Algarve Fashion Day – Cindy Crawford or Naomi to star

Algarvean fashion designer José Pacheco has confirmed that the region’s most important fashion event, the third Algarve Fashion, will take place on Friday, April 23. The prestigious event, which will be broadcast on all three Portuguese TV channels, aims to promote Portuguese fashion designers and portray the Algarve as a stylish tourist destination. In an interview with The Resident, Pacheco revealed that the show will take place in either the Quinta do Lago or Vilamoura area. The indoor event, attended by 500 people, will be by invitation only and will feature local dignitaries. Among the stars gracing the catwalk at last year’s event were Caprice, Eva Herzigova and the Portuguese model Susana Borges.

This year José Pacheco promises “a grand party” and the presence of a supermodel of international stature, who has never appeared on the Algarve’s catwalk, at the top of the list. “I can tell you that it will be a name to rival the great football stars appearing in Euro 2004,” he says.

Aside from this ‘superstar’ – and the big ‘name’ in question is rumoured to be either Naomi Campbell or Cindy Crawford – two male supermodels, Italian Samuel Riva (the face of Boss) and the Swede Rye Rassmunsen, will also be present, as well as many top Portuguese models. The Portuguese first lady, President Jorge Sampaio’s wife – Maria José Ritta, will also attend the event.

The concept for this event will be slightly different from last year. The first segment will feature designer labels – Prada, Valentino and Gucci – available from leading fashion shops in the Algarve, followed by the spring collections from José Pacheco and Lisbon-based designer Paulo Azenha.

Speaking about his inspiration for the event, Pacheco admits that the Algarve is not usually considered as a particularly fashionable place. But he believes Portuguese people are beginning to dress more flamboyantly, although it has taken time to shake off the past: “We are a rather sad people, if you analyse it, in sociological terms. We tend to moan a lot, but things are changing. Women are becoming bolder and more seductive in the cuts of their dresses,” he comments. José thinks there are historical reasons why Portuguese styles may be seen as somewhat drab: “For 23 years Portuguese people were unable to travel. For example, nobody knew about the May 1968 revolution in Paris and the miniskirt effectively passed us by,” he explains.

Raquel Cruz, wife of TV presenter Carlos Cruz, who is currently in prison waiting to face child abuse charges, will host the spectacular. “It will probably shock many people, but it is an invitation to a friend,” José explains. “She has already accepted, but it is provisional because we don’t know how the case regarding her husband will develop,” he adds. As the region gets ready to showcase itself to the world’s beautiful people, José estimates that the event alone will cost between 100,000 and 150,000 euros to stage. The 42-year-old designer, who has been living in the Algarve for 19 years, believes that the investment is worthwhile, as the annual event helps to promote the region in a new way. “It will boost the Algarve as a major holiday destination. Of course, we don’t exist on the map compared to French designers, but the Algarve may profit from it,” he explains. Perhaps most importantly, Pacheco has the backing of the Hotel Quinta do Lago, the Regional Tourist Board and some leading designer labels, all of whom recognise that Algarve Fashion is slowly becoming an increasingly important event for the region, offering a credible alternative to its sun, sea and golf image.