Two major fashion shows are held each February and each September, the Pasarela Cibeles in Madrid and the Salón Gaudí in Barcelona. These are the shop-window for an industry which in 1995 was employing up to 180,000 personnel and producing articles worth over 1m2 pesetas, putting Spain into fifth place in Europe. The majority of the 5,500 or so businesses involved are small and medium enterprises, three quarters of them employing fewer than twenty people. Spain also regularly hosts specialist international trade fairs, such as Pielespaña, one of the most important exhibitions in the world for fashions in leather, and the Feria Internacional de Moda Infantil (FIMI, the International Exhibition of Fashions for Young People).
   The great fashion designer of all time associated with Spain is undoubtedly Balenciaga, the centenary of whose birth was celebrated in 1995. Born in Guetaria, he met with great success in Paris and was the creator of, among other things, the Dolman sleeve, and was noted for his fondness for large buttons. National Balenciaga Prizes are awarded annually, with several classes, including ones for best Spanish designer and best new entrant.
   In the 1990s the leading designers included Victorio & Lucchino of Seville, whose house regularly furnished the final display of the Madrid shows, Javier Larrainzar of Madrid, designer of dresses for the aristocracy, Roberto Verinno, Jesus del Pozo, Modesto Lomba and Luis Devota (Devota & Lomba), Lydia Delagado, Palacio y Lemoniez, Francis Montesinos (Valencia), Paco Casado, Jordi Cuesta, Manuel Piña, Adolfo Domínguez (Galicia), Pedro Morago, Angel Schlesser, Antonio Pernas and Purificación García. The fortunes of fashion houses in the 1990s were affected by a number of factors, chief among them the economic crisis, and changes in the climate. Designers have commented since 1988 that very cold springs and hot autumns have effectively reduced the seasons, and therefore the types of clothing required, from four to two. Consumer demand was further diminished by economic recession, and this resulted in noticeable changes in the fashion industry. Some houses closed down, others completely restructured their businesses, and overall there was a much greater awareness of the new realities. It was recognized that, while there was still room for the fantastic and the glamorous, commercially successful designs had to be adaptable to the retail market. As one designer was quoted as saying, "Frivolity has gone; this is a business and we can't allow ourselves to produce works of art."
   One result of this new sense of realism was the move to direct retailing of designer clothing. Among the leading fashion houses who opened shops in Spain and abroad were Javier Larrainzar, Roberto Verinno, Antonio Pernas, Angel Schlesser, Adolfo Domínguez, Manuel Piña and Mila and Tucho Balado's label A Menos Cuarto. Retail lines are usually either cheaper versions of models shown at the shows, or collections intended for immediate sale, and prices vary according to the particular design and material used. One very noticeable trend of fashions in the 1990s was the "revival" of styles from earlier decades, especially the 1960s and 1970s. The outstanding name in accessories is undoubtedly that of Loewe, famous for the design and production of leather goods. A Spanish firm in origin, it celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1996 with exhibitions in Madrid, Seville and Barcelona.
   A Dictionary of Fashion was published in 1996 to coincide with the Madrid show, written by Margarita Riviere and illustrated by the designer Antonio Miró.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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