Charles Baudelaire, the 19th century French poet, wrote that “anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself.” If he were alive today he would be a blogger. Or so thinks Mabi, a character on the popular Brazilian soap opera TiTiTi. According to her, Baudlaire would be all about multimedia self-advertising, would likely be a model and “emo.” Mabi, played by teenaged actress Clara Tiezzi, should certainly know about such things. According to the show’s official website, she “maintains a polemic blog where she criticizes, with wit and class, everything and everyone in the fashion industry.” She dresses in a manner quite different to most young Brazilian women, combining large lens glasses, bow-ties worn over tee-shirts and bows or feathery fascinators placed atop her short blonde hair.
Does she remind anyone else of another teenage fashion blogger, famous for her distinctive style and witty bon mots? Her name is two letters off and her manner of dress, her age and her blogging about fashion all point directly to Tavi Gevinson. I knew that Tavi’s blog, The Style Rookie, was widely read in North America, but I had no idea she was so famous back home.
I should explain that soap operas are a big deal in Brazil. They air at prime time and entire families are transfixed by their dramas. My 95-year old Nana, who never learned to read or write, watches them daily and discusses them endlessly with her neighbours. Viewed by millions, Brazilian soaps both reflect what’s going on in the culture and influence it, starting trends in fashion and music and even affecting the way people speak, inserting slang into our beloved Portuguese. To a certain extent, they are pop culture.
Artist Jessica Bartram first showed her watercolour portraits of Notable Victorians (all of whom happened to be animals) at Industrees Gallery (now defunct) last year. She is currently creating portraits of a fresh set of characters and searching for a new gallery, but she kindly contributed a few designs of ascot-wearing lions for WORN’s Pin Party. Whether they are members of high society or the Dickensian fishmongers, chimney sweeps or strumpets of the streets, her characters are always fabulously dressed.
Clothing and props play a significant role in the establishment of character in your work. Do you get as much inspiration from hats, ties and monocles as you do from animals?
Yes, I’m most definitely attracted to the ornate and slightly mad elements of Victorian fashion – the crazy hats adorned with whole taxidermied birds, the mammoth sleeves, bustles. It’s a rich field from which to harvest all kinds of inspiration! I’m always trolling Flickr, Google images, and Tumblr old photos to use as reference, and it’s inevitably the crazier outfits that catch my eye. There’s a printout on my bulletin board of a portrait of a lady wearing a striped silk dress (with a tightly cinched waist sash and enormous mutton-leg sleeves) and a heavily feathered hat – she’s probably my next dress reference.
Growing up I always thought fashion was just another synonym for trend. You see, in my city that is just what it is: girls with the same hairstyle wearing whatever is considered “hot” or each season’s “must-have” items. Like many other teenagers, my rebellion phase started when I was around 15. I dyed my hair red and started wearing the boys’ version of my school uniform. For the first time I felt like I was really expressing myself, just for the fact that I didn’t look like everyone else. Since I moved from Brazil to Canada to attend university in 2008, I have embraced my fashion sense. Today I feel like I have given that word a meaning of my own and being at WORN makes me feel like I’m finally home. Other than fashion, my interests include International Development (which is what I study in school), gender issues, and anything horror related. My favourite TV show of all time is Jeopardy.
Vintage Madison Ave.
This Tumblr has a bunch of vintage ads that are super interesting, but to tell you the truth I only check it so I can drool over all the outfits.
I love Isabel’s blog. She was one of the first friends I made in Canada, and her style has influenced me a lot. I also love to read her posts because she always has something interesting to say.
Follow the Colours
Although it’s in Portuguese, I find that the images posted are pretty self-explanatory. This blog covers design ideas as well as just random (and weird!) knick-knacks that I would love to have around my house or in my closet. The related blogs are also very cool.
Chic – Gloria Kalil
Although this website tends to go on the “what-you-should-wear-this-season” side, I like to read it in order to keep up with what is going on in Brazilian Fashion. It has a pretty good coverage of events such as Fashion Rio and Sao Paulo Fashion week, to cite a few.
Although this website is not directly related to fashion, I tend to channel different horror movies to come up with outfits. Right now, I am working on my Freddy Krueger ensemble.
I haven’t paid attention to soccer since winning the M.I.P. award on my fifth grade team (not to brag or anything). Our intern Deua, however, knows how FIFA fever is done. She showed up to our staff meeting last night repping her native Brazil. Dunno about the rest of the world, but I think showing team spirit with awesome disco pants and ripped tights beats the vuvuzela any day.
Photo by Alyssa K. Faoro