Dancing in the Streets: Tisci & Co. Whoop it Up at Carnaval
It was the week of Carnaval, but one could have sworn it was the continuation of fashion month in Rio. Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci and his Brazilian muse, Lea T; worldwide Valentino ambassador Carlos Souza; and top models Daiane Conterato and Ana Claudia Michels all gathered with the local beautiful people to watch the Samba Schools of Rio parade in the private viewing area hosted by Diogenes Queiroz and Churrascaria Porcão. The top schools head down the avenue known as the Sambadrome, a 700-meter-long parade area designed by Oscar Niemeyer (built in 1984), surrounded by bleachers on both sides.The Portela eagle soaring over the Sambadrome; TV presenter Sabrina Sato for Vila Isabel.
Like Mardi Gras, Carnaval takes place forty days before Easter and marks the start of Lent, and on the weekend before Ash Wednesday, the Samba Schools of the Special Group parade for ninety minutes in a majestic larger-than-life show, revealing to the world a majestic, explosive show of color, music, and dance, showing the results of a year’s worth of hard work and passion from Rio’s most underprivileged communities.
Tisci, practically a Rio local at this point, told me he was awestruck by the Portela School, which featured the most audacious technological artifact—a drone garbed as an eagle. To Souza, runner-up Salgueiro was the best school: The traditional red-and-white-clad participants celebrated the origin of the universe. Meanwhile, his son Sean and I couldn’t take our eyes off União da Ilha. The toy-themed parade with a catchy tune took us back to our childhoods and featured two fearless former Cirque du Soleil dancers practically floating in the air. The costumes were brilliant: Lego and puzzle pieces interacted with fairy-tale-themed floats and vintage eighties toys. Men and women danced frantically, dressed in Rubik’s Cube costumes, while a dozen Cinderellas twirled above a giant carriage. The fact that I am six months pregnant, causing my sixth sense to hone in on anything child-related, made União da Ilha a natural favorite!
Photos: Courtesy of Paula Bezerra de Mello; @riccardotisci17