A GUIDEPOST REPRINT: “Spanish Fashion Holds Its Own,” 24 July 1970

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by Shella Fortune
24 July 1970



Spain’s fashion designers bowed to the applause of buyers and members of the press who came from all over the world this week to preview what you might be wearing come September.

Now that Fall-Winter Spanish High Fashion Showings are over, by anybody’s notes, that is if anyone can read his notes, certain designers come to the foreground while others file out to get back to the drawing board.

Of all the collections, Pertegaz’s was the most expensive; Pedro Rodriguez’s, the most conservative; Elio Berhanyer’s, futuristic; and Lino’s, the most elegant.

The shows were not so well attended as they might have been since the Greek showings took place at the same time. No one thought the Greeks would go through with their presentations–which confused the schedule for continental showings set to begin in Italy, continue in Spain and then in France.

The Greeks stole the Spanish High Fashion Showings’ thunder. (Image/OpenClipart-Vectors, Pixabay)

“Beware of Greeks,” is an old warning still to be heeded. With only one designer to boast of, the Greeks attracted buyers who might otherwise have come to Spain. A good reason for this might be that business possibilities are attractive since hand labor, that precious commodity in the West, is still going for a low bid in Greece.

In Madrid, the three-day showings began with a preview of suede and leather [industry name for leather is napa napa] at the Eurobuilding . . .”Napa” [is] soft and pliable and moves with the body like soft wool crepe, and it is dyed every color from red to apple green.

Ibañez’s [Manuel Pertegaz Ibañez’s] day wear was bulky, sportive and executed in elephant velour, wild boar skin and camel suedes. Colors were natural browns and greys.

For the evening the gowns were smashing. . . Fur highlighted almost every cuff. A snake-skin midi-coat worn with dough-colored leather pants and matching shoes got a round of applause. . .

Peletería Belga proved that Indian trappings are still “in”. Every edge was split into fringes, sometimes quite long and often so deep that the skirt was a fringe from the waist down. Colors were terra cotta, rich brown and camel. Braided head-bands crowned the squaw-like mannequins who paraded barefoot over the stage. Only a tomahawk was missing!

. . .The showing began with the best of [Pertegaz’s] boutique trunk, which included little school-girl dresses with white lace collars and cuffs. . . Torsos were long and caught up around the hip-line with thin belts. The skirts were long–sometimes mid–calf and just below the knee, and often pleated. Around the neck, matinée-length gold chains held dangling crosses for the convent-bred wearer. Wrist ruffles were numerous and so were ties at the neck. For walking in blizzards, he showed a pair of Scotch plaid, red and green numbers. The huge skirts were fringed at the hem. When the mannequins took off the gigantic triangles of fringed wool, they revealed boxy jackets. One could see that the girls really did have shapes wearing soft jersey turtle necks. In suede cloth, Pertegaz showed a mock-Indian garb in a skirt outfit or pant suit. Either way, the combination was tired.

Quite exciting, however, were the jersey prints in sheer wool and silk, in geometric, earth-colored fabrics. Lots of black and umber were shown. Coats were shiny black or khaki trench types, belted and topped with large fur collars. In “fun” fur, Pertegaz showed a raccoon coat, the hem of which sported a wampum of raccoon tails sewn on like fringe–strictly for the snow–bound.

Pertegaz’s designer collection showed such a variety of themes that there was no single “look” to distinguish the group. This part of the show —  which might have been called “Around the World in Eighty Minutes” — was as follows:

An Australian-inspired pantsuit in suede cloth was closed up the front with small gold bars. . .

From far-off “Inja”, there was a long Nehru midi-coat secured at the side and used over pants. The model wore a turban, twisted in purple and beige to accent the colors in the small rectangular print of the fabric, touched here and there in metallic gold. . .

For the theatre, there was a black dress and matching jacket shown with a black fox hat.  The jacket had fur around the cuffs, collar and hem, and on the two tiers of the skirts there were fox boas.

For the cossacks were pantaloons and boots, with a voluminous puff-sleeve blouse in gold metallic and burnt-orange fabric.

In green matte jerseys were harem pants worn with a bolero of pheasant feathers. . .

Pedro Rodriguez was conservatively elegant. His hemlines were just below mid-calf and his line was easy. He showed bell-shaped coats and capes. Suits were smart with straight skirts and short jackets and small lapels.

There was a coachman’s coat and hat. The sleeves of the coat were in three sections and large black buttons marched up the front. One other coat had ties instead of buttons.

A majestic brown velvet evening coat had a mandarin neck and long sleeves that were tight on the forearm and exaggerated in a puff rising above the shoulder seam.

For evening, a celadon green lace gown had sleeves that continued down to the floor in a series of ruffles.

Rodriguez’ beading was superb as ever over loose-fitting sheaths that were dated in both color and style.

Big colors were purple, brown, green and dark red. Prints were predominantly jacquards.

Elio Berhanyer’s collection was beautifully made in hard-faced wools. The dresses were mid-calf and had sculptured torsos with high necks and little cap sleeves. Coats were bulky with flaps on pockets and adornments of large silver medallions on belts and laveliered on waist-length chains. Back pleats fell from above the waist of the coats to the hems to give the controlled silhouette a stride. Every dress had a matching coat or jacket. Elio’s colors were strong purple, turquoise, bright royal blue, reds, greys, blacks, “dead” greens and browns. His hats were skull caps with big stiff velour bows at the nape. One hat was wig-like with a part in the center and a geometric curl at the cheek.

Elio’s evening wear was clean-cut drama. He showed black lace in a “traje corte” theme and a black wool dress and jacket that was a “traje de luces” for madame. . . This dress brought applause from the audience as the model turned and posed to classical guitar strummings.

Lino has the most elegant collection of all. His clothes are for the self-confident, graceful woman. They are tailor-made to enhance the beauty within the woman and do not try to conjure up exotic shapes and schemes that end in affectation. .  .

. . . For the evening, every gown was a masterpiece, following the tight theme of the handsome woman.

Beading gave color and texture when it was used. One gown, number 70, was vertically beaded with black bugle beads. The surface looked like wet black lacquer covering a silhouette of a bateau-neck sheath with long, straight sleeves. . .  The applause stopped when the next creation appeared.

An embroidered, peacock feather design sewn in silk thread was interestingly used on hems and sleeves and on Lino’s bridal gown for winter.

For show-stoppers, Lino spiced the collection with fur and feather trims, brilliants, Persian metallic embroidery, hoods, bare backs, and wide-banded waists.

Santa Eulalia’s collection put an accent on design problems. There were too many gimmicks. A good note was struck, however, when straight-legged knee pants worn with boots and loose-fitting jersey turtle necks and long matching coats with fur collars appeared. Skirts were often interestingly split and swung freely in pleats. Capes and pant suits distinguished the collection. Colors were clear and happy. Patches of color were sewn together in Mondrian square designs.

Victorian girl was Carmen Mir’s recurrent theme. (Image: Victorian girl/ArtsyBee Venita, Pixabay)

Carmen Mir’s brain-storm was a starkly magnificent evening gown in crepe with a long soft skirt and a covered-up front, halter collar and bare back for special interest.

The Victorian girl was a recurrent theme throughout. . .

Marbel Jr.’s collection was incredible. It seemed as though he demonstrated how to dress to look like a tart. Skirts were hiked up on one side, long on the other and saucy caps captured that theatrical 1930’s mood. At times, the show inspired excitement because of the free-flowing movement of fabrics which were bold prints, heavy wools, brocades and laces. The show certainly had unity – it held together on feather boas.

Pedro Rovira showed jumpsuits in clear colors: green and white, blue and white and orange. Something new was the straight-legged pants buckled below the knee. Long, sleeveless fur coats were worn over jumpsuits, all highly impractical.

Villahierro’s presentation was tasteful. The style is young and girlish. The colors are clean and bright and inspiring. The outfits are highly specialized to suit particular occasions. Evening wear is very “overdone”. Each costume is, in itself, a “look” and an extreme one at that.

Herrera y Ollero’s collection was one hundred pieces of general unexcitement. One of the designs to remember, or to try to forget, was a strapless, ankle-length evening gown with a wide band through the classic mean.

Fall-winter Spanish high fashion would have been hung up with a whimper had it not been for Lino and Elio Berhanyer who saved the day with ingenuity and hard work, which showed where it counts – in the threads.