Spain’s capital city is also its cultural heart and fashion is an artistic expression that Madrid locals follow assiduously, the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid (formerly known as the Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week) takes place twice yearly and places Madrid on the map of the premier fashion capitals of the world.
Spaced 6 months apart, the winter and summer editions of Madrid Fashion Week are generally scheduled to take place after the Paris, London and New York Fashion Weeks. In addition to the official programme a number of parallel events are held around Madrid in different locations for the duration of the week.
From humble beginnings to consolidation as Spain’s premier fashion showcase
Founded originally in 1985 the first edition of the Cibeles Fashion Week was held in a simple tent located in the Plaza de Colón, when six designers presented their collections within an event that was meant to emulate the Paris Fashion week that was first inaugurated in 1973. The phenomena of the fashion weeks was an assertion of how the fashion world had changed since the 1940s with the introduction of prêt-a-porter, before which couture was the preserve of the very rich.
The following year the event was held at the Railway Museum (Museo de Ferrocarril) at the Estación de Delicias, an abandoned historic railway station situated adjacent to the Atocha railway station (today the AVE station). Included in Fashion Week of that year were some of the most outstanding Spanish designers of the 1980s, many of whom are considered icons of Spanish fashion today, figures such as Sybilla, Jesús del Pozo and Roberto Verino. Later the event moved to Casa del Campo and during the mid 90s was held at the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones at the heart of Madrid’s financial district.
Nowadays the Madrid Fashion Week is held at IFEMA, Institución Ferial de Madrid, the congress centre where all the country’s most prestigious fairs and events are held. Conveniently located in the Barajas neighbourhood between the city’s airport and the centre.
Madrid, the creative capital of Spain
The first years of Cibeles were set against the backdrop of ‘La Movida Madrileña’, an intensive period of creativity in the arts that coincided with the transition to democracy after Franco’s demise in 1975 and lasted into the mid 1980s. An effervescent movement that marked the emergence of Almodóvar in cinema, punk musicians Alaska and Radio Futura as well as other expressions in graphics, magazines, literature, art etc.. La Movida captured the spirit of freedom and experimentation that marked a new era in contemporary Spain and spread to other regional cities during of the 80s.
Madrid Fashion Week Today
Some of the designers launched through the Madrid Fashion Week during subsequent editions include Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, Andrés Sardá, Ion Fiz, David Delphín, Ana Locking, Roberto Torretta and Maya Hansen. Labels that today define the country’s fashion scene.
With every new edition of MBFWM great expectation is generated regarding the catwalk shows, coverage of which makes the national press and the TV evening news programmes. There are more than 42 collections presented with more than 50,000 attending the last edition for which statistics are available and 1,300 press accreditations, 90 of which are from foreign media. Every year an invited designer from abroad is also included within the programme.
EGO, a fashion design platform for youth & creativity
Since 2006 an initiative known as EGO has provided a platform for the launch of young emerging fashion designers, organised by IFEMA and held twice a year at the same time as the Madrid Fashion Week. The concept is to provide practical help translating creative talent into commercial sales, and during the event the clothes are on sale to the general public at the EGO Showroom. The Samsung Ego Innovation Project Award recognises outstanding achievement each edition.
The next Madrid Fashion Week takes place between the July 6th and 11th the programme of catwalk shows and participation will be available on line at the website: http://mbfwmadrid.ifema.es/en/home-ingles/
The Hotel Único Madrid and The Principal Madrid Hotel provide the ideal base for visiting MBFWM, both hotels are located in the city centre close to public transportation and offer excellent and varied culinary options. At The Principal Madrid Ramón Freixa assesses the cuisine at the Ático Restaurant and La Terraza is probably the city’s most fashionable rooftop terrace. While Ramón Freixa Madrid is a 2 Michelin Star restaurant located in the beautiful garden enclave of Hotel Único Madrid.
The Principal Madrid is located at the foot of Gran Vía, the city’s premier avenue while Único Madrid is to be found in the Salamanca neighbourhood, a salubrious area where all the top fashion brands are on its doorstep, including the iconic Loewe flagship store (C/ Serrano 34).
See Our Madrid for tips regarding shopping, culture, wellbeing and other activities going on in the capital.
IFEMA is accessible via a number of public transportation options. By bus: Lines 112 (Glorieta del Mar de Cristal - Barrio del Aeropuerto), 122 (Avenida de América - Campo de las Naciones) and 828 (Universidad Autónoma - Alcobendas - Canillejas - Campo de las Naciones)
By Metro: The nearest metro station to IFEMA is Line 8, the station to get off at is Estación de Feria de Madrid.