lisbon fashion week 2015

One moment you’re a mermaid, curtained by cascades of green hair and bathed in golden light. The next you’re sitting cross-legged on a chair, munching on an apple and scrolling listlessly through Instagram, the sound of rain on the roof drowned out by a cacophony of hairdryers and scurrying feet.

Such is the life of a model.

As an observer backstage at any fashion week you get the sense that the glamour is a performance. The models are blessed with tangles of long limbs and woke-up-like-this hair. But in between the mad dashes of outfit changes and makeup chair sittings are hours of waiting filled with selfies and cigarettes.

It’s spring here on the runways of ModaLisboa – the three-day fashion festival that unfurls within the Portuguese capital twice a year – but outside autumn has drifted in on a cloud of roasted chestnut smoke. Between shows and showers of rain guests sip coffee at an outdoor kiosk, mingle or mill about with phones to their ears. The models ride skateboards or venture through the streets, hair pinned and papered, in search of detox smoothies from a juice bar. You don’t need much to pass the time in a city like this one.

Like the city, ModaLisboa is warm and welcoming yet cool and creative. There’s diversity in the designs, in the models who wear them and in the guests who come to see and be seen. And owing to the nation’s history of exploration and expanding horizons, there’s something very fitting in that.

Words and photos by Tania Braukamper

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