While FashionRio may have lacked fervor, São Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW) collections signaled a stunning about face. The shows offered some of the most memorable collections in history, with several brands presenting highly executed, innovative designs. Among the more than 60 collections shown, here are the 13 best highlights:
Osklen opened with three-dimensional architectural looks in a procession of sharp, Japanese-inspired high-neck felt jackets (our favorite sports rectangular sleeves), short structural bottoms and knits in propriety fabrics were sent down the runway. Details such as squared off cuts that hug the waist, oversized hoods, slouchy felt boots and the digi-tropical prints proved to be added gems. The collection offered fashion forward vision, while remaining commercially minded. Backstage, designer Oskar Metsavaht explained that this creative exercise was intended to push the envelope and move thing forward.
Maria Bonita Extra
Maria Bonita tapped into SPFW’s structural and architectural trends at the Uhna building complex, which was designed by modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi in the late ’70s. Structured straight jackets, some in cotton and paper light leathers, stood out in manochromatic patchwork with slits. Pants came relaxed and slightly dropped in the crotch, while exuding a comfort that was comparable to the shift dresses presented in exquisite tones of olive, forest green and sky blue. In a black series, wood appliqués were shown stacked totem pole-style down short column dresses and a transparent white top.
A minimalistic opulence emerged in the early days of SPFW until Alexandre Herchcovitch switched things up by taking his presentation into opulent overdrive. Channeling an Arabic influence with turban-clad models, Herchovitch’s aesthetic journey also took him to Eastern Europe—specifically Georgia—with gypsy inspired belted jackets, swingy knit skirts, ethnic printed pencil pants and jackets cut above the knee. Herchcovitch took it up a notch further with grommets, embroideries and crystal appliqués that circled shimmery bell sleeve tops and loose fitting skirts, while fur-like outerwear dripped with coins.
In his second season as creative director of Rosa Cha, Alexander Herchcovitch was on triple duty this season—and remained in top form on all counts. Rosa Cha, the internationally recognized swimwear line, got a lingerie makeover this season—and it didn’t matter that it was difficult to tell what was meant to be worn as inner or outerwear. Scuba type fabrics appeared in everything from high-waisted ’30s swimwear looks to full-body suits, and were decorated with lacey lingerie prints as well as Swarovski crystal insets. The brand appears to be stepping out into different categories with examples of some revealing separates as well.
Huis Clos was all about creating romance with soft, fluttery whites and flesh tones that sent a message of relaxed cosmopolitan chic. This season, designer Sara Kawasaki borrowed from Grey Gardens in diamond shaped silhouettes that skimmed the body. Elements of faded elegance appeared in tassels that framed armholes and geometric bust lines that looked slightly fallen. The mood may have been somber but it wasn’t dreary, as a tie waisted gold lame dress nicely punctuated the collection.
Despite a few misses, Reinaldo Lourenço’s highlights were all in top form luxury. The collection split between an unapologetic assault of military looks in leather, most winning in tightly cut suits with multi-pockets. His message was softer and more organic in cape-like and cocoon shapes made from ribbed cotton fabrics and rich textures as well as chic dresses with plisse flowers.
Alexandre Herchcovitch Men
There were no links to draw between Alexandre Herchcovitch’s menswear and womenswear line, but both showed strength from their unique inspiration. Ingmar Bergman’s film The Seventh Seal encouraged a ghostly Grim Reaper look among the models, all of whom shaved their heads for uniformity. The clothes yielded energetic layers of transparency, oversized bombers, relaxed trousers and armorial looking knitwear brimming with humor—an unusually upbeat byproduct considering that the The Seventh Seal‘s bleak aesthetic.
Isabela Capeto’s a/w ’10 collection harkened back to the ladylike chic-meets-tropicalia style that defined her early work. Along the way, Capeto strayed from those measured strokes and female-conscious curves to a more craft-happy approach. The latest collection reinstated her early simplicity with knee-length dresses that sported just the right dose of embellishments in punchy colored beading and feathers. A rainbow striped chiffon dress, plaid suits and eclectic jumpsuits balanced out the well-rounded collection.
A big surprise on our shortlist, 2nd Floor fashions itself after a kind of Diesel Style Lab. With Sherlock Holmes in the air, the label found a solid groove this season by embracing a detective theme. Opening with the requisite trench coat, the collection offered a polished Americana aesthetic with indigo blue denims, tan accessories as well as canvas and leather two-tone bags that were all ready to go from the runway to the street.
Forum Tufi Duek
At Forum, designer Eduardo Pombal showed razor-sharp short skirts, fitted masculine tops and bondage accessories. The designs’ three-dimensional elements—constructed in neoprene, PVC and leather—were in sync with Brazil’s fascination with geometry and shapes. The rigidity of some of these looks can be traced to a hard strain that is currently permeating fashion.
Colcci is known for trying to buy its way beyond the runway—from hiring Gisele Bündchen as their runway star to sending out forgettable denim that’ll sell with the right spokesperson. Perhaps feeling the pressure with Gisele on post-baby hiatus, Colcci visibly raised the bar this season by prioritizing the clothes and making them highly desirable. The maple leaf-strewn runway set the stage for a well-edited collection of faded button down shirts, denim jeans and dripping knitwear.
Neon’s showing was more of a dinner theatre than a fashion presentation. The label’s usual tongue-in-cheek aesthetic took on a hunting theme this season. Looks inspired by jodphurs and riding jackets rolled out alongside animal characters like the squirrel, the elephant and the owl.
André Lima closed SPFW with a procession of party dresses. With mostly short hems, the designs included strong shoulder looks in acidic coloring, graphic prints and sculptural exaggeration. In the age of Lady Gaga, it seems that wearing giant flower pluming from the bust or jutting-off skirts is appropriate.