LISBON’S BAIXA Chiado became a catwalk recently where locals and tourists alike got an unexpected taste of the highlife.
Pedestrians strolling up and down Rua Garrett were confronted with a long catwalk stretching to the very entrance of the mall dominated by a plethora of leggy haute couture beauties showing off what’s in for autumn-winter 2005/6, reports Chris Graeme.
Chiado Sound Fashion, organised by the Armazéns do Chiado shopping mall, had three reasons for holding the event: to promote local fashion, to promote the overall area and the mall, and to provide an entertaining backdrop of light, music and colour.
The music was live, electronic and progressive, and culminated in a jam session with a fabulously glamorous silver sequinned DJ. The result was an open-air interactive feast of sound and vision, with many Portuguese fashion celebrities on hand to soak up the atmosphere with the general public. Big names in the world of Lisbon modelling were naturally there to show off the clothes, including the English born and bred blond model Fiona, who is frequently seen on TV and in magazines. Event organiser, Raquel Cordeiro, explained: “People have this image of the Chiado as being historic and Victorian, which it is, but we wanted to emphasise that today, as then, Chiado is, and has always been, at the centre of what is cultured, fashionable and chic in Lisbon, and is capable of attracting a diverse and cosmopolitan section of society, whether locals or visitors.”
This is something that Lisbon Câmara has been at pains to have recognised and established, following the devastating 1988 fire that swept through the shopping centre. The Câmara’s current modernisation and restoration programme, which has renovated the main buildings and churches in Baixa Chiado, is part of that ongoing programme.
The Armazéns do Chiado centre, fully restored in 1997, was voted the Best New Shopping Centre in 2000 by the International Council of Shopping Centres in Berlin.