In an exposé regarding the top emerging fashion epicenters of the world, Savoir Flair touched lightly on the conditions that are giving rise to powerful fashion industries in five countries. The continuation of this series looked first to South Africa, where incredible regional talent is shining a spotlight on the country’s indigenous craftsmanship and vivid landscapes. In this new installment, our focus is on Brazil. While you are no doubt familiar with designers in the four major fashion capitals – New York, London, Milan, and Paris – less attention is generally given to the land where the fifth largest Fashion Week in the world is held on a bi-annual basis: São Paulo, Brazil.
Brazilian fashion is most known for colorful beachwear and sportswear, and there is no shortage of excellent brands to be found in those categories. However, the local industry offers much more than stylish bikinis and cover-ups, as evidenced by this list of seven Brazilian designers you need to know.
The Lourenço name holds a lot of weight in Brazil. Not only are Reinaldo Lourenço and his wife Gloria Coelho two of the most famous designers in South America, but he is also the father of the thrilling young designer Pedro Lourenço. Clearly, this family of fashion royalty has design in its DNA. Reinaldo launched his eponymous label in 1984 and has since become known as the “Poet of Brazilian Fashion” for his achingly beautiful, feminine collections.
As one of Brazil’s preeminent DJs, Renato Ratier’s name is synonymous with music culture. However, he refused to box in his creativity and launched a fashion and lifestyle label in an effort to connect his passions for fashion, music, and art/interiors. Now, Ratier is the proud designer behind one of São Paulo Fashion Week’s most-anticipated shows every season. He’s known as the “Brazilian Rick Owens”, and his sharply tailored clothes borrow from menswear, but are imbued with a cool, streetwise attitude.
Oskar Metsavaht, the designer behind Brazil’s first-ever global luxury brand Osklen, started off his career as an orthopaedic physician. However, he radically changed course in 1989 by launching a sought-after sportswear brand. In 2012, Metsavaht was being courted by major luxury conglomerates like LVMH, but eventually partnered with Brazilian conglomerate Alpargatas S.A., which infused the brand with enough ready cash to start making a global impact, thereby elevating the profile and status of the country’s regional luxury brands.
Alexandre Herchcovitch’s dark, avant-garde aesthetic is married to clean, minimal tailoring, making his brand one that transcends the tropical climate of Brazil to appeal to a global audience. His namesake label has been around since 1994 and in that time Herchcovitch has become known as one of Brazil’s best exports, which recently landed him on Business of Fashion’s BoF 500 list.
Gig Couture’s vivid prints and wonderful textiles are 100 percent homegrown. The brand, which launched in 2002, was founded by Gina Guerra and Patricia Schettino. The two designers pride themselves on producing their own fabrics and prints, which are crafted by hand with bespoke materials at the brand’s own factory in Belo Horizonte. Like other laudable names on this list, Gig Couture has moved beyond the regional scene to be embraced on an international scale. It is the only Brazilian label to be part of the permanent catalog of Showroom Fabre in Paris, and its collections are sold at boutiques around the world.
If the name Colcci sounds familiar to you already, it could be because the brand’s Spring/Summer 2016 presentation at São Paulo Fashion Week was the last runway show Gisele Bündchen walked in before announcing her retirement from the catwalk. For the uninitiated, São Paulo Fashion Week is also where Bündchen started her modeling career at the age of 14. As one of Brazil’s premiere luxury labels, Colcci produces amazing technicolor prints influenced by the street culture of Brazil, as well as sophisticated womenswear options that satisfy a versatile array of wardrobe needs.
Animale is the brainchild of three siblings, Claudia, Roberto, and Gisella Jatahy, who launched the label in 1999. However, Animale’s new Creative Director, Karlla Girotto, has taken the brand in a decidedly more grown-up direction. Girotto’s love of juxtaposition has led to dozens of presentations filled with ephemeral fabrics – like lace and chiffon – that adhere tightly to the female form and a wide range of mannish outerwear to add a protective layer to her delicate dresses. Animale is now one of the five largest brands in all of Brazil, but, unfortunately, access to its exquisite collections is currently limited to local points of sale.