By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Esteemed designer Gilson Martins, responsible for an eye-catching and chic collection of bags, purses and accessories that feature iconic Rio and Brazil images, presents a new collection for Carnival. In an event that took place on Saturday, January 25th and will run until the end of February, the lively Ipanema store showcases some of its most inspiring pieces yet.

Gilson Martins stands with the designs at his Ipanema store, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Gilson Martins surrounded by the new designs at his Ipanema store, photo by Fiona Hurrell.

The name of the collection is ‘Bondinho do Alemão, me leva pro Carnaval!’ which translates to Cable car of Complexo do Alemão, take me to Carnival.’ The bags themselves are shaped like a panetone and show scenes of Carnival on each side.

They are displayed hanging from a wire, representing the cable cars which transport passengers across the Complexo do Alemão favela community.

Designer and brand namesake Gilson Martins was at the event’s launch party and explained, “The concept of the cable car with the Carnival theme is that, like the cable car which carries people, the bag carries the message of Carnival upon it.”

What is most interesting perhaps and a testament to the brand’s creativity, is that the collection is the result of a creative project set for the company’s production craftsmen and women – to see who could come up with the most original design.

Gilson Martins explains, “They had two months to complete their bags and they were doing them in their lunchtimes and at home. Like me, they grew up around Carnival and samba and so these designs are close to their hearts. You can see that from all the tiny details.”

A close up of one of the Carnival designs, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
A close up of one of the Carnival designs, photo supplied by Gilson Martins.

Clearly proud of his team, Gilson said, “I love [them]. There is no limit to their creativity, they have a lot of talent and I think [projects] like these help them to discover that in themselves.”

The event was indeed very popular with passers-by who were intrigued by the band playing in the window and the colorful display. Irish traveler Grace Cornally said, “I love [the designs] they are great Carnival souvenirs, all really impressive.”

At the Gilson Martins store on Copacabana Beach an event equally as vibrant has been taking place since January 19th until February 23rd, titled Máscaras do Pão – Do Lixo ao Luxo (Masks of bread – from waste to luxury).

As with the Ipanema store, the production team was given the opportunity to create an exhibition, this time of masks, which combine aspects of the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf) with the grand balls and parties of yesteryear.

According to Martins, “The designs take the Sugarloaf form, one of the greatest landmarks in the city, to create masks which are inspired by Carnival songs and traditional balls.”

In typical Gilson Martins style, the events have been more than just an exhibition. Once again, music played a huge part with traditional drums and percussion sounds that reflected the spirit of Carnival and of course, no Gilson Martins party would be complete without a Caipirinha. Staff were on hand mixing a variety of Caipirinhas made with special Sagatiba cachaça, lending a very Brazilian theme to the day.

To see the collections for yourself and get in to the party spirit, visit the store on Avenida Atlântica, Copacabana and Visconde de Pirajá, Ipanema or see the website.


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