Domestic designers open Sao Paulo fashion week

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Proceedings at the Candido Portinari exhibition park in Sao Paulo opened with a glittering selection of designs by home brand Animale, whose models took to the runway sporting patterns inspired by the famed Silk Road trade route.

Bell-bottomed trousers, roomy white blouses and woollen coats, as well as touches of velvet and lace all conjured the image of a footloose-but-feminine fashion-conscious woman.

“We live in an era which questions, reviews, indulges in large-scale overhauls,” said Sao Paulo Fashion Week director Paulo Borges, noting that the event he helped to create is approaching its 20th anniversary, having debuted in 1995.

Prior to that, Borges reminisced: “Nobody spoke about fashion in Brazil. Nobody thought it could be what it is today — internationally recognized and respected worldwide.”

As the afternoon progressed, other marques each took a share of the spotlight, from Uma Raquel Davidowicz to Tufi Duek and Cavalera.

Others, including Pedro Lourenco, Joao Pimenta and Osklen — already making a name for itself well beyond Brazil — will join them through Friday in Latin America’s biggest fashion show.

The Brazilian fashion industry is home to 300,000 firms and Borges estimates 90 percent of production is destined for the domestic market.

Despite that home focus, leading lights from abroad will be making their presence felt in Sao Paulo this week, as McCartney and Versace launch collections designed to appeal to Brazilian tastes in a market of 202 million people.

McCartney will launch creations for the C&A chain, while Versace is teaming up with Brazilian department store Riachuelo.

Adding a dash of home glamour will be top model Gisele Bundchen, the face of Brazilian label Colcci.

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