The first Noovo International Fashion and Photography Festival ( took place 1st - 4th November. The event drew a fashionable in-crowd of designers, retailers, photographers and editors, who enjoyed a long weekend in Spain’s Santiago de Compostola, the worlds third most popular pilgrimage city after Rome and Jerusalem.

In the midst of this enchanting world heritage site innovators in the fields of fashion and photography assembled to unveil the latest inductee into the international circuit of cultural festivals. Enlisting the visceral force of Santiago de Compostela’s ancient surroundings, Noovo Festival presented the work of ground-breaking creators from both Spain and abroad.

During the four-day festival, 30 national and international up-coming fashion designers took to the runways on a specially erected stage overlooked by the baroque opulence of the Santiago Cathedral. This new fashion generation was led by international designers such as Petar Petrov, Gareth Pugh, Boudicca, Eley Kishimoto, Patrik Soderstam, Three as Four, Mikio Sakabe, Romain Kremer and Peter Pilotto. Scandic designer Henrik Vibskov replicated the fabulous fashion performance of his menswear show for Spring Summer 2008, as previously shown in Paris last July.

Among the invited Spanish designers were: Zazo & Brull (great cross dressing & sexy over-the-knee garters); Jan iú Mès (featuring triple darts on men’s blazers & pants); Txell Mirás (with low crotch pants for girls); Luxoir (with a knit body suit for men!) and SinPatrón (bright jerseys). Among the Galician designers were José Castro (fantastic women’s denim and ready-to wear mix, as featured in SI’s issue 217, in The Look); Lorena Rodríguez (cool woolen one-shoulder overall); Gloria Rodríguez-Figueroa (governess dresses); Cristóbal Vidal (showing men in skirts); and Inpe piel (fur & leather coats).

Up for the “Loida” Best New Designer Prize were Spanish fashion students Manuel Bolano, Esther Lebrato, Paz Villar, Carmen Nunez and Panic. An international jury – including L’Eclaireur owners Martine and Armand Hadid from Paris – awarded Paz Villar with the first prize (worth USD$9000 or 6000 Euros) and Manuel Bolano with the second prize (worth USD4500 or 3000 Euros).

Meanwhile, at the headquarters of the Caixa Galicia Foundation, photography from masters and newcomers alike was on display. Among those featured were internationals such as Wing Shya (beautiful Asian-mood photos), Seb Janiak, Pierre Gonnard, Dino Dinco, Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek, Michael James O'Brien and Miguel Villalobos.

Native Spanish photographers included Ana Laura Álaez, Eugenio Recuenco (great fashion photographers) and Daniel Riera, as well as local Galician photographers such as Fran Herbello (avant-garde body-fashion-art), Ruben Ramos, Andrea Costas and Galería C5 Santiago de Compostela.

Noovo-co-curator Diane Pernet presented “You Wear It Well”, the 2nd edition of short films from around the world which explore themes of fashion, beauty and style, including 30 works from some of the best artists of the moment. Among the international filmmakers, artists, photographers and designers whose short films were shown were works by Nick Knight, Osklen, Wing Shya, Maison Martin Margiela and Erwin Olaf. This 2nd most inspiring edition was launched at LA Fashion Week in October and will be presented in the upcoming months at various festivals. It’s definitely worth checking out!

Noovo-directors Charo González and Jorge Margolles believe that the dual passions of fashion and photography constitute a valuable cultural barometer far beyond the realm of mere enterprise. Since talent knows no boundaries today, global creativity can be transported locally and local voices can be disseminated out to the wider world. Noovo Festival shall be held annually at the timeless Santiago de Compostela, Galicia’s capital of culture. González and Margolles fell in love with the city seven years ago and moved to Santiago, launched the web magazine Noovo and created the festival with the help of the Galician department of Industry and Innovation.

By Michaeal Schmidinger | SI’s fashion features editor