Let’s Dance

David Bowie’s best-selling record until the day he died was launched 35 years ago today. The move to sing for the many not the few did help his career but would cost him his hardcore fan base who would return to him only on occasion after that when the launched three of his more obscure masterpieces like “Outside”, “Heathen” and the haunting “Blackstar”.

By the time you read this it will be already April 14 in Australia, the continent he took to in order to film the video clip for the song “Let’s Dance”. It was 1983 and there were more folk dancing to David Bowie than ever before. “Let’s Dance” was the main single from the eponymous album and suddenly a considerable part of the world discovered the icon gone global after fourteen albums where he appealed mostly to a crowd that felt motivated to live up to their different music tastes, clothing, sexuality and whatever Bowie stood and stands for ever since he appeared with his new approach to music and fashion. Assisted by funkmaster Nile Rogers, better known as founding member of Chic and producer of major hits from bands like Sister Sledge the record made its way to dance floors. But despite the clear funk influence Bowie did not give up his rock influences having invited Steve Ray Vaughan to add his guitar riffs thereby launching an album with the right funky feel that suited the early 80’s but with a pint of rock here and there. The image, another distinguishing feature of David Bowie seemed to follow the popular spirit of the new Bowie. Wearing immaculate suites in pastel colours and his hair dyed blond Bowie looked rather like an northern-European holidaymaker than the alien he had impersonated in some records.

35 years after being released “Let’s Dance” is still a difficult album to digest for the hardcore Bowie fan and marked a period of some creative decline in the man’s career. The Bowie for the many not the few was not the Bowie the few waited for and he would regain his particular fanbase only after “Outside” which followed the popular “Tonight” and the not so popular “Never let me down” and “Black Tie White Noise”. After that he failed again when trying to have a go with drum’n and bass with “Earthling”, when he launched “Hours” a mild album and “Relity” equally mild, the album that preced “Heathen”, the record that hinted somehow to the path he would follow when he launched “The Next Day” and his final epos “Blackstar”, the record that proved that despite some failed attempts he was still the man he stands for for many – avant-garde, unpredictable and master of reinvention.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

 

Lisbon comes tumbling down

Lisbon is currently under strong seismic activity and the city’s fabric is shaking 

Recent news point to the bad quality of renovations of buildings and flats in Lisbon, thereby increasing the danger of collapse in case of an earthquake. According to “O Corvo” a local newspaper covering Lisbon-related issues and quoting an expert in seismic prevention “we are doing works in the centre of town that are true death traps” adding that we are building beautifully ornamented coffins to bring us to the other world. True to be said the risk has always been there, with vast areas of the city considered to be in danger even before the renovation frenzy. But the huge profits in the real estate market assisted by the strong international demand and the deregulated short rental market are leading landlords to renovate buildings in a haste in order not to lose the opportunity to milk the Lisbon cash cow. The result is, according to a number of engineers and assorted specialists in the field, thin walls and false ceilings with bad quality plus the destruction of some wooden structures that are there to protect buildings in case of a major earthquake and designed by Marquês de Pombal, the man who planned the entire downtown area after the catastrophic earthquake of 1755.

Landlord’s delight

But while such a major earthquake does not happen a number of seisms are being felt nearly everywhere under the form of astronomic price increases all over the city, particularly in central Lisbon. In a country where the average salary is below € 1,000 renting a house for a family of 3 or 4 is now above that amount, thus forcing many to move to the outskirts. While it is a fact that rents in some parts of the city were ridiculously low and prevented many landlords to make enough money to renovate buildings and flats, landlords are now in a true binge renting fever, evicting those who cannot afford the stratospheric rents. And such evictions do not confine only to the old ladies with their 100 euros rents. Anyone paying below 1000 and living with his family in central Lisbon may rest assured that he will be kicked out either because the landlord sold the flat to some international investor, to an affluent foreigner or converted it to short accommodation. The result is a increasing disgruntled city where a small percentage is making big bucks short renting or working in the real estate market, many of them to compensate the average salaries or after having lost their jobs, and a huge percentage who hasn’t figured what is really happening and how to react to it – after all tourism is bringing huge economic gains. As for the tourists, expats and foreigners who flock here Lisbon is still a city of opportunity given the low prices on average for them, tax benefits for expat pensioneers and possibility to invest in the booming local real estate market. Help yourselves. Lisbon is here for the taking.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

Lambswool

Não há melhor palavra para descrever os portugueses. O lambswool é uma malha fofinha e quentinha e que dá com tudo, discreta como este respeitável cidadão.

Portugal é um dos países mais simpáticos do mundo, o que à partida é um grande elogio. Sorrimos muito, falamos várias línguas e somos muito bons a receber. O que também só abona a nosso favor. O português está por todo o lado, mas passa quase sempre despercebido, qual camaleão, integrando-se de surra nas sociedades onde decide fixar-se. Trabalhador, a sua entrega e dedicação é louvada do hemisfério norte ao hemisfério sul. Não se dá por ele. À falta de designação de origem controlada diz-se que é um povo bonito como os italianos, espanhóis, gregos ou franceses. Jantar num restaurante português é uma delícia, um sossego. Fala-se baixo e ninguém incomoda o vizinho do lado. O português não incomoda ninguém. Está ali sentadinho no seu rectângulo com os pés de molho no mar, desenha círculos na água mas não faz ondas. No vestir é um exemplo. Com os seus tons neutros não agride a vista e a sua paleta de cores funde-se com o cinzento da calçada, o castanho das paredes e o azul-bebé do céu. Portugal é um exemplo, vê-se que foi à catequese. Não há governante que não gostasse de ter um povo assim.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

Style Out Lisbon

 

Musicians and designer clothes take to the stage in a renovated Lisbon venue for a night of celebration and for the occasion of Lisbon Fashion Week’s 50th edition.

The location were once was what many called the Lisbon Broadway hosts tonight a special evening combining music and fashion. Capitólio, a renovated theatre, will be the stage where artists like Ana Matronic, D’Alva, Surma and Emmanuelle will play and sashay wearing designs by some of the most offbeat Portuguese designers at Moda Lisboa, as Lisbon Fashion Week is better known. “We are thrilled to announce Ana Matronic – best known as the lone female member of pop phenomenon Scissor Sisters who will be debuting her new music exclusively in Lisbon, ahead of her album release this year”, reads the press release referring to the woman who will headlining the gig. Valentim Quaresma is the designer whose garments and ornaments Ana Matronic will be wearing on stage.Music plays an important role in the career of this accessories designer and was always there since the beginning, particularly in his joint work with Ana Salazar, the pioneer of Portuguese fashion design, for whom he designed accessories for more than 20 years and where music was an important element that added up to the avant-garde style of both. We are curious to see whether he will go for metal accessories, the material he is best at it, or whether he will go for other materials he has been experimenting with in recent times. 

Kiddy Smile, a French DJ and fashion provocateur as he is often referred to, and his vogue dancers will be wearing Patrick de Padua, a designer who knows Lisbon nightlife well, who deejays now and then in Lisbon clubs, and whose garments embody that clubbing spirit. D’Alva will be wearing Luis de Carvalho, a designer who likes to dig in the music scene archives to get inspiration for some of his clothes and where pop and elegance go hand in hand. Surma chose Carla Campos to come up with the garments for her dream pop performance. Brazil-born Emamnuelle and Soulwax protege will be wearing Ricardo Andrez, a designer with that pop and indie attitude who is good at designing smart garments but with than penchant for disruptive looks and styling. Kokeshi, part of DJ duo   Heartbreakerz, will be wearing Duarte. Style Out Loud is brought by Street Style Creative, based in Berlin and with a small office in Lisbon. Its mission is there “to connect the dots between fans, customers, influencers, performers, designers, brands, products and technologies via engaging events, content and digital everything”.

Moda Lisboa 50

This event marks the kick off of Moda Lisboa an event celebrating its 50th edition. Ideated by Eduarda Abbondanza and Mário Matos Ribeiro in the early 90’s, Moda Lisboa showcases twice a year what’s best in Portuguese designer fashion. Links to music and the Lisbon scene have been there since the beginning from the early days when offbeat clubbers, designers, visual artists, musicians and the lot walked hand in hand exploring new means of expression 20 years after the end of fascism in a country and where a new generation was eager to come up with its own vision of the world and of fashion for the sake of it.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

There’s a light that never goes out

Lisbon Fashion Week celebrates its October edition under the motto Luz (Light) on a new venue, this time in the heart of one of Lisbon’s most beautiful parks thus shining again a light through fashion on iconic places and buildings in the Portuguese capital.

Twenty three fashion shows by both Portuguese designers and brands and a pop-up store offering national products mark the October edition of Moda Lisboa as the Lisbon Fashion Week is better known, the name of the association in charge of this event since 1991. Pavilion Carlos Lopes on Parque Eduardo VII is the new venue for the shows that start on Friday 6 with Patrick de Padua, a designer who focus on menswear with a twist for club nights and laidback days. The show goes on with Duarte, followed by Sangue Novo where new talents will show their designs, followed by Lidija Kolovrat who combines her fine art of print with garments with avant-garde attitude, the very same avant-garde penchant that is there in the jewels designed by Valentim Quaresma who follows next and who, after decades focusing mostly on metal has been betting recently on different materials. The first day ends with Ricardo Preto known for his  fine tailoring for men and women.

Saturday kicks off with Imauve + Carolina Machado followed by David Ferreira, the designer famed for his extravaganza on the catwalk and who caught the eye of Björk, the Icelandic gnome who wore one his dresses at a concert in London in 2016. Awaytomars show is scheduled for 4.30 P.M. where you will be given the opportunity to see the result of the joint work of this project that gathers creative minds from all over the world. Nuno Gama comes next, one of the most renowned menswear designers in the country and who cleverly combines his fine tailoring with national imagery for contemporary men. After this star of menswear comes Aleksandar Protic who sure knows how to design relaxed but elegant garments for women. Come October temperatures are usually still high for the beachwear of Brazilian brand Cia. Maritima. Ricardo Andrez comes next with his elegant and modern interpretations of menswear that have conquered the heats and mind in Spain where he was awarded both prizes and showed his collections before becoming a regular presence at Moda Lisboa. Christophe Sauvat comes after with his garments that attract a growing boho audience. Day two ends with Dino Alves, a designer famous for his regular work in the area of performing arts dressing a myriad of artists for number of shows, events and the lot.

Day three begins with Morecco followed by Nair Xavier x Diniz Cruz where we will be given the opportunity to see what has changed in Nair’s work considering her work with the brand Dielmar where she improved her tailoring skills. Around 4 P.M. shoes take centre stage with the show by shoe brand Eureka, a brand known for regularly inviting Portuguese designers to develop shoes for its stores and which offers great designs at affordable prices. Shows continue with Olga Noronha, followed by Nadir Tati and later with Luis Carvalho who focused on the 70/80’s new wave last season. The show by menswear store Mustra precedes the show by Filipe Faísca the designer who masters the fine art of making women look extremely sexy with his designs.

In-between shows Wonder Room gives you the opportunity to see and buy Portuguese design from men’s grooming by Antiga Barbearia de Bairro, shirts with a vintage touch by Daniela Ponto Final or groovy bags by Fluo just to name a few.

Carlos Tomé Sousa