The Fashion Shows of Ibiza
By Esther Nicklin
Over 40 years ago Ibiza was discovered by travellers on the old ‘hippie trail’ between Asia and Europe. Many of those seekers of peace, love and freedom settled on the island and these free-thinking people had a unique sense of style and fashion. They brought with them an ethos of ‘what happens on Ibiza stays on Ibiza’, and with regard to fashion that meant always having the freedom to wear whatever felt right at the moment. The wheels of commercial fashion began turning when these hippies started mixing their sense of freedom with the island’s traditional costumes. Ibiza began to develop its very own style. Dancers wore microscopic outfits, and designers sold their creations on the Calle de la Virgen to the passing rich and famous from around the world. The paparazzi captured this alluring and sexy way of dressing and the Ibiza look spread far and wide... but nowhere was it done quite so beautifully as here.
In the early 70’s the originators of Adlib (from the Latin adlibitum meaning freedom) sought to create light, flowing, feminine shapes that highlighted and made the most of women’s bodies. Traditional Spanish clothes like espadrilles, frocks, straw hats and shawls were mixed with styles and accessories from all over the world. This has evolved into a fantastic annual event where Adlib provides a showcase for the designers of Ibiza. This year it will be held on 18 - 20 May, with the exhibitors continuing to find new ways to express Ibiza’s free spirited sense of fashion.
Beatrice, of BSF Fashion, tells us, “Adlib is very important for Ibiza because it’s a good platform for the designers of the island to show their talents. It’s also a great way for their collections to be shown to people outside of Ibiza, as Adlib has become quite famous worldwide. For us at BSF it was a big step when we were able to show in Adlib starting in 2005, and since then we have been in it every year. The show has evolved greatly over the last years with more designers participating and many different styles. It’s not just traditional white and cotton... it has everything with lots of colours, materials and styles.”
Another name that has become synonymous with Ibiza fashion is Rachel Parsons, the woman behind the annual Atzaró Fashion Festival. Since 2010 her sizzling summer shows have showcased the international designer element that has helped Ibiza to secure its A-list status in the fashion world. This year’s show on 18 July is no exception, and promises to be even more avant garde than ever. “Our aim is to support both local and international talent. At Atzaró we like to be innovative and bring in high fashion designers like Browns and Religion,” says Rachel. In addition to the European headliners, Atzaró has featured Ibiza designers like Charo Ruiz, World Family Ibiza, Beatrice San Francisco, Aguamarine, Gisela G., Felt by Natalie, Victoria by Galeria Elefante and Podenco. They also host Urban In Ibiza in August, which will be bigger and bolder than ever – fusing art and fashion with a feisty urban edge.
So what makes Ibiza fashion so special? “The weather is one main factor, but perhaps most important is that we can be as flamboyant as we like here,” says Rachel. “Freedom of expression in Ibiza means you can be anything you want to be, and Ibiza fashion seems to be growing. Local designers like Charo Ruiz and Beatrice are doing incredibly well internationally, proving that you no longer need to come from London to be a successful designer.”
Ibiza is one of the places that attracts more than its fair share of stunningly good looking people, and a hip beach like Salinas will always be decorated with an incredible array of sizzling bodies. This reflects a fashion world that has become obsessed with physical image – particularly when it comes to swimwear. Bucking this trend is the new Boho look that women of all sizes can wear and look good in. This is the essence of the Ibiza Fashion Festival on 9 - 11 June. It is all about creating positive role models... and sending them down the catwalk. This show is not only a celebration of our natural beauty – no matter what size we are – but it is also dedicated to the promotion and support of ethical and sustainable fashion. The show is only in its second year but it is already creating quite a buzz. Organiser Karen Windle is passionate about representing real women, and she has taken the event to the Hotel Es Vive where her models will be walking at the rooftop bar. There will be fabulous music throughout the show which will feature hip labels such as Caroline Azzi, Faith, Jacksons fashions, Fashionsistas and Nit Ibiza.
“We like to encourage young women to understand that they don’t need to spend a fortune in order to look good. With a bit of clever recycling you can look totally unique,” says Karen. “I’ve always loved the freedom of Ibiza fashion, and the feeling that you can wear what you dare. Boho is a look for everyone, regardless of age, race or size, and Ibiza does Boho brilliantly. I really wanted to capture the elusive Ibiza look that many have tried to pin down, combining fashion from the island with designs from afar to create that unique Ibiza flavour.”
Ibiza certainly does have a unique flavour, and the work of its designers can be seen in shows that pop up all during the season. In addition to the big three fashion shows mentioned above, there are regular smaller exhibitions at venues like Blue Marlin, KM5 and many others. It makes Ibiza the perfect place to get some inspiration for your wardrobe... and to express yourself... as freely as you dare.