5 posts tagged "Fashion Rio"
The New York shows are a relatively staid affair when it comes to staging. The most dramatic location comes courtesy of the Lexington Avenue Armory, where Marc Jacobs (with the aid of Stefan Beckman) puts on the week’s show to beat. Paris fares better, with elaborate stage sets in rundown theaters and frigid warehouses and of course the many palais. But when it comes to breathtaking settings, the off-site shows at Fashion Rio have a leg up on the rest of the world. Mass-market brand Redley kicked off the excitement, having a parade of editors make a style pilgrimage up the side of a massive hill and deep into the jungle. The somber collection was set off by dappled sunlight through the treetops and a manmade haze courtesy of smoke machines creating the kind of magical moment of which designers dream. Another standout came courtesy of the label Printing, which set its show in the Centro Cultural da Ação da Cidadania. The cavernous brick-walled space provided a more glamorous impact for the jewel-toned, embellished collection than a typical runway venue. In most cities, either space is at a premium or nature isn’t terribly abundant or accessible, but in Rio the best of both worlds collide, and for a few hundred lucky fashion folk, they’ve got a front-row seat.
São Paulo might be Brazil’s main fashion hub, but Rio has carved out a reputation as an incubator for emerging talent. Fashion Rio saw the debut of two labels with a sophisticated vision that runs counter to the stereotype of colorful, print-heavy Carioca style. Koolture’s heavy-metal- inspired evening gowns brought an unexpected edge to the idea of event dressing, and designer Daniela Conolly said she was inspired by “strong and creative personalities like Marie Antoinette, Madonna, and Stevie Nicks”—a fantastic group of gals if we’ve ever heard of one. (That’s a Koolture look, pictured at left.) Meanwhile, Filhas de Gaia’s collection was new wave meets New Look, sending out a series of elaborately worked minidresses with vintage Versace-esque appeal worn with flawless peroxide blond hair that deserves a special shout-out of its own. These two young talents show the same kind of promise that Alexandre Herchcovitch did many seasons ago. And their clothes are certainly something that international buyers should consider when seeking designers with something special to say that can draw customers back into stores.
Cantao, designed by couple Leila and Peter Simon, is one of Brazil’s most successful megabrands. Season after season the Simons churn out trend-conscious but wearable clothes that embody the best of a carioca sensibility in eye-catching prints and relaxed silhouettes—usually on bright-eyed, smiling models. Yesterday’s Fall 2009 show at Fashion Rio contained the kind of clothes that will make high-street brands like H&M and Topshop reach for their sketchpads. They sent out unique takes on a checklist of current trends such as dyed denim overalls, drop-crotch trousers, fringed sweaters, and drape-y cotton blouses. There was nothing terribly fashion-forward about the clothing on offer, but the standing ovation at the show’s close demonstrated the undeniably huge appeal of the youthful and feminine fare. It’s the kind of object lesson to which Cantao’s designer counterparts across the world might want to pay attention: the best retail recipe in an economically compromised time is to make clothes that women can’t help but want to wear—and leave the comfort of their seats to applaud.
Brazilian models are the country’s most popular fashion export, and, aside from Gisele, who is probably busy basking in post-engagement bliss, many of the best-known names are in full glamorous effect on the runways here at Fashion Rio. Familiar faces Isabeli Fontana, Viviane Orth, Bruna Tenorio, and a bleached-blonde Ana Claudia Michels (in comeback mode after walking last season at Givenchy) all walked for Rio grande dame Mara Mac’s show. But the real news on this catwalker-dotted landscape is fresh face Carolina Thaler, who has been everywhere this week. If model scouts have any sense, she should be promptly shipped off to New York for castings next month—she’s guaranteed to be the next big Brazilian thing.
Though the debate in the fashion world about the negative impact of copycats continues unabated, taking direct “inspiration” from another creator isn’t necessarily always held against a designer. The latter was the case at Fashion Rio (which is underway this week in Rio de Janeiro) for Coven, a knitwear-heavy label with a fiercely modern but street-friendly aesthetic. The first looks out of the gate—futuristic, body-con separates—owed an obvious debt to Nicolas Ghesquière. A group of Hervé Léger-esque bandage dresses were interspersed with a flurry of fluffy, crystal-encrusted sweaters (like the one pictured here), which seemed to pay homage to Sonia Rykiel. It might sound like an overload of references, but the reality was that Coven designer Liliane Rebehy Queiroz managed to own most of the ideas and inject them into her particular stylistic vocabulary. In emerging fashion markets, a common criticism can sometimes center on a lack of original creativity, but in the case of Coven, it doesn’t apply. Rebehy Queiroz is just finding a way to synthesize the influences that surround her into something unique, which, in my opinion, is a perfectly valid creative approach in contemporary times.