Transsexual model stirs Brazil fashion show

Brazilian transsexual model Lea T. stole the show Sunday at Sao Paulo Fashion Week as critics applauded her presentation and paparazzi mobbed her entourage.

The model, previously known as Leandro Cerezo and the son of famed Brazilian footballer Toninho Cerezo, received roaring applause as she took to the catwalk modeling a new collection by Alexandre Herchcovitch.

She wore pale makeup and was accompanied by somber music as she helped present a collection of black, gray, beige and green gowns with long sleeves.

The paparazzi swarmed her entourage as she left the venue accompanied by friends, agents and bodyguards, with one photographer kicking one of her managers before she was spirited away.

The runway star, who has also modeled for the French brand Givenchy, has become a fashion sensation following high-profile appearances on the European market in recent months, including a magazine cover in which she appears kissing British supermodel Kate Moss.

The Brazil-born model left for Italy when embarking on her career, citing ill treatment and questions over her sexual orientation.

The 30th twice-annual Sao Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW) promises to showcase 31 home brands and set the stage for next winter's collection.

The runway stars include Gisele Bundchen, the Brazilian beauty who has become the world's top-paid model and is set to show off the latest creations of the brand Colcci.

Also at the event is US film star Ashton Kutcher, who arrived in the country late Thursday along with his actress wife Demi Moore.

Billionaire heiress Paris Hilton was also expected to hit the runway to model Brazilian fashion brand Triton, and singer Christina Aguilera was set to promote her new clothing line.

Sao Paulo, which has held the fashion week since 1996, has emerged as a key fixture on the fashion calendar, showcasing mold-breaking designs from Brazil's top houses Ellus, Colcci and Maria Bonita, and leading designers such as Reinaldo Lourenco and Ronaldo Fraga.

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