As international fashion journalists descended on Rio for its fashion week, the question in the air was will the city manage to keep its status as the place to be or will it be one of those (so common) moments in the fashion industry where after a while it disappears as thin smoke in the air?
The curtains were raised by Rio Moda Hype, the Brazilian breeding ground of new talents.
Showing its AW11 collections, there was not a bikini in sight and although many of the designers do not yet have international fame, the ones that showcased in Rio are the ones successfully re-defining the brazilian fashion identity.
Lucas Nascimento, the highlight of the week, had a well rounded collection of sensual, chic and subtly sexy knitwear. With sculptural forms and strategically placed transparent inserts, Lucas’s collection was so beautifully put together, wisely edited and precise in styling that it would not be out of place in New York, London or Paris Fashion Week. At only 24, Lucas (who has previously worked for the likes of Giles, Luella, Jonathan Saunders and Basso and Broke) shows the maturity of a veteran. His collection is a success and I would not be surprised to see stores like Browns or Colette snapping up Nascimento’s pieces soon.
Melk Z-da, another very young star, mixes rustic materials and more sophisticated fabrics using a lot of local craftsmanship . Still to work on making more commercial pieces, Melk has that avant-garde DNA that is reminicient of Gareth Pugh’s early work. Different textures were born by mixing camel wool, tricot, organza and satin. Melk’s artisan touch is for me a plus, giving Brazilian heritage a spotlight on the big stage.
At Coven (the brand that I hold responsible for first making knitwear desirable in Brazil) they presented a concise, girlie and Chanel-esque rock chick collection that reassured us all that the desire for all things that glitter is still alive. Intricate embroidered work and the blending of different threads shows a highly sophisticated knowledge of working with knitwear.
After bringing Redley back to the spotlight with her fresh take on sensuality last season, Julia Valle debuted her first solo collection at Rio Moda Hype. The deconstructed silhouette and understated elegance, follows the same clean route of Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo and Hannah McGibbon. Subtly sexy, Julia proves that Brazilian sensuality can be done without the body-con/ short style.
Hosted at a beautiful bay, the event carries an air of a sun drunken holiday. But do not be fooled by the vibrant party mood that surrounds the event. If the scenery is of tropical fun, Luminosidade- the company that presents it- means serious business and is determined to put Rio in the diary of the key players of the industry.