Made in Brazil
Make like Mardi Gras and look to South America for the very best in next-generation fashion labels
Constant drizzle and a bit of a chill don't necessarily make for a carnival atmosphere, but Brazilians don't let much get in the way of a good party.
London's Guanabara Brazilian bar promises to be the Mardi Gras destination for those unable to make the real thing, and will offer a selection of events, from samba bands to parades, authentic Brazilian DJs and a masked ball from the beginning of February.
Call it post-Olympics fervour (or pre – the Games hit Rio in 2016) but the eyes of the world are on Brazil. And it's part of a rising tide in fashion too, as more and more of the country's native labels land on our shores and in our shops.
Knitwear wunderkind Lucas Nascimento is a graduate of the London College of Fashion and has presented collections at the capital's Fashion Week for the past three seasons. The bright colours of his heritage burst through; his innovative approach to working with wool is emblematic of a fledgling industry that is on the cusp of taking the rest of the world by storm.
São Paolo Fashion Week, which showed spring 2013 collections by the likes of Gloria Coelho and Colcci last November, is becoming a breeding ground for talent.
Of the brands that have already blossomed here, several have been snapped up by leading boutiques. Melissa's ecologically sustainable rubber shoes have been made-over by names such as Vivienne Westwood and Garet Pugh, but there's a current collaboration with Brazilian fashion hero Alexandre Herchcovitch.
At Harrods, Patricia Bonaldi offers eveningwear, while Adriana Degreas's swim- and resortwear is selling well. Matches have recently begun to stock shoe designer Alexandre Birman, and jeweller Silvia Furmanovich has been a hit on the website CoutureLab. In the Kings Road, The Shop at Bluebird last summer hosted a pop-up shop that featured a selection of Brazil's finest fashion names.
"We've had a really good reaction," explain Katrina Judd and Luisa Vautier Franco, consultants of In Addition's Brazilian division. "The great thing about Brazil is that you have everything under one roof, from fabrics to design and manufacturing. There's a real 'Made in Brazil' in fashion at the moment."
The Rio Carnival at Guanabara starts on 7 February, guanabara.co.uk
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