RIO DE JANEIRO - Just how many variations can you spin off the marvel of simplicity that is the bikini?
Judging by the options on spectacular display at FashionRio, the Marvelous City's five-day-long summer 2013 fashion extravaganza, the options are endless.
Fancy pairing your string bikini top with spandex pants hung with rows of seductively dangling fringe, which provide so much more coverage than the country's traditional "fio dental" or "dental floss" bottoms? Rio's got just the thing for you.
Toying with the idea of kitting out your two-piece with a chain mail sheath emblazoned with a palm tree? Look no further.
Bikinis are Brazilian designers' bread and butter, so while their winter collections tend to fall flat, with half-hearted attempts at outerwear, summer reliably sizzles. And the southern hemisphere summer collections that will hit the beach this coming January were no exception.
Sao Paulo-based label Triya served up the season's most eye-popping options, a psychedelic rainbow that broke the beachwear mould. Beyond the fringed pant bikini, the brand's brainchild, were tiny bottoms paired with long sleeve spandex tops cropped short to show off the models' abs and a zebra-printed bandeau top that sprouted an ankle length skirt in aubergine silk with a bold slit up one side.
Swimsuits more in name than in function, many of Triya's offerings looked like what you might wear to an ultra-chic beachside rave thrown by a billionaire. Putting aside the inevitable inconveniences of wearing a flowing silk ball gown to the beach, the only drawback to the wildly creative offerings were the bizarre tan lines they'd be sure to leave.
Cia. Maritima brought out the big guns - Victoria's Secret angel Izabel Goulart among other Brazilian-born supermodels - to show off its teeny-weeny bikinis. Goulart rocked the catwalk in a leopard print string bikini fitted with a sexy spider's web of thin yellow straps. Aline Weber, a regular on top runways in New York and Paris, worked a one-piece with cute cap sleeves and bold cutouts at the midriff. The pineapple prints gave a mouthwateringly tropical touch to the toothsome collection.
Va-va-voom one-pieces emerged as major winners here, with just about everyone who is anyone in Brazilian swimwear sending out variations on the vampish maillot. Top high-street beachwear label Blue Man sent out white swimsuits decidedly not made for anyone's grandma, with how-low-can-you-go V necks. And a strapless one-piece had hiplines that started at just under the bust, the whole seemingly precarious contraption held, one can only hope, in place by a low-slung belt.
Lenny, Brazil's reigning queen of patrician swimwear, served up racerback tanks that looked like they'd been tagged by a Rio graffiti artist and bikinis whose fuller coverage was undermined by a cat claw of strategically placed slashes. Paired with the bikini tops, the short, flippy skirts would make for the perfect transition from the sands of Ipanema to cocktail hour at the beachfront Hotel Fasano, among Rio's chicest and most expensive.
A raucous, theatrical show by streetwear label Reserva wrapped up FashionRio in style late Saturday.
Models of all ages, from toddlers to septuagenarians, and several ethnicities frolicked, skipped and breakdanced on a catwalk strewn, like a sprawling bourgeois home, with couches and armchairs and an oversized dining room table. The soundtrack pumped as the models sat down for a family lunch and then boogied over the photographers' pit to pull off their best dance moves in front of the snapping flashbulbs.
With its preppy multi-ethnic family vibe, the show had a sort of Abercrombie & Fitch thing going, but at the same time felt more authentically Brazilian than many of the week's other shows, most of which featured just a sprinkling of nonwhite models.