Scene setting: In the past, Marques’Almeida has staged its catwalk shows in cavernous warehouse spaces on Essex Road and Brick Lane in East London. That’s where the Marques’Almeida girl hangs out, listening to Nina Simone tracks and grunge. For S/S 2018, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida held the brand’s show outside under a railway arch off Brick Lane. Their models, or ‘MA girls’, friends and muses recruited by the brand, walked along a lengthy concrete catwalk, against a backdrop of graffitied columns, to the sounds of Dolly Parton.
Mood board: The collection was a mash-up of everything imaginative girls want to wear now: silk dresses and trousers with frothy marabou trims, striped and punky strap-detailed denim (the brand became synonymous with frayed, nineties-inspired denim when they debuted their first S/S 2018 collection under Fashion East), panelled plaid and Chenogasm-like dresses. The brand’s panache for Parton came in pony skin cow-hide coats cut like biker jackets, offset against a strong warrior spirit – seen in Oriental dragon print trousers with utility-focused pockets, sequinned skirts with flame-like scatterings of red, and stiff tops resembling breastplates. Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida have recently welcomed a baby girl. Were the armour-like overtones a way to protect women from the political upheavals of today’s world?
Best in show: Marques’Almeida’s band of ‘MA Girls’ are chosen for the freedom of spirit and individuality. Backstage, they are encouraged to style their own looks, picking pieces that resonate with their personality. This creative touch was reflected in the layering seen within the collection – strappy tops and halter necks were layered over striped shirts with wide billowing sleeves, and the brand’s breastplate-inspired tops were teamed with ruffled smocks and brightly checked shirt dresses.