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By Felicity Clarke, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – Despite the stifling temperatures, the Brazil fashion set turned out this week for the 16th Fashion Rio. Starting last Friday, January 8th, the event presents the new catwalk collections for Autumn/Winter 2010 by the most exciting designers working in Brazil. The event closes with a spectacular final invite-only show on Wednesday, January 13th.

Maria Extra Bonita Runway, 16th Fashion Rio Autumn/Winter 2010, image by ffw.com.br.
Maria Extra Bonita runway, 16th Fashion Rio Autumn/Winter 2010, image by ffw.com.br.

Despite rumors of a venue change, the events are taking place at Píer Mauá where it happened for the first time for Rio Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2009. The Centro location has already this week staged the new collections by Auslander, Maria Extra Bonita and Espaço Fashion.

Notable collections which subvert the traditional fashion view of Rio as a city with a bold print, colorful look include Cavendish, who contrasted romantic drapery and florals with rock chic touches such as matt black tights. More dramatically dark creations came from Filhas da Gaia whose show entitled ‘O Belo Frankenstein’ (‘Frankenstein Beauty’) featured voluminous shoulders, sharp lines and tight belted dresses.

Cavendish Runway, 16th Fashion Rio Autumn/Winter 2010, image by ffw.com.br.
Cavendish runway, 16th Fashion Rio Autumn/Winter 2010, image by ffw.com.br.

While Cavendish and Filhas da Gaia have been drawn to light and dark contrasts, other designers have focused on the environmental considerations of the fashion industry, for example Marcelo Rodrigos who has developed footwear using recycled tires and Francisca Vieira’s label Natural Cotton Color whose collection is made entirely with naturally colored cottons without any artificial colorings or chemicals.

Alongside the catwalk shows, there is a photography exhibition around the event’s theme, Rio and the 2016 Olympics. Titled ‘Hoje Mais Sete’ (‘Today Plus Seven’), referring to how many years from the announcement to the Games, the exhibitions features photography by Gabriel Mendes displayed on the external walls of the warehouse.

Filhas da Gaia
Filhas da Gaia runway, 16th Fashion Rio Autumn/Winter 2010, image by ffw.com.br.

The images show how people from politicians to athletes to taxi drivers are preparing for the Olympics. Inside there is also an exhibition by Oscar Metsavaht showing his view of Ipanema plus an installation by Anna Dantas and Carô Veiga covering the whole ceiling of the second warehouse with Carioca banners.

Wednesday’s invitation-only party will close the event. These shows focus on those who are premiering at this year’s Fashion Week such as 27 year-old stylist Nina Kessler and from Minas Gerais, Patachua.

Last year the event caused a simmer of controversy when Beto Neves, designer of Complexo B, used transgendered model Patricia Arauju in his catwalk show. While there may not be the same sense of surprise rippling through the audience this year, it’s sure to be another fabulous climactic close to one of Brazil’s major fashion showcases.

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