SPFW Murals

MEXICO CITY São Paulo Fashion Week draped Brazil’s financial capital with a series of giant film projections to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

The projections were mostly 130 feet long by 98 feet wide and were featured in buildings and monuments including the São Paulo Municipal Theater, upscale Paulista Avenue, the Correios or mail building and in the FIESP industrial federation headquarters tower. The cone-shaped landmark tower houses a large cultural center and sits in front of São Paulo’s Museum of Art.

The 11 clips commemorated key moments in the event’s 25-year history including throwbacks of key fashion shows such as Gisele Bündchen’s last catwalk in spring 2015 — or Victoria’s Secret Angel Adriana Lima’s most famous runway show. The clips, which were played in conjunction with the fall runway calendar, recounted past editions’ overarching themes such as sustainability, prosperity or equality. A series of mural artworks were also fixed along main strips, featuring catchphrases such as “transformation” or “inspire.” The event invested 4.5 million reals, or $836,000, in the project.

“We decided to share all the important things São Paulo Fashion Week has done over the past 25 years, how we go beyond fashion shows and clothing,” cofounder Graca Cabral told WWD, adding that the event provided a series of collages underscoring its impact on the city’s fashion and culture scene. “Over the past 25 years, we have created a fashion culture which wasn’t present in Brazil.”

The digital feat was the first to take place in a global fashion week, according to Cabral.

“This is the first time this was done in Brazil and globally,” she said. “Normally, fashion shows around the world are more inclusive and restrictive” but this event was meant to be more democratic, “bringing a much broader audience to engage with fashion.”

The event, which ended Nov. 8, drew 700 to 1,000 average online visitors to each of its 36 shows compared to 200 to 300 in its physical version, Cabral said.

“We were the first fashion week to broadcast our shows live in the 2000s, something that had not been done in New York, London or Paris, which began doing this 10 years later,” Cabral added.

The week, which had to cancel its spring edition as the coronavirus raged through Brazil (the pandemic had killed 163,000 people as of press time, though infections were decreasing), saw Instagram engagement soar 400 percent year-over-year as well as higher YouTube engagement.

Fashion observers said the digital projections were a good idea that other countries may mirror, but they noted not all was perfect.

“It was a very nice show and something completely new for Brazil and the world, but was not the same as having a physical show with the music and sound, etc.,” said Brazilian designer Lenny Niemeyer, noting that the process to upload a six-minute digital show took 14 hours. “There was no sound [for the films] and with so much traffic around the city, no one could stop to see them. People could see the concept behind the collections but it was not the same as the real thing.”

Brazilian fashion designer and influencer Chris Pitanguy agreed the films made fashion more accessible to the masses, nurturing the arts in the country’s largest metropolis.

“I liked the films, which were like documentaries and I think people are going to continue doing digital shows in different formats [at least while the pandemic lasts],” she said. “But it wasn’t as close as a real fashion show, with the buyers, the journalists and clients all present at the same time, which is more fresh and I miss that.”

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