Monday, September 24, 2007


Much has been said about the so called "Brazilian Invasion" in the fashion world, particularly modeling, which started in the late 90's. The Brazilian girls bring an innate sensuality and sex appeal that had been missing from fashion. They also have a very international flavor that appeals to many markets because of the diverse heritage that many of them have - Native American, African, some Asian and/or varied European backgrounds - they have all the ethnic/race markets covered. Since the first 'invasion', there has been a wave of Eastern European and Russian girls that stole their thunder including Natalia V., Euguenia V., Carmen Kass, Hana and Natasha Poly, but the Brazilians have had a resurgence and are leading the pack again. Giselle has had a mammoth push recently, snagging a zillion covers and campaigns. But, before she became the most successful model in history, before Adrianna was a Victoria's Secret Angel and before Caroline T. became a fixture in American Vogue, there were the original Brazilian bombshells.


Giselle and Caroline R.
Raquel and Adriana
Caroline T. and Bruna
Emanuela and Solange

Pre-Giselle, there was the singular 90's sensation Giselle - the original one. Her big breakthrough was becoming the muse to Karl Lagerfeld for his eponymous collection, for Fendi and for Chanel. She had a very unconventional beauty with her trademark nose and severe Louise Brooks bob (which she later cut into a short, boyish fringe).
This girl was THE insider's model. Her runway was not to be messed with - she brought personality and energy to every passage. Her contemporaries included other diverse beauties such as Gurmit, Helena Barquilla and Tatiana Soroko. Then grunge happened and the entire mood in fashion changed from joyous to depressed. Giselle definitely goes into my MODEL HALL OF FAME (which will be published at some point!).


But the originator is none other than DALMA - one of the great, iconic models of all time. Dalma ruled from the 70's into the 90's. She was a favorite of every major designer including Valentino, Blass, de la Renta, St. Laurent, Ferre, Mugler and Mizrahi. In some regards, she (along with Iman) was the embodiment of the 80's - rich, shady, larger than life, and enough glamour to make any Hollywood actress look like a peasant. She had the diva thing on lock - one of my all time favorites.


But, alas, my favorite Brazilian of them all is my house model and friend Larissa B. She brings beauty, wit, humor and maturity beyond her years. And, miss thing has a walk that can start a fire! I call her Aunt Larissa because my dog, Weezie, is in love with her as well. We always joke that she is going to take me to court for joint custody of Weezie and that we will alternate weekends!

Me with my baby, Larissa.

Now I do have one question about the influx of Brazilian girls over the past 10 or so years - How is it that you can go to a country that has a HUGE African history and presence and you can't find any darker, more African looking girls to work in Europe, America and Asia? There was a gorgeous Afro-Brazilian girl several years ago who was a fave of YSL, but she has since disappeared (see below).

Thank God that Emanuela adds some diversity in the mix. When you see runway shows from Brazil, there are tons of fierce black girls - the problem is that the American and European agencies do not scout them. And fashion is supposed to be so universal - puhleaze!!!

1 comment:

Nafeesa said...

YEAH!! Everyone must think that Brazil is full of the blonde blue eyed women who are 7 feet tall with 0 % body fat. (Do I sound mad? I'm not mad) Anywho-I think what happened is that the fashion industry wants their "black models" to only come from Africa(and only certain parts of Africa at that)-a darker hue from an alternate piece of land makes everyone a little..hmm shall we say uneasy.