The ninth edition of Malta Fashion Week (MFW) is upon us, and with designers hailing from as far afield as Nigeria, Argentina, Serbia and Switzerland, it’s set to be a pretty international event. Nevertheless, Malta’s biggest annual date with fashion also features a myriad of designers waving our own flag – and here’s a rundown of who they are and what to expect from their shows!
May 22nd – Rosemarie Abela
Following her 2014 Best New Designer Award-win, Rosemarie Abela took two years off MFW before returning with a bang in 2017 with La Cupola, a collection that was inspired by Mosta’s famous dome, as well as Malta’s skylines and neo-classical design. That collection used texture and fabrics for dramatic effect – and her 2019 collection won’t stray far. This time, however, texture and fabrics will be used ‘to raise awareness about the quiet suffering of the ill’, with The Cure reportedly ‘incorporating various medical related aspects without compromising on the elegance that her clothes have become renowned for.’
May 23rd – Drew & Crew
With a 15-year career as a stylist and designer, Drew Warhurst calls Drew & Crew ‘the culmination of a lifetime spent crafting designs that speak to people’. Now, in his 2019 collection, entitled SOS (Statements of Style), Drew wants to ‘elicit femininity in all its raw power and magnetism’ through bold, sexy and seductive designs.
May 23rd – Isle & Aqua x Yana’s Jewellery
This year, swimwear designer Giulia Pandolfino and jewellery designer Yana Azzopardi are teaming up to take their collection ‘inspired by the tribal woman’ to the runway. On the one hand, Giulia of ISLE&AQUA will be focusing on ‘texture and geometric layering’, while, on the other, Yana’s Jewellery’ will ‘bring bold colour-combinations’ to the mix. The final result is set to be a complex mix of wrap beading, feathered details and body contours that bring ‘the tribal aesthetic into modern times’.
May 23rd – Maria Cutajar
This year’s collection by the Accademia Italiana- and University of Nottingham-graduate Maria Cutajar is set to bring colour to one of the Golden Age of Hollywood’s most iconic movies, Casablanca (1942). Inspired by Moroccan culture and the lines that defined 1940s fashion, her collection entitled La Couleur Invisible will start off with daywear and culminate with eveningwear.
May 25th – Gagliardi
A home-grown brand that has gone on to become one of Malta’s biggest and most beloved fashion and sartorial exports, Gagliardi’s magic lies in its mix of inspirations, which include Savile Row and the Mediterranean Sea. This year’s collection will undoubtedly follow in its successful footsteps of giving a contemporary edge to the classics.
May 25th – Fiona Couture
One of the first-ever winners of the Best Fashion Designer Awards, Fiona Couture is coming back with a collection ‘inspired by all the different facets of woman’. In it, Fiona will be using fluid materials blended with raw textured ones to create contrasts that embody all that a woman can be – ‘soft yet strong, fragile but determined and independent…’ Hand-finished, each of her creations is meant to be a celebration ‘of all those that feel woman’.
May 26th – Nilara
Currently celebrating the brand’s fifth anniversary, Nilara will be returning to the MFW catwalk with Alkebulan – Garden of Eden. The 2019 collection is being described as even bolder than the designer’s previous collections thanks to designs based on ‘an extravagant mélange of styles amalgamated with African prints’.
May 27th – Gabrielle Fenech
In her first full collection, Gabrielle uses the sixth card of the tarot deck – L-Amoreux (The Lovers) – to look at ‘the beauty of understanding and communicating unexpressed energies’. To do this visually, the collection uses luxurious fabrics that have been carefully selected.
May 27th – Parascandalo
Marco Parascandalo hasn’t left the spotlight since launching his first, highly-acclaimed full collection, SKANDLU, at MFW 2014. This year, the designer heads back to the runway with EYECONIC, which, true to past collections, uses local elements in its designs. This time, it’s the Eye of Horus’s time to shine as a motif that signifies protection, power and good health. The fashion house has also hinted at a surprise on the day of the collection – and we can’t wait to see what it is!
May 29th – Ritienne Zammit
As one of the most-attended MFW runways, there’s no doubt that many will be looking forward to Ritienne’s latest contribution: VIVA! While remaining true to her style with beautiful prints and luxurious use of fabrics, the new collection reimagines one of Malta’s most iconic events: the village festa and the religious iconography that surrounds it. Indeed, VIVA! takes the representations ‘of the life and martyrdom of these patron saints’ to create a collection that is distinctly Maltese and distinctly Ritienne.
BONUS: May 24th – JASONGRECH
While Jason Grech is indeed headed here from Australia, his roots can be easily traced back to Malta. Europe, in fact, plays a key role in his upcoming collection entitled Dancing in Portugal, which takes the traditional Azulejo tile pattern and recreates it in the 20-plus looks. Ranging from a T-shirt emblazoned with a JASONGRECH logo to a gown sporting 13,000 Swarovski crystals, the collection is also set to have a distinctive and varied colour palette that features bluegrass, metallic gold, and leather-look black, white and silver with hints of yellow, among others.
Malta Fashion Week 2019 runs from Wednesday 22nd till Wednesday 29th May. The Malta Fashion Awards 2019 will be held on Friday 31st May. To find out more, click here.