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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fashion Rio: Day 2

By Pia Catton...

It all seemed so matter-of-fact when they told us the Redley show would be "in another part of town." That other neck of the woods turned out to be the actual woods of Tijuca, a 32-square-kilometer rainforest that also happens to be the largest urban forest in the world.


Tijuca contains the enormous statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks Rio. On this particular day, the forest also held about 500 fashion-goers. The four-designer team behind Redley opted to present its collection with models walking down a gently sloping stretch of road that cuts through the dense greenery. The show was called for 11 am, a time when sunlight is both dappled and beaming through the leaves, though a fog machine and music were added for ambiance, just in case.

As for the clothes, if you liked what they were wearing in that last Star Wars film, there's plenty here for you. It seems incongruous that a crunchy-sexy brand should make a collection with a military-of-the-future look, but that's what happens when you put sharp cotton jackets and gray pants with combat boots. Several knit dresses and leaf-print fabrics lightened the mood, but really, it was all about the forest. The icing on the nature cake was how perfectly our get-away was organized, so a big shout-out to the cheery walkie-talkie-wielding gals from the Brazilian Textile and Apparel Industry Association (ABIT), the group hosting us international press. And nothing makes me love Brazilian textiles like a van that's waiting and ready to roll.

Actually, designer Mara Mac also makes me happy about textiles, though I'm not sure where she finds them. Her collection, shown later in the day, was a veritable tea route that connected the fabric and designs of China, India and beyond. Models walked between huge mounds of green tea placed on a red lacquer runway, as sheer printed fabric evoked both the East and the Provencal countryside. Several pieces in a gray fabric looked just right for a long flight. But only first class would do for pants cut this chic.

Mara Mac

The best audience of the day was, by a long shot, at jeans brand TNG. Why? As a possible Backstreet Boy—who turned out to be soap opera star Caua Reymond—appeared on the runway, swaggering and flexing, his claque of adoring fans exploded. He beamed at them (a section of rowdy young boys who, if I had to guess, won some sort of contest for their seats) with a charm that seemed indigenous. Brazilian model Giane Albertoni and hot local newscaster Mariana Weiker also gave the show star power, but it was Reymond who made the kiddies lose it.

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