Saturday, March 12, 2011

BA Fashion Week

A couple of weeks ago I went to the opening night of fashion week here, where the label AY Not Dead took the opening honours in the carpark of the Paseo Alcorta Shopping Centre. Apart from the opening, which is by invitation only, you can buy general admission tickets and line up to see your favourite labels and be part of all the action.  The dark, industrial space of the carpark was a superb setting, the free cigarettes they were giving out was however, not cool, and the people, well, some were cool, some were trying for cool and some were just trying to use the free cigarettes to be cool.

Buenos Aires has a really interesting fashion thing going on, but at the same time, it´s a little bit something that I cannot put my finger on. There are some super cool stores who mostly have boutiques around the Palermo Soho area and in some of the shopping centres like Paseo Alcorta where fashion week launched.  Coming from Australia, I think I am spoiled for choice in terms of fashion that can be cheap or expensive, accessable, on sale (sales here are pretty useless), innovative, unique, available online, where the service is mostly very good, and the doors to the shops are not locked and you do not have to ring the bell to get in (security reasons here).  But here the fashion is mostly very expensive, a bit repetitive, the quality is usually very average and the service less-than average.

So the best things about the shopping here are
  1. The huge, spacious and chic boutiques themselves that are fitted out very expensively and are great to visit
  2. If you find a store that is your style, you can generally keep shopping there season after season, as the designers tend to keep the same general shapes and silhouettes while varying the ideas and fabrics and picking up new season trends.
This season, the stores I am visiting the most are Paula Cahen Danvers, DELAOSTIA, Rhapsodia and Maria Cher.

 Paula Cahen D´anvers makes clothes that are classic, basic, comfy, preppy and easy.  Winter is her best work because she always rocks good shirts, knits, hoodies, boots, moccasins, tailored pants, blazers and good basic tshirts.  When I first arrived in BA and had Australian dollars in my bank account rather than Argentinian pesos I think I bought about 9 pieces from her collection that winter.  Now that I have pesos instead of dollars, I am limited more to sale time and the occasional purchase, but I always like at least a couple of pieces that she does.  The downside is her knitwear is getting more and more pricey, and it really does not compare to the quality of Australian knitwear that I am used to, so paying 500 pesos for a knit is really not the best idea when it starts to look cheap after one season.

DELAOSTIA definitely have some similarities to Paula, but they are a little less preppy and a bit more risque perhaps you would say, with higher hemlines.  They still have some pieces that are easy, classic and do a really good range of denim and basic silhouettes in black, white and charcoal.  DELAOSTIA use their Facebook page really well, posting pictures of models and local celebs that come into the store and try on their clothes, along with prices, which I think works really well.  Their collection is much smaller than the other designers I mention here, but very cohesive and succinct.

 Rhapsodia are the hippie, eclectic, tribal print gurus, but this season I like their Native American influence and more structured military mixed with the prints that they are known for.  Not being a girly dresser, their looks can be a little too feminine for me, but I like a printed dress with a structured jacket, and they have a HUGE range of scarves.  Rhapsodia have just openend a new store a street away from their old one, and it is big, open, girly and full of draped fabrics and chandeliers.  They have some beautiful bed throws which look like they are from India or possibly Morocco, but they are super expensive and unless you will never make it to these places to buy several for yourself, not quite worth the price.

Maria Cher has a kind of rock and roll glam thing going on, with 70´s and 80´s influences. She has lots of oversized clothing, and of all the designers I have mentioned her fabrics are probably the best quality.  I have a couple of tshirts that have been worn and worn and retain their soft feel and shape.  Sometimes her sizes are so big that I wonder how the uber-skinny Argentine chicks can wear them.  If I am using a size 1, what are the size 1´s wearing?  Her bags and shoes are $$$ but very nice indeed.

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