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Fashion in Brazil

A Time for Gloss, Not Floss

Rio and Sao Paulo shows suggest glamorous, home-grown fashion can establish a strong beachhead in a land known for swim attire.


RIO DE JANEIRO — It's not just bikinis anymore.

Rio Fashion, the weeklong show that started Monday and runs through Friday, is perhaps the most convincing demonstration yet that the city famous for dressing women in dental floss can provide more ample coverage.

From Carlos Tuvesson's crystal-encrusted evening wear to the home-grown fashion statements of Coopa Roca, a clothing collective based in the city's biggest shantytown, Rocinha, Rio designers made a convincing case they could hold their own in the fickle world of fashion.

"It's very important this event is happening here in Rio. The city has everything to do with fashion," said Paulo Skak, president of the Brazilian Assn. of Textile Industries. "I have the feeling that this is the first big event of the fashion world in Rio that will be very successful."

Model Gisele Bundchen, the woman who almost single-handedly put Brazilian fashion on the map, was conspicuously absent, after parading in the Sao Paulo fashion shows that ended Monday.

Fashion week in Sao Paulo typically gets more attention with presentations from Fause Haten, Tufi Duek, Lino Villaventura and other designers.

But in a sign that Brazilian fashion is picking up international fans, top model Naomi Campbell was on hand to model--what else?--bikinis by Lenny.

The other top Brazilian models--Caroline Ribeiro, Ana Hickmann and Adriana Lima--were out in force.

"Gisele is Gisele and no one is going to be Gisele. I am really happy where I am and I am really happy with my job," Ribeiro told Associated Press Television News.

Hickmann said the show was like a homecoming for her.

"It is a very nice feeling to come to a big event like this in Rio, to be recognized, people see you and know your name and things like this are very nice," she said.

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