Dear Shaded Viewers,
The rest of the week in Rio played out with more interesting collections, an improbable champagne toast to Christian Lacroix, and a Niemeyer pilgrimage to Niteroi.
I was over the moon for the liquid leggings at Juliana Jabour. Jabour drew her inspiration for winter from the cultural and historical changes that occurred after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Structured and tailored pieces were influenced by military uniforms while Jabour’s knitwear–accented with leather, pearls & python–are just the thing for a chillier, urban winter in Sao Paulo.
On Tuesday night we were all invited to a cocktail at the Museu de Arte Moderna. Opened in 1948, the Museu is the best-known work of architect Rio Affonso Reidy. The Rationalist structure is forever etched in my mind as the location of the fictitious home of the character based on Oscar Niemeyer in the 1964 French comedy “L’homme de Rio” starring Jean-Paul Belmondo. Niemeyer had recently finished designing the most important buildings of Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, and the film–which cruelly lampoons Niemeyer–was an expression of France’s jealousy toward Brazil’s architectural innovations of the late ’50s and early ’60s.
One of my favorite scenes in the film (below) involves Belmondo flying over eerily desolate Brasilia. (The French seemed keen on portraying the new Brazilian capital as a cold, deserted, alien landscape devoid of human warmth and doomed to failure).
The party was for the opening of a new show at the Museu called “The French Room,” a collaboration between XCLC (the design studio of Christian Lacroix, sweetie) and COOPA-ROCA–an artisan cooperative of women seamstresses and craftworkers from Rocinha. The show’s concept is a loopy fairy tale that only the French could conceive: financially stymied couturier Christian Lacroix is transported back to 19th-century France during the reign of Napolean III and is commissioned to create a set of peculiar furniture for the Emperor….which is actually made by economically marginalized favela residents in 21st-century Brazil. (Ah, fashion.) These iron pieces wrapped in silk ribbon, shantung crochet & raffia are on view through February 28.
Photographer Jeremy Kost (the one on the right) loves jumping in front of other people’s cameras.
Coven, one of my favorite Rio design houses, presented another strong collection. But beyond the clothes, I was immediately struck by the obviousness of the hair inspiration:
Anyone who is familiar with my Shaded View posts knows that my fashion reports aren’t complete without the inclusion of an utterly preposterous, yet strangely erotic menswear collection. At Fashion Rio, the award goes to R. Groove, maker of jackets cut from sheer ladies lingerie, Veruschka-like floppy hats, Op-Art shorts (which, frankly, I would wear) and chunky, outsized knits. The pastel palette of the knits and the above pants seem to suggest the colors of some of the flora and fauna of the planet Pandora.
Models clad in glitzy music motifs tickled the ivories at Alessa. Jazzy!
Brazil’s most well-known upscale brand, Osklen, premiered a cutesy accessories line called New Order. I liked the stuffed, fang-bearing pit bulls that were waiting for us on our seats. Grrrr!
The day after the shows ended, I took the ferry to Niterói with my friends Carole and Arjun. Our mission was to visit one of Oscar Niemeyer’s most celebrated structures: The Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of Niterói–it’s sort of the New Jersey of the Rio area–but a beer hall named after Osama bin Laden’s cave wasn’t exactly at the top of my list of expectations. Only in Niterói kids, only in Niterói.
The design of Niemeyer’s Niterói museum was inspired by the surrounding natural landscape. As further testament to his genius (the master turned 102 last month, btw), you can see how he designed the angle of the building to complement the slant of Sugarloaf Mountain. Sublime.
Niemeyer is also famous for elevating his buildings on stilts or perches and placing pools of water beneath them that function as natural cooling systems. Ingenious.
Thanks for reading!