A Mango Grows in Barcelona

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Published May 4, 2009

The dinner for Oscar de la Renta, chairman of Spanish chain Mango’s El Botón-Mango Fashion Awards in Barcelona, kicked off the Awards in a pastel Venetian-style government building. Derek Blasberg described the setting best when turned to me and whispered, “I feel like we’re inside a wedding cake.” Last year Valentino headed up the awards—and if neither he nor de la Renta are so Gaudi (gaudy?) in their classic tastes on modernism, both capture Barcelona’s Old World familial intimacy, while lending the awards a global platform. Fledgling designer Moises de la Renta dined with his father’s friends, no doubt promoting his new collection MDLR (for which New York-based DJ Lissy Trullie plays muse). Trullie couldn’t make it—neither could the rumored guest, tennis star Rafael Nadal—although we learned later that we’d missed a different Nadal.

The El Botón-Mango Fashion Award offers up-and-coming fashion designers a 300,000–Euro prize—the largest monetary fashion award in the world—and the opportunity to market their collection with the Spanish fashion chain. Co-organized with fashion schools from London, Barcelona, Paris, Milan and Antwerp, the award goes to one of ten finalists decided between the schools and a panel of judges. On Wednesday, the judges—de la Renta senior, Nina Garcia, Jerry Hall, model/actress Veronica Blume, and socialite/former model Nati Abascal, among others—strolled the posh neighborhood of Eixample looking at the ten nominees’ designs. Each designer presented display cases with a collection of ten looks along the main drag, Paseo de Gracia. At a press conference later in the day, South Korean-born Jin Youn Lee was announced winner. Congratulations to Lee, although we were also rooting for the Peter Pilotto boys, who came in a close second.

Wednesday night at the cocktail dinner, the theme was as much, Six Degrees—or perhaps Family Vacation—hosted at their corporate offices. Mango’s new campaign faces—Lezark, but also notable progeny like Gavin Rossdale’s daughter Daisy Lowe, Elvis’ granddaughter Riley Keogh, and actor son of Jeremy Irons, Max Irons—wore head-to-toe in Mango, while Beyonce’s younger sis, singer Solange Knowles, sang covers of The Cardigans and Bjork (and a few of her own). In the crowd, Penelope Cruz’s look-alike sister Mónica Cruz sported her own Mango line, a collaboration with her sister. In Spain, who needs friends when you’ve got family?