RIO DE JANEIRO — Forget fluorescent spandex: Rio's catwalks were awash in the most exclusive of materials on Friday as Agatha fielded a winter 2012 collection in shaggy Mongolian lamb, patchworks of snakeskin and lustrous velvet.
Brazilian supermodel Isabeli Fontana, a regular on top catwalks in Paris, Milan and New York, opened the show — the top-paid model setting the tone for a production that was rich in every sense of the word.
Flippy cocktail dresses in lustrous inky black velvet swung seductively as the models walked, some of them wearing funky snakeskin visors or cropped vests in Mongolian fur.
But the loveliest pieces in the strong show were the dresses in velvet covered with little square appliques, like scales.
Sao Paulo-based designer Walter Rodrigues said he was inspired by Austrian director Michael Haneke's 2009 film "The White Ribbon" about nascent fascism in a German village ahead of World War I, and the first half of his eponymous collection had an unmistakable Germanic rigidity about it.
Models wore sweeping black skirts and cropped jackets with crisp white shirts, their heads covered by what appeared to be a piece of curved construction paper.
Only the combat boots on their feet gave the slightly stiff, dated looks a punkish edge. The Amish punk vibe of the first half mutated into a Gypsy punk look as the models emerged in eye-popping prints, cropped wide-legged pants in vertical stripes with a long jacket in bright flower prints, their hair tied up in bright scarves.
R. Groove, the sole all-menswear display in the first four days of Rio fashion week, delivered the kind of pared-down utilitarian chic that a trustafarian would wear on a backpacking trip around the world. In a muted palette of khaki, gray, Bordeaux and white, the low-crotched pants and plain-fronted jackets and wind-breakers felt both rugged and pricey at the same time.