São Paulo’s Brightest

As everyone knows by now, there’s a lot more to Brazilian fashion than string beachwear and Gisele’s rocking bod. The underground scene in the world’s third-largest city is thriving testament to this. Since 1997, André Hidalgo, journalist and owner of the red-hot Clube Glória, has been fostering the city’s avant-garde, assembling some of Brazil’s most interesting young designers through the Casa de Criadores (House of Creators) series of runway shows.

Casa de Criadores also has establishment support, including Brazil’s major fashion colleges and Texbrasil, the Brazilian Fashion Industry Export Program. Together they sponsor the event’s Pont Zero contest for young designers, a program that launched the career of Brazil’s newest Project Runway winner, Cynthia Hayashi.

Aside from the contest, the 30th season of Casa de Criadores brought together 29 labels—ranging from students to hometown heroes like Walério Araújo—at Cine Joia, a newly refurbished movie theater in the city’s historically Japanese Liberdade neighborhood. The style spectrum ran from badass biker to the theatrical, with many looks in the buttoned-up goth mode that’s been on the worldwide street-style scene for a while now. The three-day whirlwind is enough to give anyone a case of fashion whiplash, but here are four names with extra-Brazil potential…

Arnaldo Ventura
Tron meets tradition in Arnaldo Ventura’s winter collection, from the show-stopping circuit-printed bodysuits to the infinitely more wearable little black dresses and sparkly loose knits. The luxe factor is high in rich brocades and deep persimmon, plus luxuriously draped camel-colored coats.

Alé Brito
Multi-colored leather recalls the city’s booming rock-and-roll scene, with separates in head-to-toe silver, white and matchy-matchy metallic lilac and blue. The moto jackets, bare midriffs and skintight trousers are nothing new, but the bold approach to color adds a new and naughty sex appeal. This is the stuff cool girls dream of.

Danilo Costa
Cutesy, playful and just this side of twee, Danilo Costa’s casual clothes for boys and girls conjure images of the perfect couple dressed for brunching. The girls get low-key dresses and maxi skirts plus sneakers while the guys go sweetly masculine in dandyish bowties and muted pastels.

Gabriela Sakate
Leave it to a designer from the show’s Projeto Lab group of up-and-comers to create one of the season’s most sophisticated collections. Inspired by the play of light around Paris’s Opéra Garnier, Sakate used touches of plastic, metal and transparent tulle to recall the city at night in a refined, understated collection.