What makes fashion designer Ronaldo Fraga one of the most alluring fashion designers currently working in Brazil is his unique capacity to engender narratives and tell stories through the elaborate garments, looks and runway shows that he constructs every season. However, that is precisely and the main flaw that makes Fraga’s work simultaneously and paradoxically inscrutable.
If for Autumn/Winter 2013 Fraga had invested in the process of story-telling as a trope (quite literally with texts from novels inscribed in the fabrics used in his garments), for Spring/Summer 2014, he found inspiration in the history of Brazilian football and its nostalgic imagery. In a runway set as a football field, with makeshift goal posts made from bamboo, models sported an array of garments that quite literally illustrated a form of football povero: baggy clothes made from plastic and metallic fibres were printed with wide brushstrokes of bright colours (that contrasted against whites) to invoke a rudimentary and popular perception of football, and hexagonal shapes (inspired by the actual leather pieces that make up a football) were used to create patterns.
As Fraga himself explained, “I am overwhelmed by the passionate and romantic soccer of the 30s, 40s and 50s, by the soccer played on grassless fields and their handmade uniforms, by bold colours and graphic stripes, and by particular stories that illustrate a time when soccer in Brazil was synonymous with passion, art and magic.” If this inspiration that lead to the development of the conceptual process could have been interesting and rewarding from a metonymic and therefore suggestive point of view, Ronaldo Fraga’s latest collection suffered from adopting the concept to a very literal interpretation.