Globetrotting is one of designer Carlota Barrera’s biggest inspirations. From her visits to Cuba came “Asere, qué bolá,” a collection full of references to the Caribbean country. The fabrics were natural: cotton, linen or lyocell combined with silk or cotton in fresh, light styles. As for the color scheme, Barrera opted for blue, yellow and green, as well as white and brown, all of them ubiquitous in Cuban culture. Her shirts had echoes of the versatile guayabera. Tank tops were reformulated in the form of trompe l’oeil shirts.
One of the stars of Barrera’s spring was an abstract print she created with seaweed she’d plucked from the sea. She based her work on cyanotype, a monochrome negative printing process marked by its blue and white tones, and mentioned the botanist Anna Atkins, who made this kind of imprint for the first time in the mid-19th century. In addition to the tones inherent to the technique, Barrera transferred the pattern to a photographic serigraphy, “which we also applied to other black and white garments,” such as the coats and denim pieces she presented at London Fashion Week, she said. But Seaweed was not the only thing she found in the ocean. “We scanned other elements that sadly are also there, such as bits of plastic, bottle caps, beer can pull rings and plastic bags,” she said. These things were also part of the print, and they talk about Cuba from a different point of view: “There are many beaches in Cuba that are being destroyed by pollution. It is about capturing all that in a fabric,” she said.