Miguel Vieira Spring 2017

 Miguel_Vieira_Spring_2017Portuguese designer Miguel Vieira’s inspiration for his spring 2017 collection—his debut collection presented in the city—was “Out of Africa.” Vieira’s spring clothes are fresh, even if the influence of the African continent on the collection seems rather reductionist in that Africa is, yet again, synonymous with “tribal” prints and safaris.

The tiresomeness of this colonial perspective aside—probably more the fault of the 1985 film, Out of Africa, than that of the designer—Vieira’s take on Safari chic is far from hackneyed. Painted in a neutral palette of exclusively black and white, laced with a soupçon of tan and a solitary splash of navy, the collection treated its stimulus with an air of sophistication.

Collages876The safari suit impetus, for instance, is extrapolated into chic matching separates such as a long-sleeved cropped jacket, fastened at the waist with a slim black belt, over peg leg trousers. This suit was sewn out of fabric directly evocative of Malian Bologanfini (mud-cloth) and the same print gives life to a pair of delightfully playful flounced dresses.

Vieira took the idea of tribal lines to a psychedelic level in black-on-shimmering-tan kaleidoscope print dresses and separates that are hypnotic in their simplicity. In a deft move that saved the collection from flatness, the designer deepened the linear motif with sequined stripes and abstract patterns.  The result was an interesting texturizing of dresses that might otherwise have been a milquetoast effort.

Collages877Linearity was even present in the romantic ribbed lace dresses and blouses sprinkled refreshingly in-between the solid ensembles. The most remarkable of these Chloë-esque looks was the diaphanous plunging V-neck dress that closed out the show. Its opaque scalloped double peplum provides an intriguing contrast to the sheer striation of the body of the frock.

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Images courtesy of Dan Corina Lecca/Mao PR

Speaking of contrast, diametrically opposed to the grace of much of the collection was the addition of thick safari-jacket belts to peak-lapelled men’s blazers, an element that felt forced and too literal all at once. Contrivances though those jackets may have seemed, the entirety of Vieira’s spring 2017 collection boasts a calculated ease that is not easy to manufacture or to master:  the effortless polish of these clothes is undeniable.

—Natasha Nyanin

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