Jun 19, 2008
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Looking forward to a shiny, white Brazilian summer

Jun 19, 2008

SAO PAULO, June 19, 2008 (AFP) - Brazil is looking forward to a white and shiny summer, judging from the creations sauntering down the catwalks from the Sao Paulo Fashion Week.

The event, the most important fashion showcase in Latin America, is angling its Summer 2008-2009 collection towards the flimsy and the floaty -- but all with an elegance that speaks more of cocktail parties around a penthouse pool than the sweaty beaches of Rio.

Major labels Osklen, Fause Haten and Triton offered up numbers that shimmered loosely around the leggy models sporting them, except in strategic zones where the light cotton or silk became sensually skintight.

Fause Haten, a favorite of the monied set in Sao Paulo, also decked out a few of the models with hard-hats -- an amusing touch perhaps, but one unlikely to be adopted by hair-conscious Brazilian women.

UMA Por Raquel Dawidowicz bedecked the stage with floating mini-planets, which the catwalk tribe dodged with aplomb. An initial sortie of oranges and blacks suggested a renegade attachment to color, but the procession quickly went as white as the others.

Triton's collection was the sexiest shown by the mid-way point of the fashion week, and ran a little counter to other labels, which preferred below-the-knee cuts. Models with legs so long they would have to be billed double in epilation salons wore mini-skirts and vampish make-up for effect.

Menswear from the street-hip marque V.ROM opted for jokingly formal jackets over airy shorts or tattered sort-of-skirts, with feet planted in workman-like boots. The effect was like The Village People going on vacation.

Designers' fascination with tropical colors and flower motifs were relegated to the bikini lines, which this year added a little more cloth to the bottoms, moving away from the g-strings that Brazilians affectionatelly call "tooth floss."

The latter days of the fashion show, which ends next Monday, were to provide greater spectacle by way of supermodel glamor.

Naomi Campbell is billed to feature in a men's swimwear collection by the Rio brand Rosa Cha on Saturday. Whether she actually makes it, though, remains to be seen: the day before she is due in court in London charged with assaulting a police officer at Heathrow airport back in April.

Even if she is absent, the celebrity wattage will still be incandescent.

Raquel Zimmerman, said by some in the fashion world to be the top-paid model of the moment, will be strutting her stats late Thursday for the brand Animale.

And Gisele Bundchen, the elusive darling of Brazil's media, will be making a rare Sao Paulo showing on Sunday for Colcci.

Kenzo Takada, the 68-year-old veteran Japanese designer who founded the Kenzo label, is also in town to reinforce this fashion week's Japanese theme. On Saturday he is to give some pointers on what it takes to break into a world fashion scene still dominated by the Europeans.

Juliet Warkentin, content director for the influential, London-based Worth Global Style Network, said Brazil was very well-placed to put its stamp on the evolving world fashion market, which she said was becoming increasingly globalized.

"Brazilians bring excitement, they bring sex, they bring energy and they bring an incredible line to the body," she told AFP.

"They're very interested in the line and the shape of the body. And a huge amount of texture and detail. More detail on the clothes here than I've seen in a lot of other cities recently."

by Marc Burleigh

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