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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 1

By Pia Catton...

Sao Paulo Fashion Week opened with a day of extreme variety. Early on the roster was Osklen, which I've been looking forward to since I stumbled into his shop in Soho. Backstage before the show, Brazilian model Drielly Oliveira adjusted the fake dreadlocks woven into her hair and quickly summed up the appeal of Oskar Metsavaht's popular brand: "It's street style. It's easy to wear."

This collection, in particular, will be just that. Much of it was made from thick gray fleece. And although there was one classic PE department sweatshirt, the design kept it all far away from the locker room. Long dresses had full exaggerated skirts and several mini-skirts were cut with undulating ruffles—both had plenty of swish. A men's suit cut in an athletic-looking fabric could give Casual Friday a new lease on life.

But design was only half the story. Metsavaht has used his massive popularity for good by creating the Instituto e (E-Institute), which bestows an environmental seal of approval to fabrics made with sustainable methods. To get the seal, the production must be eco-friendly and do some variation of social good. Five e-fabrics were used in the collection, including vegetal leather, which is made from a natural latex extracted from rubber trees. The production employs rubber trappers and no toxins are used in the process. So how does it look? In the show, a stiff and sculptural raincoat was made from the stuff. Upon closer inspection backstage, the fabric felt pretty much like thin rubber. More interesting was the feel of a skirt made from coated fleece, which was so soft you could use it as a blanket.

As for those fake dreads, all the models (male and female) wore them, as well as nerd glasses that made them all look like booksmart Rastafarians.


But the mood changed drastically at Mario Queiroz. This men's designer took up heraldic motifs: repeated crests were printed on oversized hoodies and plaid capes were draped across the shoulders. But the best part was the beefcake factor. A bare-chested, long-haired warrior king strode the runway wearing pants, a leather helmet and leather straps holding his shoulder armor in place. Braveheart in Brazil? Yum.

For Cori, Dudu Bertholini and Rita Comparato (who also design bathing suits and more for Neon) turned out a chic and sophisticated collection. Though it was decidedly "Brazil"—a little too much use of colorful leather stripes—it was well-tailored and not boring.

The day ended with Gisele swishing her hips down the runway for Colcci and its skinny jeans. Gisele's shape is just as outrageous as it appears in photos, so why did someone add a fluffy mini-train of black tulle to the back of her jeans? Way to block the view, Colcci.


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Saturday, January 19, 2008

São Paulo Fashion Week: Osklen

If you've been to the Meatpacking recently, you probably noticed a new little store called Osklen (and maybe you realized there's another in Soho). Designed by Oscar Metsavaht—who, by the way, is a former doctor—Osklen began as a ski label, which has to be a first for Rio de Janeiro, where the company is headquartered. But something clicked and now Osklen, now a major label in Brazil, is a kind of cross between Moncler and Marc Jacobs, which is to say quirky, wearable and expensive. And like Marc's infamous collection for Perry Ellis ages ago, Oscar went grunge for fall...

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