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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 4

—Franklin Melendez

Today in Sao Paulo, there was a single word on everyone's lips: Raquel. The hometown gal was to make her sole appearance, opening and closing the Animale show, a premium denim brand, and the anticipation was electric. Everywhere I turned I overheard the purr of those two syllables like some divine incantation. Rrrrah-quel. There was wild speculation over her fees, outlandish diva demands (reportedly no one could use her mirror) and even political aspirations. I swooned at the thought of an entire nation under her iron rule, and made it my sole mission to get a sound bite.

Now, what follows is a true chronicle of the misfortunes that befell your humble narrator. When we got to Animale, naturally I squeezed myself backstage, joining a cramped pen where the international press had been rounded up like a herd of famished predators. The plan was that we'd be escorted into another room and allotted a few seconds of Raquel's royal attention. But as we were lead in, the sight of a make-up artist attentively smudging kohl over Raquel's eyelid proved too much for one Bolivian editor, who cracked on the spot and bum-rushed. Logically, the rest of us followed and chaos ensued. I was trampled by photographers and we were promptly escorted out. Later on, bruised and defeated, I settled into my seat. The lights came on to illuminate her 5’11 Amazonian splendor. The crown erupted, somebody wept.


Besides Animale, the day's shows were a mixed bag. With its emphasis on denim, the Brazilian market can sometimes encroach into Real Housewives territory. Erika Ikezili had some charming pieces—balloon shorts, rompers—despite the cluttered styling. Maria Garcia offered playful cocktail attire in short flouncy proportions and Fause Haten served up some serious space-gladiator action, somewhere between Clash of the Titans and Barbarella, replete with antennae accessories.

Later that evening, I met up with photographer and fellow Hint contributor Jeremy Kost. He tried to console me by introducing me to Sao Paulo nightlife, which basically means mega-plex clubs. The multi-levels, lasers and writhing male go-go dancers, with their ripped and shirtless torsos, looked oddly familiar and I realized this could have been an episode of Queer as Folk. We were quickly ushered into the VIP lounge, brimming with young, undiscovered male models. This brought me solace, and in that instant I knew that somewhere Raquel was watching over me.

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