By Chandani Kaur Kohli
I have been in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a total of 3.5 months now. Having left a life of fashion in New York City for the exploration of Latin American flavor, I pounced at the opportunity to cover the Buenos Aires Autumn/Winter 2009 Fashion Week. We are sitting below the equator i.e. flip flopped in climate, but the porteños, Buenos Aires residents, are nevertheless celebrating the new fashions of fall in tandem with New York, London, Milan, and Paris. This is just one of many striking points of how the fashion cycles in Buenos Aires differ from its well oiled counterparts. But without boring you with details of infrastructure, let me get down to business: trends.
After three days of typical fashion week chaos, I witnessed the runway styles of Prune, Cora Groppo, Laurencio Adot, and Wanama. There was also a runway presentation called Semillero UBA showcasing the designs of students at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. Semillero literally translates as seedbed, but in this case it denotes new talent. In fashion lingo: the models on the catwalk were clad in the most unique, physique morphing pieces where fashion marries art. It was a forum for the students’ most creative expressions and it was thrilling!
In regards to established designers, I continually find myself drawn to Cora Groppo, creative director of the namesake, who does not let marketing nuances influence her wild designs. She continues to use asymmetry and beaded hardware to create dimensionality. This season she spiced up her signature undulated cotton tops and dresses with contrasting colors and fabrics. We can also be excited about her skinny and pencil legged pants with contrasting inlays designed into them.
In contrast, but just as appealing to my hungry eyes is Laurencio Adot. He caters to a classier woman with an established taste for finer things. He showcased oversized fur coats and brought in a 1920s motif with dresses layered in tassels, swooshing to and fro with each step. I absolutely loved the exaggerated shoulders and allover lace accents to add a personal unifying touch to each look.
After the first day, I found myself more intrigued by the bodies swarming the pavilion. The reason is twofold. In general, Buenos Aires is a very casual city. Surprising, I know! I was shocked by the difficulty in finding well dressed denizens on the streets or even in clubs. You have to make an effort or simply attend specialized events such as Fashion Week. The second reason that caught my interest was the high percentage of young attendees. It seemed like nearly half of the crowd was between 15 and 20 years of age - another stark difference from other fashion capitals. I decided to take the opportunity and explore their style, and oh what style they have! There is a strong sense of purposeful bohemian in the way the women dressed, and the men ranged from GQ chic to hipster. A hit combination is short dresses, shorts, or skirts (lots of floral!) paired with ankle boots. Also, I found many who accessorized with a light cotton scarf hanging around their neck from both sides.
Hats were a sign that you were breaking from the norm as the young girl on the far left (below) tried to explain. It was adorned by those in a group understood as fashionistas expressing themselves for fashion sake and not as a billboard for some designer. Her friend to the right in the second picture screams classy and she would not have it any other way. Her idol is Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girls. Who can blame her? We North Americans are just as obsessed!
And then of course there is the ubiquitous flower in the hair. You can count on every fifth girl at the event as well as on the streets of Buenos Aires to sport it! I do have to admit that I’m a big fan, but I am curious to know what will replace it during the colder weather.
Personally, I would love to see some of the Argentine flare make its way to North America. Could this be a possible business venture? I would take the chance and tell you to hold your breath (wink).
Side note: To get your hands on the latest styles of boots and hats check out the labels below:
Boots - Huija : Armenia 1806 (Palermo)
Hats - Compania de Sombreros : Ramirez de Velazco 743 (Villa Crespo)