 times.

This year, her presentation coincided with the opening of a new store in Santiago de Chile, the first in the Chilean city and part of the label’s plan to move into Latin America. Sita Murt says that presenting in Madrid is also a chance to meet up each season with “a public I am comfortable with”.

Farewell Cibeles

With respect to the name change of the former Pasarela Cibeles, Ms Murt says, “Any change aimed at helping Spanish labels make their name internationally is good. Working with a firm like Mercedes-Benz shores up the show’s image and puts it on the international map of contemporary design along with the fashion weeks of places like New York and Berlin”.

The Catalan firms that are regulars in this well-established fashion showcase generally emphasize Mercedes-Benz’s capacity to foster international projection and garner media coverage for their labels. One example is TCN, which is more than happy with the result of its outing on 4 February. The firm led by Totón Comella and Josep Maria Donat made its presentation in Madrid a few days before appearing at 080 Barcelona Fashion – a double presence that means TCN does not yet have to choose between one or the other.

Another highlight of the program in Madrid was the presence of Andrés Sardá. The firm, now managed by Núria Sardá, part of the second generation of the family and the label’s creative director, celebrated its 50th anniversary with a jaw-dropping collection that took a look back at the most significant models to come out of the luxury lingerie house.

More Than Just Emerging Talent

Since 2006 the Madrid show has also featured a special program for young designers. EGO presents emerging brands that have shown talent, the ability to grow and the capacity to carve out a name for themselves in the sector – one example is Maria Escoté.

After first presenting her collections at EGO, Ms Escoté entered the show’s main program in January 2010. All up she has presented 11 collections at Madrid and says that this year, “I am especially happy to have conveyed what I wanted to say through my collection”. Under the name “Shock”, the designs Maria Escoté presented in Madrid signify, according to their creator, “a change in my professional career and have delivered the results I hoped for”. She says there is more to come in 2012 and that she has “many ideas on the table which will keep me extremely busy over the next few months”.

EGO this year featured 45 emerging designers that were able to sell their designs directly to the public. They included Taiwanese designer Shen Lin, who presented a collection entitled “31 February”. For part of his work, Lin studied jewelry design at the Massana School in Barcelona and lived in the city for eight years, where he learned to blend fashion design and jewelry techniques in his designs. “For me, fashion and jewelry are part of the same parcel; they both dress the body and I don’t see any great difference between them,” he says. The designer, who has now presented four collections in Spain, agrees with his colleagues in praising the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid for its “promotional capacity”.

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