Already a firm favourite among the fashionista crowd for her sky high heels and innovational inner-soles that make turning heads while strutting down the street a whole lot easier, British shoe designer Kat Maconie is getting ready to launch in the Brazilian market. With the growth in the luxury goods sector on a par with Brazil’s soaring economic fortunes, international designers are quickly coming to the conclusion that this is the market to conquer. And what better place to start than the swimwear shows of Spring Summer 2012 in the capital of beach cool, Rio de Janeiro? The girl certainly knows what she is doing.
Why Rio? The production of my shoes is done in the south of Brazil, in Porto Alegre, and I always make sure I add an extra few days on my trip so that I can stop off in Rio. While Sao Paulo may be known as the fashion capital of Brazil, the equivalent of Milan or Paris, Rio has this latent pulsating energy and overwhelming happiness that is infectious and I find very inspirational.
So, what is the deal with Rio Fashion week? I was approached by luxury Brazilian swimwear brand Triya to work with them on providing the shoes for their Spring/Summer 2012 runway show during Rio Fashion week and decided that it was the right opportunity to launch Kat Maconie Shows in the Brazilian market. It seems Brazil is on an unstoppable rise at the moment and it makes it a very interesting market to work in. Aside from that, Rio is surely the hottest city in the world in which to collaborate on a swimwear show!
The place to be? Fashion week takes place at Pier Maua, which is a renovated industrial area near the port. It is a very cool space, but after the shows we usually head back to private parties around the beach or Lagoa. Londra, the hip cocktail bar at the Fasano throws some great parties and you can always escape up to the rooftop bar for a breath of fresh air. Last time we ended up drinking gold flaked champagne in the utterly glamorous Copa bar at the Copacabana Palace and then went to watch the sunrise over Ipanema beach .
To escape it all? I love the private beach at Joatinga, a hidden gem of a neighbourhood that most tourists rarely visit. This is where boutique hotel La Suite is located and, if I am short on time, I usually spend at least one night here to unwind. The views out to sea are incredible and you really feel like you are in a jungle paradise, despite the fact you are only 15 minutes from Ipanema beach. For a weekend retreat, I head to Buzios, the St Tropez of Latin America. It is only a 20 minute helicopter ride from Rio and is one of my favourite places to relax. I stay at Casas Brancas, a beautiful Mediterranean style boutique hotel set right on the bay, and just a short drive from my the legendary beach lounge- Rocka. Many a sunny afternoon has been whiled away sipping passionfruit caipirinhas on their white day beds and gazing out to sea.
What to buy? My favourite Brazilian designer at the moment is Osklen – not only are his clothes beautiful and impeccably structured, but for me, he really sums up what it must feel like to be a Carioca. All the material he uses is ethically sourced and the brand is inspiring as they are constantly developing projects that support the environment and local communities. They have recently bought the whole area around Prainha, one of the city’s most beautiful beaches, to ensure its preservation.
The people to know? At the moment I am travelling a lot and often have very little time to plan my trips, When I come to Brazil I leave everything in the hands of luxury travel specialists Dehouche – Although they are British run, they are based in Rio and they always have me in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
To follow in Kat’s fashionable footsteps, contact Dehouche.
For stockists: www.katmaconie.com.