Dec 18, 2008

The fashion weeks of São Paulo and Rio

While January in Brazil is high summer, and prime time to lounge on the beach as most locals do, that’s also when fashionistas flock to Rio and São Paulo for two back-to-back Fashion Weeks.

Although Fashion Rio has been gathering strength and momentum in the past few seasons, The São Paulo Fashion Week wins both in size and importance (that’s where a young Gisele Bundchen first made headlines in 1997, and Kate Moss strutted the catwalk in a thong, in 1999). It’s no surprise Rio’s hottest designer, Isabela Capeto (whose hand-embroidered dresses with lace and sequin apliqués are sold at Colette in Paris (13 rue Saint-Honoré, tel. 33 1 5535-3390) and Brown’s of London (24-27 South Molton Street, tel. 44 0 20 7514-0016)) chooses to show at the São Paulo Fashion Week, although her flagship remains in Rio (Rua Dias Ferreira, 45, Leblon, tel. 55-21-2540-5232).

At the São Paulo event, closed to press and guests, the spotlight is always stolen by Alexandre Herchcovitch, the John Galliano of Brazil. He started his career dressing transvestites and today shows in New York each season at Bryant Park and sells his underground-gone-haute collections at 15 stores in Tokyo alone, and exclusive boutiques like L.A.’s Fred Segal (8100 Melrose Avenue, tel. (323) 655-3734). But you’ll only find the full collection – and sometimes even the man himself - at his São Paulo flagship (rua Haddock Lobo 1151, Jardins, tel. 55-11-3063-2888).

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