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Untitled Document
Ibiza fashion
Fashion designer Gisela G
Jose Manuel Pego from Zarabanda dedicating his 2004 childrens collection to our reporter Wiltrud Schwetje

The historic mill at Punta des Molí in Sant Antoni and the mola on Formentera were the two backdrops for Moda Adlib’s big anniversary show of 2004 - the year of their thirtieth anniversary. This year twenty-one fashion designers exhibited their collections for Ibiza. The audience included local politicians, Spanish actors and other television greats. IbizaNOW was also there with our fashion expert Wiltrud (Vivi) Schwetje, who was honoured for her fashion work for IbizaNOW and IbizaHOY by José Manuel Pego of Zarabanda - who dedicated his adorable children’s collection to her.

A number of fashion designers remain true to the traditional Moda Adlib style; they use light natural fabrics that cling to the body and ‘accidentally’ show more than they hide. The colour white is well represented; points, applications, needlepoint, knitted sections and flounces are also favourite details. All the same the audiences weren’t only treated to typical Adlib creations. This was because the Island Council had invited some new designers into the Adlib group and some other well known Adlib designers were missing this year.
The fashion marathon in Sant Antoní’s bay started 45 minutes late and the show lasted about two hours. While the organisers were frantically making final adjustments back stage, the audience whiled away the time watching the wonderful sunset over the sea. Then Island Council president Pere Palau, Councillor for Industry from Palma, José Juan Cardona and the Sant Antoní mayor, José Sala, greeted the audience and participants. “The Adlib idea has survived, the Ibicencan creations, as they always have, represent peace and freedom,” emphasised Palau. At the same time, he reminded us of the people who helped to make Adlib what it is today, like Smilja Mihailovic, who passed away in 1984. Until her death she was the patron of Moda Adlib and provided the yearly happening with the glamour that it still thrives upon today.
Ibiza’s fashion during Smilja’s time, was like the island on which it was designed. It caught the wind and light, it smelled of the sea, mirrored the beaming white of the farmhouses. Adlib – ad libitum – as one wishes – it represented fashion full of life feeling and harmony. The designers’ creations were a synthesis of traditional Mediterranean styles and the mad hippy look. Adlib also took inspiration from the traditional Ibicencan garb and the materials used at the time: Light natural fabrics, usually in white or black, laced borders, needlepoint, points and flounces. The Adlib clothing of the time was designed and made strictly on the island.
The fashion show in 2004 in the bay of Sant Antoní, according to Pere Palau in his welcoming remarks, was a homage to the roots of Adlib, but it also showed that over time Adlib has also grown and changed. The styles seen on the catwalk reflect that change – 1974 was comfortable, romantic, playful, discreetly see-through and seductive. 2004 Ibiza was elegant, daring and decidedly sexy, a wide range of materials were used and the whole of the colour spectrum was represented.
Not everything presented spoke to the traditional Adlib philosophy. Not all of the pieces were sewn by local seamstresses. This fact already created some uproar among the ‘old-timers’ before the show. “If it wants to be called Adlib then it should be typical Adlib and it should be produced on the island,” was how several fashion designers summed it up. Due to this debate about principles and other irregularities in the organisation a number of the designers, who are actually important parts of the Adlib team, were missing for the 30th birthday bash. Designers like Melania Piris, Luis Ferrer, Gloria Bendita, Charo Ruiz and Perlotti&Giannini. Each had their own reasons for declining the invitation, either a lack of time or the feeling that it was not well handled.
Those taking part only had good words for the event afterwards. Here just a few points of criticism:
. The large number of participants diluted the concept of Adlib;
. Participants were first officially notified merely nine days before the show. Thus some designers – due to lack of time or enthusiasm – showed pieces that were not specifically created for the show or are already on the market;
. The Island Council did not inform the designers that a catalogue was being printed for the special occasion. Consequently they used some photo material that had been collecting dust for up to three years in the Council’s files. The question posed by the designers: “Why on earth print a catalogue showing fashion that is already long passé?”
. A fashion designer cancelled both of her fashion labels, Charo Ruiz and Moleke, (it was even announced in the catalogue) as she discovered at the last moment that a former employee of hers would be presenting at the show for the first time with fashions that appear to have remarkable similarities to her original designs. Proper monitoring, as is normal with shows on the mainland, was missing;
. The organisers neglected to invite important clients, among them the Corte Inglés chain store, who last year provided up to 50 percent of business for many designers on the island.
Those responsible on the Island Council had some great insights afterwards. They did admit that the criteria for selection this year might have been less than optimal. There simply wasn’t enough time. However, money was not an issue for 2004. The show’s budget was about 300.000 euro.
But back to the historic mill in Sant Antoní. The fashion students at Escuela de Arte y Oficios, the fashion school, were the first to be allowed to present their designs on the catwalk. They had no complaints about the organisation. The ‘young wild ones’ were just happy to have the chance to present their ideas to a large audience. As last year, they surprised everyone with unusual creations.
Their motto: Bring across a touch of youth, break conventions, experiment. During their appearance a little feeling of ‘cheeky, fresh and free’ mixed in with the warm breeze coming off the sea. One noticed that the prospective designers had a lot of fun doing what they do. They were working weeks before the show on their creations with their instructor, Maria Ferrer, to prepare for their big moment.
Starting with the idea, moving to the designs and on to a finished product, each develop their own personal style. Creativity, of course, has no borders. The fashion students were only allowed to participate on Ibiza, Formentera remained closed to them, but that did not seem to bother them in the least, nor did the stress of the backstage area before the show. What does it matter which model is wearing which design just before they go down the catwalk? The main thing is being there. “Opportunities must be taken advantage of,” summed up instructor Maria Ferrer.
Ultimately, the audience of the Adlib show 2004 were a bit exhausted by the lengthy show, but it was certainly colourful and amusing. For many it was less about the fashion and more about seeing and being seen. But the creations on display here are worth more than just a glance. These were designs that produce excitement, with fresh-cheeky or romantic-playful ideas. We will present them next issue in the big fashion series in IbizaNOW.

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