Brazilian Fashion Goes Way Beyond Bikini Bottoms
It’s hard to ignore the stereotypical associations aligned with Carmen Miranda, but the Luso-Brazilian bombshell was far more than a fruit-filled headdress and colorful beads. More than seventy years after her studio debut in Down Argentine Way, the hallmarks of Miranda’s flamboyant look remain both iconic and controversial. The layered jewelry, the baiana costume, and midriff-baring tops were all part of Hollywood’s effort to exoticize her and started trends in the States in the 1940s; but back in Brazil, Miranda was criticized for misrepresenting the culture. Regardless, she both helped to popularize samba internationally and served as a source of inspiration for designers to this day—Jean Paul Gaultier, Charlotte Dellal, and Marc Jacobs, to name a few.
As one of Brazil’s greatest singers ever, Elis Regina is remembered fondly for her adventurous performance style and her contributions to both the Tropicália movement and bossa nova genre. Fearless both onstage and when it came to fashion, Regina evolved her look several times during her career, moving from long-haired teen songstress in cocktail dresses and demure gowns to a powerful pixie cut–sporting gamine.
Photo: sonia braga - Bing images
Before Gisele and her model brethren came onto the scene, Sônia Braga defined Brazilian sexiness. A film star since her teens, Braga hit it big in the ’70s with Gabriela, a telenovela adaptation of Jorge Amado’s Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon. Braga’s performance as the sensual, earthy heroine made her famous—as did her wardrobe of barely there dresses. Unmistakable, due to her waist-length curly hair and unabashed love of a high-fashion red carpet moment, Braga is a regular at Cannes where her dramatic gowns—and powerhouse roles—still delight.