Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida are about the only significant label showing see-now, buy-now in Paris. French designers are limited by the French Fashion Federation (Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode) who decided a couple of years ago that French designers would have to stay on the traditional show schedule. However, Marques and Almeida are based in London, members of the British Fashion Council, so they’re not bound by the French rules. Parallels to the tumultuous political relationship between the UK and EU didn’t go missed by that fact and questions remain whether the duo might be able to return to show in Paris again next season.
Marques’ Almeida is about as close as fashion comes to a crowd-sourced label. Part of their tremendous appeal has been their habit of relying on conversations with friends in deciding that designs to include in any given season. That helps explain the tremendous wearability one finds in this collection. If their friends are not comfortable wearing a look, it’s not included in the show. As a result, we see a lot of floral prints, stripes, peplum, shirt dresses, and motocross pants. While the duo tweaks these silhouettes from one season to the next, there’s a comfortable familiarity with the looks.
What’s missing from this collection is the raw denim we’ve become accustomed to seeing. As the label has grown, it’s lost a little bit of that street edge in favor of looks that are a bit more commercial. That being said, though, what matters most is that everything is comfortable and wearable. Marques said after the show, “We’re not into smoke and mirrors.…We’re not too precise about our fit. We just want things to look good on everyone.”
Here are a few looks from the collection.
Yes, there’s a little bit of that London Underground punk vibe going with the spiked collars and handbag straps. A little bit of rebellion without going all in on that look is part of what makes this label so attractive to a mainstream audience. There is the ability to adapt most everything here to one’s lifestyle without having to make a significant sacrifice. The streetwear separates are especially well positioned for mix and match pairings that may have one at a rave on Saturday night and brunch with Grandmother on Sunday.
Marques’ Almeida is a label that has grown quickly over the past two years. They have a strong client mix that includes Beyoncé as well as tenement dwellers in London. With a diverse audience like that, and with a commitment to keeping things real, its difficult to see how they can go wrong.