Fashion Week Highlights Chilean Glamour

From Tuesday, September 8 to Thursday, September 10, Santiago's ever-elegant Teatro Municipal became the house of sartorial majesty that is Fashion Week Santiago 2009. The event, in its fourth year now, was produced by Renato Papiccio and featured collections from established and emerging designers and brands, including Jose Cardoch, Luis Espinoza, Ivan Pilk Man, Vedelia Donoso and Mariana Alcalde.

Santiago Chile
Photo by Rebecca Gaulin (see more photos)

Gauzy tiers, layered fabrics and ruffles all had a potent presence on the runway, seen in collections by Mona Ferrari Pret, Abraham Escalona, Heri Levi and Hernan Vechi.

Santiago Chile
Photo by Rebecca Gaulin

Several collections also used slight bubble hems, sequins and feather accents. Floral patterns were popular in many dresses as well.

The festivities commenced on September 8 with an adventurous collection by Arlekin. An apt beginning to the event, the Arlekin set was simultaneously playful and dramatic. The collection consisted of leggings, short dresses and one-pieces, but each outfit looked like a leotard from a regal circus. In fact, the panoply of fabrics, textures and patterns, including crushed velvet, argyle, sequins, ruffles, leather and lamé, combined with the sky-high, bee’s nest hair and the occasional mask, could have outfitted a Marie Antoinette-themed Circ de Soleil. The designer also played with coordinated asymmetry, often reversing colors and patterns on opposite, but corresponding, sides of the body.

The bold collections continued with Felipe Toledo. Toledo’s collection raised eyebrows with derrière-revealing hems on fitted mini-dresses. The angular hems were cut shorter and shorter from left to right, such that the rectangular chunks missing from each section gave the hem a staircase-like appearance. Accompanied by garters with dangling strands of beads, the collection drew attention to hemline. The bodies of the dresses were eye-catching as well. Embellished with metal grommets, ribbons, silver buttons, chains and even colorful tape, it was as if the designer had created a collection solely from scraps off the workshop floor. However, the construction of the dresses themselves was well-structured, with shaped shoulders and geometric collars.

Kevin Kobek’s collection stood out as well. The collection was one of the few that created a well-executed comprehensive aesthetic, with music, props and make-up. The rhythmic techno music of the previous collections switched to an ethereal but eerie score that sounded like a blend of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Others. Indeed, the collection reflected a mix of the childlike and the spectral, with over-sized bows in the models’ hair, white tights and light, cropped chiffon cloaks reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood and The Nutcracker.

Santiago Chile
Photo by Rebecca Gaulin

Mona Ferrari Pret had the most extensive collection of the Week. One of the hallmarks of the designs was v-shaped necklines of tight ruffles. The collection began with more casual, floral dresses, but transitioned to silk and taffeta cocktails dresses that employed black ruffles peaking out of either the top or bottom of the dress. There were also several pieces with black tulle hems. The highlight of the collection, however, was the gathered silk dresses. These dresses were gathered in the middle, down the length of the body, over matching loose silk pants. The graceful movement of the garment itself indicated its precise tailoring.

Ivan Pilk Man’s collection was the image of Fashion Week glamour. The collection of evening gowns made of silk, chiffon and taffeta, featured luxuriant tiers and ruffles. Some slightly Elizabethan gowns had fabric flowing from the shoulders to create a cape-like train. The dresses had unique embroidering or criss-crossed fabrics on the bodices, and many made ample, tasteful use of lace. Pilk Man’s collection did not shy away from color, with vivid blue, green, yellow and orange gowns.

After three days and over twenty-five collections, Fashion Week Santiago showcased the most sophisticated of Chilean design.

Fashion Week Santiago 2009
September 8-10
Sala Claudio Arrau in Teatro Municipal
Agustinas 794
Metro: Santa Lucia

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