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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 3

—Franklin Melendez

Today we devised a helpful little game, assigning Brazilian designers with an American equivalent. We put the system to the test at the first show, Reinaldo Lourenço, who we estimated was the Brazilian Narciso Rodriguez. Which didn't come without a heated dispute, so take it with a grain of salt. Staged at the picturesque FAAP art school, the collection used a Edwardian jacket as its premise, gathered in the back and cleverly elaborated in an array of colors and tailoring options—short, long, cropped, etc. The gathering motif also provided some inventive cocktail dresses in fabrics that look a bit like raffia, evoking Junya Watanabe's adventures in Africa. While exiting, we stumbled onto the art students and immediately started “street casting,” which has become the code name for blatantly leering at the local goods—and there are plenty.

Reinaldo Lourenço

Next up, Simone Nunes was more easily agreed upon as the Brazilian Karen Walker, replete with 60's shift dresses and quirky eyewear. The music was also right on target, though the construction was questionable at times and the styling a bit cluttered (Tim Gunn would definitely not approve), but overall girly and charming.

But the day’s real treat was Agua de Coco, my first swimwear show. It was a major production, with elaborate staging that looked like a public art commission or the backdrop for Olympic opening ceremonies. Clearly the beach is serious business for Brazilians, treated with the care and reverence usually reserved for award show red carpets. The offerings lived up to expectations, and can best be described as evening swimwear—imagine a few strategic strips of an Oscar dress paired with bikini bottoms. The audacity is pure genius, despite doubts about underwater functionality. Highlights included some amazing pleated tops, perfect for lounging poolside or reclining on a rapper's yacht. And though it's been noted a million times, it's worth saying again: those bodies! Mathematical perfection. And for that, there is simply no American equivalent.

Agua de Coco

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