Despite a full night’s rest, I thought I was hallucinating when I stumbled into Cecilia Dean planted front row and center at Ronaldo Fraga. Tuned out the apparition was indeed Ms. Dean, in town for the shows and a few arty meetings. “I just got in last night,” she said, “and we partied till four in the morning!” She also hit up a dinner for an up-and-coming shoe designer (more on him later) and “then we headed off to Secreto, the secret bar!”
As usual, Fraga’s collection was heavy on concept, starting off with a lone dancer playing the accordion on a chair, then moving through heavily costumed models in masks. The effect was a bit like Junya Watanabe filtered through all sorts of Latin American festivities—sort of like a mash-up of Cherry Blossom Festival, Carnival and an Argentinean rodeo. The finale of piñata-like confections was mind-blowing.
The second moment of the day occurred when Madonna’s swarthy boy toy, Jesus Luz, opened the Ellus show. There was pandemonium backstage as he entered with what looked like a probation officer, but I assumed was a bodyguard. (What does he need protection from?) Inside, I heard murmurs to the effect that he isn’t as popular in Brazil as his celeb model counterparts (Isabeli, Raquel and a host of Victoria’s Secret Angels). Apparently, the country doesn’t take kindly to its boys being reduced to instruments of pleasure, though there are worse ways to make a living.
Ellus is the pinnacle of high-end denim in Brazil, and the collection included some great variations on the anorak and rain jacket, which are perfect for the weather near the equator. Later that evening, we hunted around for the Ellus after-party, DJ’d by Jesus at Secreto (of course). I hummed Madonna’s “My Baby’s Got a Secret” in the cab over. The small venue is the Brazilian equivalent of Le Baron or Beatrice, if you will, and was accordingly packed with models and soap stars who swayed suggestively to Luz’s beats. I had hoped for a Madonna set, but alas.