WOW, does front-row chatter spread: there was one prevailing topic of conversation taking place at this season’s São Paulo Fashion Week and that was the “see now, buy now” phenomena that started back at the international collections with Burberry and Tom Ford – and subsequently everyone else for that matter, be it to little or large extent – and which is set to be the instigated format for the next SPFW season.
Amir Slama, Sao Paulo Fashion Week (Courtesy of PR)
Not every designer will do it, and not every designer needs to do it – Brazil, after all, is season-less compared to the hot-cold climes of the UK, North America, and Europe, and can traverse the idea of a season in very much its own way, which is what was also vaguely happening this season. So we weren’t so much seeing “Spring/Summer” as we were “whatever the designer wanted to present.” Going forward, São Paulo Fashion Week will still showcase designer collections twice a year but it will be exactly that, a general showcase over anything specific – a fashion calendar with its own rules, if you like (and actually pretty clever).
This is one of the most interesting things about Brazilian fashion anyway – in that it can do swimwear like nowhere else purely because it does have that climate and customer like nowhere else. Where across the globe designers pull out that (awful) phrase “day to night,” this is “beach to bar” – same idea, different location, making for an entirely new fashion context and one that shouldn’t be flippantly overlooked as simply Brazil just being about bikinis.
Adriana Degreas, Sao Paulo Fashion Week (Courtesy of PR)
A case in point is Adriana Degreas, whose “bain couture” takes swimwear to an entirely new level. Is it a gown? A tunic? A tuxedo? It’s all of these things, more sometimes, and still a bikini at the same time, which is incredibly clever. “It’s more about a lifestyle,” pointed out Degreas. Lenny Niemeyer, too, went all out for its swimwear offering: elegant Japanese drapery that turned the one-piece into a cocktail frock; while Salinas went techno bright with neon shades, bling, and big bright sports bombers.
“Each beachwear brand has a different universe,” noted Degreas – in much the same way any other designer has a universe, only this is one in which a palm tree and a good spot by the sea are de rigueur. For the rest of the fashion world who are used to the factoring in the cold, that is a novelty and a whole new universe to come to grips with.
But as noted, to think that São Paulo Fashion Week, which is 21 years old and in its 41st season, is only about swimwear is wrong. By its own admission, it needed to up the ready-to-wear ante to make sure it could compete with the international fashion scene – outside of the big four and it is widely considered as being the fifth fashion capital. It’s not hard to see why: Alexandre Herchcovitch and Pedro Lourenço – son of big Brazilian fashion names Gloria Coelho and Reinaldo Lourenço and now the creative director of La Perla – are among its notable exports.
And Herchcovitch was definitely the one to see this season – having left his namesake label two years ago, this collection marked the debut of a new endeavour, À La Garçonne. It was the show everyone was waiting for and it was the show you couldn’t shake from your mind afterwards: cool, concise, expertly-executed, it was a lesson to other labels – emerging or established – of what to be and how to do it. He gave us a mash-up of layers in parkas and tailoring, Nineties nods, and a great outdoors vibe: urban nomads.
Helo Rocha, Sao Paulo Fashion Week (Courtesy of PR)
But he wasn’t the only one to impress and show off the seriously high style credentials that SPFW has going for it. Other names to commit to memory are: Vitorino Campos, who gave us that unisex streetwear vibe that is so finding favour in fashion right now – think a Jacquemus meets Marques’ Almeida sensibility; Juliana Jarbour, who took sportswear and beachwear and added a layer of neon bohemia to create her own blend of a sports hippie that felt utterly fresh and cool (Isabela Capeto, meanwhile, went very much more traditional boho boho); Helo Rocha, the former Teca designer, who brought flounce and romance down the runway to ethereal and elegant effect – though it was the shoes and bags we were clamouring for the most; and Gig Couture, the Beyoncé-worn knitwear label whose zingy frilled dresses had a quirky Miu Miu appeal, were easily wearable and came with cool shiny clogs.
Reinaldo Lourenço, Sao Paulo Fashion Week (Courtesy of PR)
Then, of course, there are the stalwarts of São Paulo – Gloria Coelho and Reinaldo Lourenço, and Patricia Viera. Coelho did the unimaginable and combined accessories and ready-to-wear for an opening series of jackets that were also bags – and didn’t look weird as a result (we’ve seen it now, we’d like to buy it now!) as well as some great tailoring that slit and sliced its away across the body in the guise of jackets. These were the strongest pieces of the collection. Viera, too, triumphed in outerwear: lattice-woven bombers or painted floral leathers. To note, everything Viera does is leather.
Patricia Viera, Sao Paulo Fashion Week (Courtesy of PR)
But among the new names to be found are Modem, a label founded by André Boffano and Sam Santos last year, fuelled by the idea to create simple clothes with great detail. “The brand has a close connection to art and design. The creative process combines forms and details inspired by architecture and modern art – the shapes, materials, and prints are created from digital interventions,” explained the duo.
Wispy shirts boasted industrial zippers at their front; a sassy dusky pink dress sported rivets across it – the print of which formed the pattern of the shirt. Simple in that well-designed way, and wearable on the rail, their accompanying visuals excel. But the pair point out it’s not easy to be an emerging and independent talent in Brazil – the local market and export market are two different worlds (Brazil is hot and clothes are more casual in their inclination) and working out a way to straddle them both is tough. It’s the same issue facing most young designers across the territories – the balance between being part of that international scene and dialogue versus catering to your local market that likely has the bigger footfall and spending power. But the scene, they say, is changing.
“It’s moving forward; people are more open to try new things – technology and social media has a lot to do with this evolution. We would like to think that the São Paulo fashion landscape is very diverse. You can find different styles and there’s a new generation of photographers, stylists that are looking forward to the same direction that are creating a new image that has not been explored yet,” they reflect.
And this is something that is going to be interesting to see play out – combined with the shake-up of the seasons.
Modem Studio (Courtesy of PR)
This edition of SPFW also saw a host of new names added to the calendar, among them the more commercial A.Brand, a tropical explosion of easy separates, and the collaboration between Karl Lagerfeld and Riachuelo, a high street brand much like your H&Ms of the world. Then you had the likes of Paula Raia, who produces only one collection a year – hers are dresses that require a specific occasion, all serene shirting styles crafted with surface texture as they were.
In a snapshot, that’s already a lot of diversity to watch bloom.
But now: we saw it, we want it! Here’s what’s on our São Paulo shopping list:
A photo posted by Helo Rocha (@helorocha) on Apr 28, 2016 at 2:57pm PDT
- Helo Rocha’s cool cowgirl shoes and a chainmail bag dripping in moon charms.
A photo posted by NOWFASHION (@nowfashion) on May 2, 2016 at 8:52am PDT
- Gig Couture’s spangly geek-chic ruffle dresses
A photo posted by NOWFASHION (@nowfashion) on May 2, 2016 at 8:54am PDT
- Modem’s zip-front shirt and multi-fasten handbags
A photo posted by NOWFASHION (@nowfashion) on May 3, 2016 at 5:08am PDT
- Vitorino Campos’ denim jacket and glitter skirt
A photo posted by NOWFASHION (@nowfashion) on May 2, 2016 at 8:58am PDT
- Iódice’s jangling beaded jeans
A photo posted by Alexandre Herchcovitch (@alexandreherchcovitch) on Apr 28, 2016 at 11:40am PDT
- À La Garçonne’s parka jackets (and, well, most of the collection really)
A photo posted by NOWFASHION (@nowfashion) on May 2, 2016 at 1:57pm PDT
- Patricia Viera’s painted floral leather jacket
A photo posted by NOWFASHION (@nowfashion) on May 2, 2016 at 2:07pm PDT
- Gloria Coelho’s jacket-bag hybrid
A photo posted by NOWFASHION (@nowfashion) on May 2, 2016 at 2:37pm PDT
- Lolitta’s leather perforated skirt
A photo posted by NOWFASHION (@nowfashion) on May 3, 2016 at 12:02am PDT
- A.Brand’s tropical workwear jacket
A photo posted by NOWFASHION (@nowfashion) on May 3, 2016 at 5:34am PDT
- Amir Slama’s bejewelled bikini tops – worn over a crisp white shirt!
A video posted by OSKLEN Brasil (@osklen) on Apr 28, 2016 at 5:41am PDT
- Osklen’s beach wrap dresses