Brazilian fashion is much more than an excuse to idolize Gisele, refine microscopic swimwear or replenish Madonna’s cougar fodder—though the former two are juggernaut industries in their own right and revered nationally to the point of religious fervor. As the summer 09/10 season of Sao Paolo Fashion Week kicks off, it's clear that the country that elevated the G-string to a science has moved on to new territory, along the way transforming the cosmopolitan city into an international fashion destination. Colette, for example, is lending its seal of approval by feting SPFW with a pop-up shop. Colette Loves SPFW is a Parisian valentine to our tropical hosts, stocked chock-full of specially designed goodies by the likes of Genevieve Gaucklet, Fafi, Ima Galeria and Brazilian fashion rag MAG!
Of course, there are the shows, lots of them. Today, opening day, the highlight had to be Colcci, for two reasons. One, Miss Bunchen stalked the runway in her sole catwalk appearance. And two, so did the aforementioned boy-toy, Jesus Luz. I'm told by a Columbian reporter that last year he almost stole the leggy one's spotlight by causing the type of pandemonium usually reserved for student riots or the premiere of a telenovela. This season he caused less of a problem on the runway, and all eyes were rightfully on the clothes. A superstar in Brazil, Colcci presented a frothy assortment of flesh-tone patchwork baby dolls and pastel sportswear with a slightly marooned-at-sea feel. Colcci
But this wouldn’t be a proper fashion week without a kick-off bash. In this case, it was a celebration for Bethy Lagardère (seen here posing with a Gaultier gown designed for her in Brazil’s national colors for the 1998 Soccer World Cup), whose massive personal collection of couture was previewed in anticipation of an upcoming exhibition. Resembling a cross between Deeda Blair and Bianca Jagger, with a dash of Della Reese, Lagardère is also being honored with the documentary Bounjour Madame, which traces her adventures in life and love—and couture, including Alaïa, Ungaro and Dior, to name just a few. Guests, admirers, designer and loads of Brazilian celebrities packed into the top floor of the luxe retail palace Iguatemi. (I note with approval that, south of the equator, anything elastic and neon-hued counts as black-tie attire.) Also on hand were Anne Valerie Hash, of whom Lagardère has been a longtime patron, and Alexis Mabille, who looked surprisingly relaxed, even though his upcoming Paris menswear debut is only a week away.
Naturally, once you provide unlimited champagne to a roomful of jet-lagged, tropically dazed editors and members of the press, conversation inevitably turns to one subject: Jesus. Yes, the most favored pet of her Madgeness manages to turn world-weary editors into a pack of giggling schoolgirls—I can't even exempt myself. Topics ranged from backstage sightings to height disputes (“He has magnificent blue eyes,” purred one editor, “but he’s a tiny little man!”). Consensus is that despite his youthful missteps (best to avoid tattoos of one’s own name), we'd be willing to forgive and forget.
Labels: Bethy Lagardère, Colcci, Franklin Melendez, Jesus Luz, Sao Paulo Fashion Week