While Rio’s winter collections lacked spark, São Paulo Fashion Week’s designers showed more interesting ways to deal with the economic crisis and create growth opportunity in the international arena. The major strategy is the reinforcement of each brand’s identity, associating it with social, ecological and philosophical issues closer to style and price preoccupations.
Osklen has worked on this for ages and, now, safely stands as a trendsetter in today’s rising trend of conscientious consumption. For winter, Oskar Metsavaht pushed harder for the use of ecological materials, emphasizing the brand’s sophisticated sportswear essence through comfortable fleece ensembles with seamless details, pleats, coated surfaces and the use of zippers to add new textures. Osklen’s oversized comfortwear was echoed by newcomer Reserva, a menswear brand from Rio with a cheerful approach to winter via utilitarian pants paired with handmade knit tops in bright threads of red, sky blue, orange and coffee. Reserva’s northern polar lights print also stood out in the otherwise sober sea of gray and black. Marcelo Sommer’s “Do Estilista” collection also delivered great print mixes inspired by Delft, a kind of Dutch ceramics.
Oestudio, a design collective stealing the spotlight for its “statement fashion,” delivered a collection inspired by social blindness. The brand explored the idea of creating clothes for blind consumers, resulting in experimentation with knotted textures, noisy embellishments and mirrored silhouettes. For the creative crew, the collection’s aesthetic touches on a philosophical concept in which the clothes function as “a possibility for each one to find their own blindness.”
Humanism was yet another statement evoked on the São Paulo runway. Ronaldo Fraga made the headlines for using seniors and children as models, posing a democratic view on beauty and fashion. Although his clown-like shapes and sac dresses looked slightly odd and misplaced on the older models, Fraga’s show touched the heart before trend radars kicked in.
Besides statement collections, brands at SPFW have the advantage of looking seasonless, an important characteristic for the recessionista audience. In his feminine collection, Alexandre Herchcovitch embedded some of his classics styles with luxurious details inspired by ’30s cabaret. For men, the designer added interesting technological materials in timeless navy-inspired suits. Clo Orozco’s “Huis Clos” line reinforced the classic seasonless shapes, investing in sexier and luxurious LBDs. Maria Bonita’s hybrid pieces also felt timeless, with deserving attention going to the trompe l’oeil overalls on clown uniforms and the elongated one-button jackets that functioned as dresses. Amapô also tried this hybrid approach, offering an all-in-one remix of sartorial menswear cuts attached to jersey tops and worn with carrot shape pants (a major trend), or skinny jeans covered with metal pins.
Claudia Jatahy’s collection reached a steady rock in re-branding her sexy style into a more cerebral sensuality composed of body hugging, meticulously dismantled knits, airy bubbled dresses with intricate circular cuts and padded jackets that reminded us of a futuristic Star Wars style.
Rita Comparato and Dudu Bertholini’s Neon earned applause for its captivating, ’50s-inspired catwalk, where models wore cocktail dresses while posing as vintage couture mannequins. The duo also presented artsy prints on musical instruments and jewellery. Although it felt a bit alienated from this season’s intellectual, ethical and practical styles, Neon’s show reminded us that a bit of joyfulness and dreamy styles are also great weapons during these uncertain times.