Rio de Janeiro – In many ways, the single greatest contribution Brazil has made to international fashion is the exceptional quality of its fabrics, an attribute brilliantly displayed in two snappy and clever collections staged Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro.
The sheer effort local creatives put into developing rich new materials was never more evident than in the morning show of Printing, a 15-year-old label from the northern state of Minas Gerais that was making its runway debut.
Staged in a fantastic, old redbrick downtown factory, the show featured fabulous, fresh fabrics - combinations of exotic plant and fauna melded into in marbleized and volcanic patterns.
"Were after strong sensations," said Printing's designer Marcia Queiroz, who explained to FWD that many of the luscious silks required seven printings in order to get the depth of color she demanded.
Never have we seen such rich fabrics on a Rio catwalk, in a show which was easily the best styled in Fashion Rio, the twice-a-year season whose main sponsor is ABIT, the national textile and garment federation with 1.65 million workers.
Queiroz and her team can cut with confidence and her deliciously cool cocktails and opulently beaded swing coats were all great modern looks. No wonder Printing has already won orders from Saks in New York and Dubai, Neiman Marcus, Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.
The show included a head turning bamboo print suit with an Obi belt worn by the beautifully poised model Gracie Carvalho.
Later in the day in the Marina da Gloria, the tent city where 90 percent of the shows are staged, we got the more mass market brand of Cantao, which impressed with its posh Ipanema hippie chic, a cool take that would work anywhere from Mykonos to Ibiza, Bali to Miami.
And again, one could only applaud the great native India graphic prints on raw fiery floral hues and used in flounce dresses, lumberjack shirts and a series of craftily cut open ponchos for a great statement of Flower Power fashion.
The brainchild of Leila Barreto and Peter Simon, this 40-year-old label sells 650 sales points internationally. And one could see why from this show, which presented a highly assured collection that any teenager or hipster twenty-something would love to wear. Even when using basic fabrics like denim, Cantao did it all exactly right with great faded burgundy hued ranch hand pants, forgivingly cut and once again right on the money commercially.