Many designers feel stuck in the unrelenting schedule of fashion, the 'hamster wheel' as Marta Marques and Paolo Almeida put it. The duo have been working the London Fashion Week cycle for over seven years, but for their pre-spring collection, with thanks to the Portuguese Fashion Council, Marques'Almeida decided to shake things up, break the cycle and up sticks, and pitch up in Paris' Palais de Tokyo.
While set in Paris, this collection certainly felt a Portuguese influence. Despite Marta and Paolo's Portuguese roots, previous seasons have remained London-centric, inspired by the girls and family that the duo surround themselves by. This season was more an ode to Portugal through the lens of two Portuguese Londoners. Fringing, much like traditional Portuguese scarves, was heavy throughout on jagged skirt, t-shirt, red flamboyant tiered dresses and perhaps most successfully, a baseball tee dress. These fringes added a welcome motion to the clothes which, when paired with the powerfully aggressive Princess Nokia overhead singing That Girl is a Tomboy, added a little punk to the mood. That attitude was embodied too in the spiked shoes and sunglasses, lacquered boots and smeared blue blur eyeshadow.
The typical tropes of the M'A girl were still present; denim two pieces and yellow halter-neck dresses were in keeping with the brand's typical stylings, and regular M'A girls Frankie Dunn and Masha Mel hadn't been put off by the trip on the Eurostar. Checks, brocade and long loose sleeve and trouser sets were all familiar, the latter appeared best in a subdued rainbow stripe, and reminded the onlooker that Marta and Paolo will always be fueled by the attitude of their girls.
One certainly did need reminding. The smooth Fado music playing toward the finale, and the intense helmets coated in animal hide indicated an odd and perhaps even foreboding change of mood. Where will the duo show next? One feels both excited and nervous. This show, (a see-now-buy-now collection) has created new pathways, one hopes the duo continue to challenge with their M'A girls in tow.