During the 34th edition of São Paulo Fashion Week that unveiled collections for Autumn/Winter 2013, there was only one runway show that focused exclusively on menswear, perhaps reflecting the conservative approach to fashion that still characterises Latin American male consumers. In contrast with this view and the overwhelming predominance of dull options when it comes to Brazilian menswear retail, João Pimenta produced an intelligent and well-researched collection where the conceptual narrative was adroitly manipulated to create a series of accomplished garments.
The collection was inspired by the images of Brazilian male rogues of the 1930s and how they engendered concepts of masculinity in diverse art forms, namely sculpture and cinema. The focus was on how suits and overcoats worn by the ‘malandro’ men in the Brazil of the 1930s served to inspire contemporary silhouettes: high-waisted, tapered and pleated trousers or tight-fitting Long Johns were balanced by the bulbous shapes created by belting jackets, by attaching safari-style patch pockets, or by introducing internal slits in the fabric at torso, knee or elbow levels (a tailoring technique used since Edwardian times that Pimenta proved to master proficiently).
The exploration of innovative fabrics also imbued the collection with stunning metallic effects and shimmering textures from velvet, leather and glittered serge. When The Style Examiner interviewed Pimenta backstage, the designer admitted that, given the lack of fabrics in Brazil, he had to make his own. This creative process resulted in elegant combinations of linen with Lurex that were achieved after a large number of trials and experiments. The colour palette concentrated on black, beige, cream, shades of light pink, reddish brown, whereas dashes of gold, wide stripes and floral paisley were used to evoke a combination of masculine and feminine imagery with the intention to question the tradition of menswear.
Ultimately, this was a sophisticated collection whose conceptual narrative might have failed to be understood by Brazilian men. Nevertheless, even if local consumers may fail to grasp João Pimenta’s intentions, The Style Examiner believes that buyers worldwide should definitely keep an eye on the work of this talented designer and follow his impending success.