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Friday, June 19, 2009

Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 2

—Franklin Melendez

So I've already made travel-besties here in Sao Paulo; it's with one of the editors of Japanese Vogue and L'Uomo Vogue Japan, who's neither Japanese nor based in Tokyo. Like all good besties, we're instant bad influences on each another and devise numerous escape plans for the beach and/or shopping. We settle for giggling in the corner and picking out Brazilian boyfriends, concocting schemes to photograph them under false pretenses. Right now she's coordinating a shoot with Mario in Rio, attacking her Blackberry with intrepid abandon.

A few things to note about Sao Paolo Fashion Week that New York could learn from. One, they are very organized and take into account travel from different venues so that one is unlikely to miss a show because one couldn't hail a cab in Hell's Kitchen or was trampled by the editors of Teen Vogue. Two, the organizers are actually nice to the press. They let us in, tuck us into our seats and even consider some of our more outlandish requests, like interviews or backstage access. And three, they hold the main events in a centralized location, not scattered across the city like a scavenger hunt. The overall effect is not unlike a vision of Christmas Yet To Come for the New York schedule when it relocates to Lincoln Center.

As for the shows, there were some lovely offerings from Maria Bonita, who whipped up an ode to the countryside by utilizing mantas (checked napkins) and checked market bags as the point of departure. The whimsical theme was spun into sophisticated geometric shift dresses, à la Maria Cornejo. There was a clean yet historically rich ethos reminiscent of early Herchcovitch. Rubber dresses and rubberized cotton completed the references to Brazilian plantation life. I coveted some printed, cut-out oxfords that would look perf with my new Givenchy shorts.

But the day's main event was clearly Alexandre Herchcovitch for women (he also stages a men's show). He took current trends—structure, padded shoulders—and exploded them into piñata-like proportions. The catwalk showcased all his strengths: expertly juxtaposed print-on-print, clever uses of texture and a bit of club-kid shock value. And yet it still managed to engage tailoring on a very technical level. It's Ale’s genius. Some nice lace insets were reminiscent of Christopher Kane, as was a lovely flesh-tone and sheer jumpsuit. The last look was literally a piñata: shredded ribbons over exposed boning and football-like padding—the perfect smash hit to end the show.

Alexandre Herchcovitch

Forum was mostly cocktail wear, and accordingly the front row was jam-packed with ridiculously hot Brazilian telenovela stars I didn't recognize. I inquired with a seatmate, who only mumbled something in a sexy Portuguese accent. Exactly. The collection was a lovely mediation on oceanic themes—fish boning, waves, shells, fish—incorporated into the construction and decoration. There was one slight misstep with a skirt that looked like it had been encrusted with those clams and starfish traction cutouts for your tub. But aside from that, no Little Mermaid moments to report.


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