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Monday, June 22, 2009

Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 5

—Franklin Melendez

Like a true fashion editor, today I refused to take off my glasses, but mostly because I’m dreadfully hungover, so much so that I have the shakes. Jeremy is faring a bit better, though he still dons industrial-sized shades. Hovering between the living and the dead, I drag myself to the shows. Thankfully, I'm immediately perked up by two of the best collections so far. The first homerun comes courtesy of Neon designers Dudu Bertholini (a legend in Brazil) and Rita Comparato. The show, staged outside, included a live band playing a medley of James Bond themes. Fittingly, the show served up resort wear in the truest sense of the term, all caftans and turbans—the kind you'd see on Peggy Guggenheim in the 40s, lounging on a Riviera yacht, or perhaps Lou Lou de la Falaise in the 70s, reclining poolside with Yves in Morocco. There might be a little with Mrs. Roper thrown in, but I'm not one to judge, and the result is still lush and chic. The crowd went bananas when a particularly nubile model stomped out in a full-body flouro thong—now that's Brazil.


Next is Ronaldo Fraga, who is the polar opposite. He falls somewhere between the Brazilian Junya Watanabe and Henrik Vibskov, but like all the best shows so far he takes culturally specific references and twists them into his own rich, sexy idiom. With Day of the Dead paper decorations as its reference, the collection offered a strong point of view, blending an unmistakable Latin flair with a conceptual edge. Highlights included woven fabric crosses, cutout paper skirts and hammered-tin necklaces.

Ronaldo Fraga

The rest of the day is a blur, but a bit of fashion grit shamed me out of my torpor. Allegedly, one overzealous Russian editor walked nose first into a glass door at the hotel, fracturing her Slavic schnoz on the spot, much to the dismay of the PR crew. Asked if she’d like to go to the emergency room, she simply shrugged and said, “Mmm…later?” And there she was, front row, in five-inch Lanvin pumps. And that, my friends, is dedication.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 2

By Pia Catton...

Monday was anything but dull here at Sao Paulo Fashion Week, starting with Forum Tufi Duek, who apparently wanted to revive Madonna's horse fetish from her Confessions tour. Painted-on black leather pants and flowing capes were accented by an undercurrent of horse motifs: belts with silver bits as closures, extended ponytails and a video of horses frolicking in the background. Vamp, vamp and more vamp. And yet much of it could be worn as the straight-up New York uniform of black-on-black—without causing heart attacks.

Alexandre Herchcovitch scored highest with his pile-it-on attitude that seemed closer to a Russian aesthetic than Brazilian. Black suits and jackets had multiple fabrics on lapels and panels; some had what looked like fur caplets on top, but in fact were panels of fur at the shoulders and chest. Color was not absent, and it was topped by extreme beading. Several pieces were so heavy that in fact they appeared light; the weight of the beading made the loose shirts sway from the body and then swing back again to cling seductively to every curve.

Alexandre Herchcovitch

At Do Estilista, Marcelo Sommer seemed to be having a "Sound of Music" moment—are those dresses made out of curtains? No wait, just prints inspired by blue-and-white kitchen tile. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but in fact the prints were fantastic and many of the cuts were more velvet-rope than Home Depot. And to make it all totally incomprehensible, a row of treadmills was placed on the runway and several of the male models were made to exercise on them—even during the finale.

Hometown favorite Isabela Capeto presented layer-upon-layer of salable, feminine charm. Nothing was simple here—even a little black dress came with hundreds of tiny metallic beads.

I'm quite sure that Ronaldo Franga's collection—mostly black and white structured jackets with leggings—will delight his flock, but the show's theatrics trumped the clothes. On the runway were several six-feet tall surrealist puppets operated by Little Miss (and Mr.) Muffets. The models were elderly men and women, plus very young children. It all had something to do with oblivion, abandonment and a poem by Avaro Apocalypse. Like I said, quite a day.

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