And now for something a little more international from Style by Fire: Malta Fashion Week!
This is my first time in the beautiful land of Malta and besides the breathtaking architecture, history and culture, as well as azure blue Mediterranean waters, I had the treat and privilege to attend Malta Fashion Week (MFW) from May 22 to 27.
Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, the 7th Annual Edition of MFW was appropriately held at Fort St Elmo in the capital city of Valletta, which was built in the 1500’s and protected Malta from various sieges throughout history. Each evening featured a mixture of runway shows, performance-style presentations, and feature exhibits. Varying up the way the designers’ work was presented was a great way to get the fans off their chairs, mingle, and move to the next spot in the open-air courtyard.
The fashion community in Malta is small and very collegial from what I observed in the photographers’ pit. I’m used to being treated rudely as a photographer, so it was a nice change to be welcomed warmly into the pit and given equal space as the others.
As for fashion as a general culture, it’s still in its early stages in Malta and seems to be far behind its European neighbours. There is hardly any shopping to speak of. Sliema is the shopping area and basically consists of two streets with a very small selection of non-Maltese brands like Zara, Marks & Spencer, and Pandora Jewelry. I was told that you need to buy most things online, or take off on a shopping getaway to the UK or elsewhere in Europe to stock up on what you need. My mind was kind of blown.
Having said that, there is no shortage of homegrown fashion talent which was shown at MFW. Here are some of my favourites, in no particular order:
Black & White Thinking
Originating from Malta and educated in Florence, Rosemarie Abela sent down a cohesive and smart set of black & white ensembles that were both wearable and modern. The Princess Leia-esque hair buns and round glasses provided the perfect finishing touch to the looks.
Serbian designer Suzana Peric’s collection was perfect for a summer Maltese day – breezy and light, feminine and soft. The dresses looked easy to wear and moved beautifully.
The Future Is Now
Award winning emerging designer Nathan Micallef‘s micro collection was fresh and modern, with innovative thinking in the lines and juxtaposition of fabrics. One to watch.
Atone With Attitude
Local Ritienne Zammit’s collection was a love letter to Valletta and it was divine. Using the mosaic tombstone tiling and mosaic fresco ceilings of Roman Catholic cathedrals to make printed fabric, the looks were a nod to the classic 50’s lady but with a definite wink and a nudge. I wanted them all.
Established menswear brand Gagliardi showcased polished and assured Spring and Fall collections back to back. With excellent tailoring, each ensemble was a perfect blend of colours, textures, and prints. The prices are very accessible as well!
Figures that the one designer from France, Eymeric Francois, sees a woman as a femme fatale, both sexy and dangerous. Red and black were the theme colours and the fabrics of choice were lace, leather, and silk. She is not to be messed with.
Thank you to the organizers of Malta Fashion Week for including me in the festivities, and to photographer Keith Gibson for taking care of me.