By  on October 23, 2007

NEW YORK — Prominent Spanish designers brought their collections Stateside last week to bolster awareness of Madrid's budding fashion scene.The event at the Queen Sofia Institute here was sponsored by the Madrid City and Regional Government, the Madrid Chamber of Trade and Industry and the Madrid Entrepreneurial Association (CEIM), as well as the Madrid Trade Fair (IFEMA), Madrid Fashion Week's main organizer.Participating in the fashion presentation on Thursday were 25 designers who displayed one look apiece from their respective collections, including Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Ailanto, Alma Aguilar, Amaya Arzuaga, David Delfin, Devota & Lomba. Duyos, Francis Montesinos, Juanjo Oliva, Lemoniez and Miguel Palacio.The presentation, heavy on black, was rife with avant-garde dresses, a variety of textured silks and dramatic gowns. Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Linda Fargo of Bergdorf Goodman and Angel Sanchez were among those who attended the fashion fete to support Spanish designers. "First of all, there are too many shows in New York, Paris and Milan. My advice to Spain would be to not show during New York Fashion Week. The only way that they could create some sort of identity is to be in their own city," said de la Renta, chairman of the Queen Sofia Institute, in an interview. "It will be difficult to do, because it's a very expensive proposition to add another city, but perhaps if it's properly organized, it would be interesting to see what would happen," de la Renta continued, speculating about whether Spain, still a growing power in terms of the international fashion scene, will one day possess sartorial influence rivaling the likes of Paris and Milan.Designers who have come from Spain have made it a valued center for fashion, and with the help of good p.r., a sense of global awareness can be created for Spanish designers, said de la Renta.According to Modesto Lomba, president of The Spanish Fashion Designers Council, the efforts to increase the awareness of Spanish designers in the U.S. will include similar presentations in locations throughout the country. Lomba also showcased a dress of his own from his Devota & Lomba collection, which was a taupe drop-waist dress created from three types of silk.Ruiz de la Prada, treasurer of The Spanish Fashion Designers Council, is renowned in Spain for the use of vibrant color in her work. The designer, with a propensity for the outrageous, showed a silk wedding gown adorned with enlarged colorful hearts and bows. Ruiz de la Prada has a boutique in Manhattan's SoHo and has dressed political figures such as Carmen Valvo, Spain's former minister of culture."People always want to get married, but some don't want to get married in white, so they come to my studio and ask me to make them colored wedding dresses," said de la Prada, who also noted that last week's event was the first time Spanish designers all went abroad together.David Delfin was panned by critics several years ago after the debut of his controversial Hanging Dress, constructed from black silk crepe with an attached nylon rope noose that hangs around the neck. Although Delfin cites the 2000 film "Dancer in the Dark" as his inspiration, it is clear the piece, which makes the wearer virtually topless, pays homage to designer Rudi Gernreich's radical bathing suits from nearly four decades ago.

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