Claro Rio Swims To The Surface

The buzz surrounding Claro Rio Summer started growing when media outlets (including Page Six) sounded the death knell for Miami Swim, denouncing that event’s lackluster energy and low wattage attendance. Pundits had already pronounced that Claro Rio—the brainchild of communications mogul Nizan Guanaes, his wife Donata, Carlos de Souza and Robert Forrest, prominent players in the global media space—would steal Miami’s thunder and set a new standard for showing high summer collections. Even these predictions could not have anticipated the extravaganza that was pulled together by this visionary team for its inaugural event in Rio de Janeiro last week.

Secondary market shows often struggle to attract the right level of coverage, a challenge that was remedied by the attendance of high profile journalists including Hamish Bowles of American Vogue and Hilary Alexander of The Telegraph, buyers Sarah Lerfel from Colette, Averyl Oates of Harvey Nichols, representatives from Barneys, Vila Moda and Jeffrey and bold faced names including Valentino Garavani, Natalia Vodianova, Lady Natasha Fraser, Brydie Bell and scores of other camera-friendly personalities. This was an event designed to broadcast the best of Brazil beyond the country, primarily focusing on bathing suit and cruise collections shown on some of the best models in the business.

Amalia Spinardi from Jo de Mer staged her show high in the hills in a home designed by Oscar Niemeyer in 1951. The collection featured stunning two-tone looks, cut high on the waist and cinched with narrow gold “belting.” Adriana Degreas delivered an ode to Rio by featuring the famous mosaic sidewalk motif as zig-zag print on black-and-white suits, as well as vintage, sepia-toned Rio scenes printed onto skimpy looks. Paisley prints turned up at Cia Marítima and at Triya, a debut effort from young hipsters Bella Fruguiele, Bebel Fioravantte and Carla Franco. There were cutouts galore in looks from Salinas, Lenny, Iodice, Totem and one-piece tan baring silhouettes at Andriana Degreas. Rosa Chá staged their presentation on a water runway, playing with lingerie accents in their suits, introducing shocking pinks and royal blue cover-ups and mini-dresses, but it was the bathing suits that took center stage.

The organizers were clearly aware of the practical need of bathing suits for the high summer season, but one suspects that the visual impact helped secure maximum media exposure. Some national journalists grumbled about the typical vision on display of cariocas showing off their near naked bodies, but for the international audience it made sense as a platform to introduce the uninitiated to the best offerings from the city. After all, the beach, the body and the bathing suit are all central to the allure of Rio.

There was, however, more fabric to be found in some of the collections. Cris Barros served up her long printed chiffon dresses with tiny ruffles that are perfect for dressing international It girls for warm weather soirees. Raia De Goeye showed looks that were a decided departure from the skimpy Lycra seen in most collections. Their long and layered dresses in earthy nature tones showed off all sorts of dangling ties and, while somewhat heavy handed in execution, was a refreshing collection of creative ideas.

Lenny Niemeyer and Oskar Metsavaht’s combined show effort, Osklen and Lenny, took the top prize for the week’s presentation. Conducted in a massive thatched structure with the Dos Irmaos framing the runway, a drizzle began as the first model descended the runway to show. Osklen’s special brew of urban and natural inspirations fused together to create thoughtful, forward looking silhouettes from smock-like dresses to drop cropped shorts made of indigenous materials. Lenny’s precision chic was on full display with her metallic snake printed suits, several showing off the one-shoulder silhouette, divine cover-ups and suits so delightfully cut, they quickly captured the attention of the international buyers who weren’t already familiar with her top of the heap status in Brazilian bathing suit design.

Throw in all the fabulous parties, luxury accommodations and the special brand of Brazilian spirit into the mix and Miami Swim doesn’t stand a chance at competing with Claro Rio Summer.

—Jason Campbell




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