The latest boom of Brazilian economy has brought some attention to the local fashion industry, putting the rich and multicultural Brazilian style in the spotlight. But as the AW12 shows at Fashion Rio came to an end this true Brazilian voice was the exact missing point on the runways.
In endless creative paralysis, designers there seemed to more concerned about adapting their collections to international trends than otherwise. The overall impression was that of a second-hand pastiche of last seasons’ trends and very, very few authentic ideas.
One can’t help wonder if all that has anything to do with the fact of winter collections being presented in a country that barely has temperatures below 15ºC. With few exceptions from the South and part of the Southwest region of Brazil, the demand for winter clothes is extremely low and the reason is pure lack of necessity. Surely this reflects on the creative mindset of local designers and also on the powerful domestic market.
That’s one of the reasons Paulo Borges, Fashion Rio’s creative director, announced that this was the last Fashion Rio’s winter season. Next year the winter collections will be presented only at the São Paulo Fashion Week, while summer remains with two schedules, one in Rio and another in São Paulo.
Trends will always be somewhat the same. After all, in a globalized world the themes tend to follow a certain common pace, with few details being adapted according to local demands. At Fashion Rio, the best collections were precisely those who managed to do just that, but melding the current mood to their own identity.
Andrea Marques brought a sense of calm to the busy schedule of Rio fashion weeks. In a steady continuation and evolution of her style, she continued to work upon with a simplistic approach towards current themes. This time, it was evoking a certain traditional and classic values of the female wardrobe that she showed romantic yet minimal dresses in elongated silhouettes, feminine practical separates with a fresh take on tailoring and an interesting dialog between country and urban references.
What is most interesting about Andrea’s work, though, is that behind each collection there is a real woman, and not just some idea of an exotic female creature. And that’s becomes clear in the extreme amount of attention devoted to shapes and proportions the truly suits her costumers in unique ways. Her clothes show not only a great deal of attention to the female silhouette, but also to comforting the women’s body.
Walter Rodrigues was inspired by the Michael Haneke’s movie The White Ribbon, and thus the huge amount of puritan references. Shrunken jackets, wool capes that seemed to constrict the women’s body, cropped pants and long pleated skirts in Amish or Calvinist style were updated to the urgency of present times.
The strict severity of those look was then slightly broken by feminine contours and an intelligent array of fabrics that gave a sense of fluidity to the austere shapes of tailoring. With its minimal approach and focus on true design qualities the show also gained extreme relevance when related to the sudden conservatism and austerity measures that keep popping up as the world economy crumbles.
Extreme craftsmanship and regional elements with global appeal is how Melk Z Da has been gaining territory in the local fashion industry. Once know for pure experimentalism, now it is with a constant quest for sophistication that the designer is finding his way to better reach potential customers. For AW12 the designer was thinking about clay dolls typical of the Northeast region of Brazil, and hence the delicacy and feminine take on the collection.
Inspired by their painting and textures Melk worked on interesting fabrics treatments such as the resined cotton that seemed hand painted. Clay embroideries and maxi necklaces also evoked that sense of artisan qualities, but with an industrial look. Lace, see-through materials and geometrical cutouts brought a fresher take on sensuality (something new to this designer), while the focus on tailoring and delicate details gave new sense to the whole femininity values of the season.
In times of trends overload it its through exquisite techniques and true design qualities that one may stand out in the crowd.
That was the thinking behind Maria Bonita Extras AW12. With a new design team headed by Katia Wille, the collection brought back the lost feminine essence of the brand with a more tough up attitude and great craftsmanship. Textured knits, micro taffeta folds, and grosgrain ribbons turned into stripes added certain richness to this romantic but slightly sexy collection.
The same could be said about knitwear brand Coven. Inspired by the Maya Indians in Guatemala and the cultural treasures in Antigua, the design trio mixed indigenous patterns with ultra modern fabrics. Those were always knitted in the most modern way, mixing a vast array of materials and some purely Brazilian textiles. With geometric jacquard prints and a color palette with natural shades highlighted by bright hues of pink, yellow and green, the collection was a testament of the fusion of local traditions with the modern demands of 21st century customers.
And last but not least, Herchcovitch AW12 collection was heavily inspired by the energy around the Soho artists in New York during the 1980’s. But this was not a mere nostalgic interpretation of the already tired 80’s revival. Almost entirely in denim, with a unique sense of proportion playing with oversize shapes, volumes and a masculine and workman feel, this collection sounds so special because it looks back to the past at the same time it stays attached to the present. Linking what happened then in Soho, to what’s happening now in Willamsburg, Alexandre Herchcovitch triggers a whole bunch of images that now fuels our fashion images repertory and also many street style blogs around the globe. This way he not only reinvents himself over and over again, but also manages to fuse past and present in the most relevant and current way.