Brazilian fashion isn’t just bikinis and speedos. The world of fashion has stepped off the runways of New York, Milan, Paris and London. As with everything else in this world, fashion has globalized itself to fit the ever wrinkling fabric of society. One of those countries enjoying a well deserved respect from this oft moody community is Brazil.
For one, the face (and body) of fashion and beauty at the moment is none other than Giselle Bündchen. Having been discovered at a mall at the tender age of 14, she didn’t immediately take the world by storm. Now, some fifteen years later, she’s one of the most recognizable faces in the world and according to Forbe’s in 2007, was named sixteenth out of the twenty richest women on the planet. Not only did Giselle change the face of fashion, she also changed the identity. Since her arrival, there has been a wave of models of Brazilian descent: Raquel Zimmerman, Ana Hickman, Adriana Lima, Isabeli Fontana, I mean, gee whiz, I really could go on.
Brazil’s impact on current fashion trends doesn’t stop at models. There are evermore fantastic designers who not only make a splash in this hemisphere but in all others. Here are three that truly have stood the test of time and will continue to do so.
Perhaps the most exciting and innovative Brazilian designer of recent times, Alexandre Herchcovitch is not afraid to push the limit. Within his whimsically biased and terrifyingly complicated hemlines, attention grabbing silhouettes, and eccentric accessories, you can find a lot of down-to-earth qualities. Herchcovitch made a name for himself in the mid ’90s using a trademark skull that became something of a badge to be worn by stylish juventude. In the years that followed, his fame mounted as he rose to iconic status. His interest in fashion began with his mother Regina who exposed him to the basics of modeling and sewing at his prepubescent request. Herchcovitch has made it something of a mission to deconstruct, a verb that always set apart the designers from the inventors. In my opinion, he not only is Brazil’s answer to a John Galliano or Alexander Mcqueen †, but in the same fashion boat as these like-minded couturiers. His high flying imagination exceeds the normal realm of boring, cookie cutter styles and he transforms ready-to-wear into ready-to-swoon. When it comes to modern classics, Herchcovitch has and will become the destroyer of the bland.
Obviously when you talk of Brazilian fashion, it would just be a crime not to mention swimwear. Even more of a crime would be not to mention Rosa Chá, Brazil’s foremost swimwear line. Fronted by Amir Slama, Brazilian born of Romanian and Iraqi Jewish descent (Iraqi Jews are more common then you think. I mean: Charles Saatchi?), the beachwear line is one of the freshest and coolest of the two-a-penny bathing suit set. Slama, who on his own began Rosa Chá after a brief stint as a history professor was the recipient of Brazil’s Best Designer of the Year award in 2002 and has been editorialized in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, W Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Cosmopolitan. He became friends with Naomi Campbell when she visited his São Paulo flagship store and she has since walked down the runway for many of his collections. His eye for shape and contrast has been celebrated by many. He can meet sexy and comfortable all in one because he knows that it’s the wo/man that makes the clothes (and it does help if the woman’s boobs are hanging out).
Carlos Tufvesson is not only a renowned fashion designer but he is also a well know gay rights activists taking up the causes of HIV/AIDS and equality of marriage. Philanthropy aside, the clothes he makes are meant to be swayed about in the throws of passionate dancing, meant to be sweat on during warm and balmy nights in downtown Rio or on a balcony in São Paulo. Tufvesson brings new meaning to the phrase “cocktail dress”. No longer is it a stuffy, mean spirited sort of frock, but one that takes fashion as an expression of life, fun, and has a sense of humor. If there were a candidate to design a Brazilian national costume, Tufvesson would be way up there on that list. His use of color is mesmerizing. It isn’t pretentious or distracting as many others tend to create. It’s a vibrancy, a buoyancy and a seduction that typifies the Brazilian attitudes. And in the lunacy of his recent ripped stockings and big, curly hair collections, it seems to be the truest and most accessible look of the three.
Well, there you have it, loves. Don’t be a stranger, but do be stranger.