A Fashionable Stroll Down the Cobbled Streets of Lisbon's Fashion History

The Portuguesa Party: Fashion in the Age of Exploration

It's hard to imagine a more glamorous time to be a fashionista in Lisbon than during the Age of Exploration. As ships returned from the New World brimming with gold, gemstones, and exotic materials like silk, pearls, and feathers, Portuguese society was transformed into a veritable fashion laboratory. Forget the modest attire of yore; it was time to embrace the "joie de vivre" of the Iberian peninsula.

Picture flamboyant doublets adorned with intricate gold embroidery, paired with voluminous breeches, and the piece de resistance: the wide-brimmed hat adorned with exotic plumes. Women too embraced the splendor of the time, donning elaborate confections of silk and lace, their waists cinched painfully tight by whalebone corsets, their ears adorned with ornate chandelier earrings. It was a veritable Portuguesa party, and everyone was invited.

The Regal Revolution: Modesty Returns

Alas, the party couldn't last. As the 18th century rolled around, Lisbon's fashionistas found themselves in the midst of a regal revolution. The monarchs of the time were particularly pious, and the days of flamboyant finery were numbered. Enter the 'rococo" era: a time when elaborate brocades and rich silks were replaced by the more modest, yet no less intricate, pastels and delicate florals.

Men were urged to shun their flashy doublets for more sober attire, while women swapped their heaving decolletage for high-necked gowns and modest fichu neckerchiefs. And while the bright hues of the Age of Exploration were nowhere more to be found, the elegance and refinement of the time can still be seen in the intricate embroidery and delicate lacework of the era.

The Dawn of Designer: Maria Manuela and the International Stage

Fast-forward to the 20th century, and Lisbon's fashion scene was once again abuzz with excitement. The glamorous 1930s saw the emergence of a homegrown star: designer Maria Manuela. With her elegant and modern designs that combined traditional Portuguese elements with the latest trends from Paris, Manuela quickly became a darling of the international fashion scene. She even designed for Hollywood stars like Rita Hayworth and Ava Gardner, who couldn't get enough of her glamorous creations.

Manuela's success launched a wave of Portuguese designers who took the world by storm, putting Lisbon on the map as a true fashion capital. And while the city may not have the same global recognition as New York, Paris, Milan, or London, it has continued to maintain its unique flair for fashion.

Present-Day Lisbon Fashion: Trendsetters and Tradition

In the past few years, Lisbon has experienced a renaissance in fashion, blending centuries-old traditions with a modern, global sensibility. The result is a city that pulses with creativity, where fashion-conscious residents can choose from a diverse array of styles to suit their individual tastes.
  • Reviving Tradition: Many of Lisbon's fashion designers are embracing their heritage, incorporating traditional Portuguese materials and craftsmanship into modern, stylish designs. From cork shoes and bags to intricate filigree jewelry, these pieces are a nod to Portugal's rich history while remaining thoroughly contemporary.
  • Sustainable Fashion: Lisbon is home to a number of eco-conscious designers who are making a name for themselves on the international stage. From recycled textiles to organic cotton, these fashion forward individuals are redefining what it means to be environmentally friendly in style.
  • The New Avant-Garde: From cutting-edge streetwear to experimental couture, Lisbon's up-and-coming designers are pushing the boundaries of fashion. The city has become a hotbed of creativity, with young designers showcasing their unique visions at events like Lisbon Fashion Week and the Fashion Design Competition at the Lisbon Museum of Design and Fashion.

A Stylish Future: Where Lisbon Goes From Here

As Lisbon's fashion scene continues to evolve, one thing is for certain: this is a city that knows how to make a statement. With its rich history and thriving contemporary design culture, Lisbon has proven that it can hold its own on the international stage, cementing its place as a true fashion capital.

So whether you're a fan of traditional Portuguese embroidery, eco-friendly materials, or avant-garde designs, there's no better time to explore Lisbon's streets and discover the fashionable treasures that await you. Dust off your wide-brimmed hat, don your finest embroidered doublet, and take a step back in time to a city that has always known how to dress to impress.

Article kindly provided by foreverinfashion.org