Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Big in Japan

Being that we’d never been to Sao Paulo’s version of Fashion Week, we were a little confused when we strolled in on Tuesday morning to the cavernous Fundacao Bienal de Sao Paulo pavilion that houses the bulk of the shows — and found ourselves surrounded by hordes of Japanese people. We chalked it up to our general state of confusion, the 9 a.m. caipirinhas we’d had on the way from the airport, and the fact that this city is like a huge, denser version of LA. Turns out we were in the right spot, however. (Check out our photo gallery for full Day 1 action.) This edition of SPFW coincided with Sao Paulo’s Japan week, the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to Brazil (Sao Paulo has the largest population of Japanese people outside of Tokyo). The special Japan theme was enough to draw Japanese fashion bigshots like Kenzo Takada, Issey Miyake prez Nobuyuki Ota, clusters of elegant Japanese fashion women, gaggles of Japanese schoolgirls, and of course, us.

The first, big show was Osklen, and sure enough, the clothes had a decidedly Japanese flavor. We hung out with Osklen designer Oskar Metsavaht backstage, met his fam, talked in our broken Portuguese about his innovative e-fabric concept that promotes sustainability and biodiversity, and continued drinking those omnipresent caipirinhas. Several shows and about 25 parties later, we had officially wrapped up the first day of SPFW, and it was apparent that a full week of this Brazilian-Japanese cross-cultural experiment was going to kick our ass, in a good way. The night ended in some derelict hip hop club listening to early Tupac and trying not to step on the wrong dude’s kicks, a radical departure from the low key Asian vibe of the SPFW pavilion. More of a South Bronx theme, one could say. More to come.

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