Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 1

The creative ingenuity behind the Sao Paulo winter ’10 collections becomes all the more exceptional when you realize that that particular season doesn’t really exist here (take a moment to consult your atlas). Sure, there are a thousand different ways to reinvent a thong, but when the temperature hovers at about eighty all year round, what are you really gonna do with a sweater? Apparently, a lot, even if the concept of cold dressing is a bit of an abstraction here.

Osklen was a prime example today, with an intriguing collection rendered almost entirely in wool felt. The resulting array of geometric cocoons also seemed to double as sleeping bags—practical, if you find yourself stranded on the ice moon in Star Wars, but trickier to maneuver closer to the equator. Highlights did include an oversized printed anorak (Brazilians know their way around a good print) and a heavy-gauge knit sweater that looked like the offspring of a Muppet and a love seat.

After the show we canoodled with locals, ogled boys and planned whirlwind weddings when I began to notice an unusually high concentration of trannies. Separately, two of them introduced themselves as Lady Gaga, which struck me as a reasonable enough aspiration.

Next up, Rosa Cha, the swimwear line now under the direction of Alexandre Herchcovitch. In his skillful hands, the collection produced a surprisingly inventive and utilitarian (in the broadest sense of the word) take on the fabled “winter swimsuit,” while also continuing in the Brazilian tradition of “evening swimwear.” The chemistry can be broken down thusly: wetsuit + lingerie trappings + lace insets = winter/evening swimsuit. Strange? Yes, but also strangely enticing. The result was a series of semi-functional, uber-glam, full-body aqua fare that would be perfect for reclining on the beach or going out. Plus, supermodel Chanel Iman opened the show (big name models are imported for SPFW), and even provided a charmingly distracted interview beforehand, answering a string of questions in the “favorite blank” format. Her answers included things like “pink,” “gellies,” “shoes,” “dogs” and “Brazilian boys.” Absolutely!

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