When the words “Brazilian” and “fashion” are uttered in sequence, it is almost certain that most people outside Latin America will think of practical swimwear and flip-flops. It was with this prejudice in mind that I took my seat on the front row of Adriana Degreas‘s runway show that showcased her women’s swimwear and poolside lounge wear during São Paulo Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2014. However, I could not have been more wrong: after watching the runway show, I had to admit that Degreas revealed a strong command of sartorial nous in a collection of luxurious swimwear and holiday lounge garments.
Inspired by the geometric shapes and monochromatic designs that characterized Art Deco architecture and design, Degreas opted to have her models strutting on a checked black and white carpet. This runway served not only as a way to mirror the colours chosen for the collection but also evoked tiling patterns in buildings designed by Rio de Janeiro architects inspired by their French counterparts during the 1920s and 1930s. This interpretation of a long-gone notion of high class pervaded an elegant collection that treated swimwear as an alluringly luxurious clothing form of its own accord.
In addition to swimsuits with see-through fabrics that allowed for coconut tree silhouettes to alternate with sharp geometric patterns in black or bright red, Adriana Degreas unveiled an elegant range of sleeveless and backless jumpsuits with deep V-neck lines, chiffon kaftans with silver embroideries in circular patterns, and flowing dresses that combined shimmering materials with silk elements. If there was a way to elevate swimwear to the realm of fashion, this was most certainly it.