CARPE RIO! presents the most striking and contemporary fashion for men and women in Rio de Janeiro, providing insight into the latest trends in clothing for the workplace, parties, sports, everyday recreations and the beach.
The historical development of international and national style trends is given a look-in to furnish readers with a sense of the social and political significance of the art form. From gowns and suits to bikinis and swimming trunks, a catwalk of style ideas are packaged and delivered to readers to help them reinvigorate their wardrobe and understand the Carioca aesthetic.
STYLE FOR THE CREATIVE MIND
The vibrant life of Rio de Janeiro, is closely linked to its intense fashion style, as it is one of the languages that the city uses to express its personality. The people of Rio have incorporated some of the warmth and beauty of their environment and character into the way they present themselves, making their aesthetic highly influential in the world of international fashion.
All the best and most prominent designers and fashion houses are found in this cultural place, but the native brands take the crown - the local panorama is joyfully crowded with irresistible designers who give trends their own voice.
Cariocas have a very distinct look, characterized by a penchant for colour, sparkle and playfulness. Fashion in the city today is the result of local creativity and of influences from all over the world, reimagined and adapted to the warmth and openness of the city's nature and its inhabitants.
Vivid patterns, platforms and turquoise elements work perfectly in the hands of this plaza for tropical prêt-a-porter: Rio sets its own standards, and compares only to itself. A very unique use of tones, raw and shiny textures, as well as geometrical or flaunty shapes give an unmistakable flair to the runways, in fashion shows as well as on the beach.
Until early 20th Century Brazilian fashion was almost entirely determined by European trends, which meant that clothing rarely adapted to the tropical climate. In these early decades international styles were led by French designers, who liberated women from the corset.
The bikini was designed in Paris in 1946, causing such uproar that it was named after the Bikini Atoll, a small patch of the Atlantic Ocean where Americans performed atomic tests. It was first worn in Rio de Janeiro two years later, and has since become an iconic symbol of Carioca beach culture. In 1962, the very first flip flops were created in Brazil, based on Japanese footwear, which paved the way for the world renowned Havaiana brand.
Mod, Hippie and Grunge fashions dominated the 60s, 70s and 80s across the West, widely influenced by popular music of the time such as rock, disco, grunge and metal.
Being Rio de Janeiro home to a variety of heritages, cultures, and subcultures, fashion and trends developed accordingly. Carioca style is celebrated for its bright and vibrant colours which suit the sunny climate, yet there is a marked distinction between the types of outfits worn for work and leisure.
The city is extremely cultural and diverse, and has several artistic and original currents running through its lively streets. Samba, Surf and Bossa Nova are some of the genres that give fashion a unique character here, and can be found in all the artistic expressions that local designers choose.
While the huge diversity of colours, shapes, models and designs can seem random to the visitor, there are clear and specific guidelines for places, occasions, and subcultures. Beach attire follows clear rules, often as much as formal and elegant ambiances: visitors notice immediately there is no reason to look messy at the beach.
Art, beauty and elegance are paramount in Rio's lifestyle. The beach and its sceneries, activities and sensations are the main attraction in this city's life and the perfect spot for these experiences to join in is fashion. Swimwear designers are a great hit all year round, because their products are not a touristic attraction, but a way of life for all citizens.
During the week men and women tend to opt for suits, formal clothing and closed shoes. There is a certain art to selecting these items given the hot and humid climate - both sexes tend to wear loose fitting items made of light fabrics.
A distinct facet of everyday and night-time fashions is that both men and women have quite a natural look. Denim shorts, loose strap tops, flowing skirts and dresses, vibrant t-shirts and sandals can be seen at bars, squares, parks and beaches. Make-up is usually quite discreet, and men's hair is typically short and rugged, often accompanied by a total shave or a light beard at most.
While the classic look is natural and free-spirited, especially around the beaches, Cariocas tend to be neat and well-kempt. Shoes and clothes are fresh, clean and un-crumpled. Many women leave their locks to fall naturally, others regularly have them straightened. It is also a widespread practice for both men and women to have manicures and pedicures.
Multi-cultural prints and styles, skirts and jewellery, are a regular component of the Carioca wardrobe. There are popular local designer brands for young people in the city and wider Brazil - pioneering voices in Brazilian fashion, catering to people of all styles and persuasions through vibrant, fresh and alluring pieces. Rio's designs fuse high-end originality and sophistication, with an awareness of the everyday needs of Brazilian men and women.
A trait of this fashion city is its diversity, and there is something for everyone: from the classiest and most prestigious to the regular surfer, Rio de Janeiro finds a way to meet needs and please the mood, and even connect with undiscovered wishes. This versatility can be found under various brands, splashing with exotic experiences ingenuity and creativity.
The fashion industry in Rio has been growing in breadth and repute over the past years, and the city now hosts a variety of seminal fashion fairs which fashionistas and stylists from across the globe schedule their year around. The city is also home to the important institution called the "Academia Brasileira da Moda," the Brazilian Academy of Fashion.
The rich cultural scene holds a spot for all artistic expressions and fashion makes numerous appearances in the Carioca calendar, especially with Rio de Janeiro's Fashion Weeks, which yearly lead the way with summer and winter editions. These occasions, are among a vast and strong web of events which cover the year and the country with exciting shows. The greatest names in the industry, as well as key influences from abroad, come together in this fest to amaze with the magnificence of their night gowns, the freshness of their posh and laid-back signatures, and the sophisticated bathing suits. In earth colors and pastels, sparkled with bright reds and springtime prints, femininity and allure are the true stars of the show.
Style comes naturally, thanks to the poise and natural beauty of Brazilian women: the real life muses in the city's soul. Brazilian super models and fashion trend setters are examples of the importance of Brazil's fashion interest and of its women's flair and beauty. Flaunty hair is one of the trademarks of this Brazilian city: whether it is long surfer locks, or a mermaid wavy mane, healthy and lustrous hair is devotedly sought after.
Some ideas, for those not as accustomed to the humidity and the wind typical of the beach side, can be very helpful to keep up with the near perfect standards of the locals. The "Brazilian blowout" straightening hair technique has many adepts, while more natural trends are becoming just as popular with ideals for healthy beauty treatments, instead of chemical options.
Shopping in Rio de Janeiro can be as diverse as the city's 160 neighbourhoods, 70 beaches, and infinite bars. Luxury and exclusive shopping malls are available as much as exciting street markets where everything is a bargain - not to mention antique fairs, the famous Ipanema Hippy Fair, or the charming Copacabana night stands.
A variety of options to cater to all tastes and budgets are scattered throughout all districts, and give everyone a perfect alternative for a rainy day. Mini shopping malls, almost disguised as single shops, hide inside building in every corner of town - away from the spot light, these centers are a favorite among local bargain hunters.
So, if the beaches, bikinis, and heat of Rio become too much, then the city has some brilliant shopping opportunities for a dose of retail therapy. There are numerous malls, shopping complexes, boutiques, and tiny one off stores to keep eager buyers happy.
Prices can vary like the weather in the summer - so location can mean the difference between expensive and bargain - especially for clothing, shoes, arts and crafts, and souvenirs.
Barra Shopping is Rio's largest and most popular mall - located in the district of Barra da Tijuca, it is almost a small city in itself, complete with restaurants and movie theatres in the adjacent New York City centre - home to more restaurants, pubs, and even fitness clubs. It is undoubtedly the place to go for a shopping spree, with hundreds of stores spread across a 4km-long stretch, from high-street names to independently owned fashion and jewellery stores. Not far in the same neighbourhood, the new comer on the shopping scene is the posh and trendy Village Mall, displaying only the best of the best of Brazilian and international brands.
Also targeting the sophisticated consumer, is the São Conrado Fashion Mall - home to upscale stores each displaying exclusive designer brands. Cosmetic, sporting, and electronic shops supply the moneyed tourists and Cariocas with all they need for a fun afternoon. The space is open and airy, and the ambience more relaxed than other shopping complexes. Here, it is not unusual to spot Brazilian celebrities and fashion models perusing the stores, at times on their way to the local cinema equipped with four screens and convenient valet parking.
For great shopping, and near the most popular beach areas, the impressive, Rio Sul mall is conveniently situated in Botafogo, and the chic Shopping Leblon is right at the heart of the Leblon Distrcit. With hundreds of stores, a variety of restaurants, and a movie theatres, these malls are located close to many of Rio's most popular landmarks, such as the Sugar Loaf and Corcovado mountains.
Leblon is a posh neighborhood where to find restaurants, designer boutiques and a sultry view of the town. It is also near the Babilônia Feira Hype, a monthly event that showcases fashion, design, culinary and music artists with an underground, meaningful and unrepeatable touch. Guest exhibitors and live shows from upcoming or world known artists and DJ's add to the experience, which is one of the most shared and anticipated by the locals eager to meet new fashion tendencies.
Brazilian fashion is still marked by an aesthetic syncretism – a mixture of influences, identities, concepts and trends. This unique fusion is constantly being enriched by Carioca designers, and can be found at high-end events and stores, trendy shopping malls, as well as in charming fashion fairs across the city.
In addition to the trendy shopping districts and malls that pepper the city, there are also a number of fashion and clothing fairs. One of the most celebrated of these is a bimonthly event called "O Cluster," that brings together refined and experimental fashion, music and gastronomy in a beautiful mansion in the Botafogo neighbourhood.
There is room for other fashion fairs, such as the one held every Sunday in the iconic neighborhood of Ipanema: the Feira Hippie Market, which gives visitors and locals excellent chances to see and enjoy the antique treasures and fit perfectly in the retro chic scene of the easygoing vibe that only Rio de Janeiro can give, and guaranteed to produce some interesting objects for anyone interested in Carioca arts and crafts.
Anyone looking for clothing and shoes at discounted prices, should head to centro's downtown, especially along the streets Rua Uruguaiana, Rua da Alfândega, and Rua Buenos Aires, where fashion outlets dominate the street fronts of the landmark shopping district called "SAARA."
When shopping for original art, The neighbourhood of Santa Teresa is the hangout spot for many of Rio's artists and creative minds, so many art galleries adorn the cobbled streets and narrow alleyways. The cafés, bars, and restaurants of this charming neighbourhood provide relief for tired feet after a long day's shopping, while some beautiful examples of Brazilian artwork can be purchased in the neighbourhood - from the affordable to the more expensive, and consistently unique.
For more specialized items, like musical instruments, Rua da Carioca is a street with a plethora of musical shops where native Brazilian intruments such as Bahian guitars, Rabecas, and Pandieros can be bought - they all make great souvenirs and presents for family back home.
With such a fluid understanding of trends, interests and exploration of sensations and experiences, it is no surprise that the Carioca creativity results in a very wide offer of materials and techniques, which consequently produces unlikely and exquisite creations in décor, jewelry, beauty treats and accessories.