By Anna Fitzpatrick, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Simple yet bold white letters on a black background in front of the Bienal building in Parque Ibirapuera announce that São Paulo Fashion Week started last Friday. From the outside, the event appears understated and low key, however with a host of A-list celebrities both modeling and watching, plus some home-grown design talent that is starting to hold its own on the international stage, SPFW is anything but.
Gaining more and more publicity in the fashion world with every season, SPFW is now considered to be the fifth most important showcase on the fashion calendar after the big four of New York, London, Milan and Paris.
With the increased media attention on Brazil, the show will continue to gain importance, and the fact that Brazil is synonymous with supermodels only heightens the appeal.
Gisele Bündchen returned to her homeland to support Brazilian brand Colcci alongside fellow supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio and Hollywood favorite Ashton Kutcher, who’s age-defying wife Demi Moore looked on admiringly from the coveted front row spot. Also appearing for the second time was Paris Hilton for Triton.
For the last fifteen years, SPFW has been a biannual celebration of Brazilian design talent. Held in January and June, the event started started out as Morumbi Fashion in 1996, when Paulo Borges brought the winning formula of showcasing fashion brands in short segments to Brazil. His plan was to internationalize Brazilian fashion, a feat that was achieved by 2001 when Morumbi Fashion became SPFW.
Along with the growing success of Fashion Rio, SPFW has successfully put fashion on Brazil’s agenda as an important part of the country’s economical, cultural and political development. It is reported that the Brazilian fashion industry produces items for the domestic and export market equaling US$50 billion in 2010.
São Paulo’s Governor, Geraldo Alckmin and Mayor, Gilberto Kassab, attended last week’s opening press conference and stressed the importance of the industry for the city as well as the entire country.
The ones to watch:
Alexandre Herchcovitch – With an international reputation already established and a large following in Brazil and aboard, Herchcovitch continues to produce interesting collections. He also shows in New York.
Osklen – Originally a sportswear company, the label is headed by Oskar Metsavaht who makes use of a variety of fabrics and shapes to produce versatile and wearable pieces.
Fernanda Yamamoto – A newcomer to the fashion scene, Yamamoto showed her first collection, which took inspiration from the towering buildings of SP and gained critical acclaim, in 2009.
A strong sense of Brazilian heritage and loyalty to national identity have given SPFW a unique personality. With thirty-one Brazilian brands on display that demonstrate the high-end, quality design, the show keeps both the international press and the public coming back.