Carioca fashion with tuscan roots
All the technical expertise of Italian-made products at the service of Brazilian creativity: this is the recipe with which Rioparalelo makes its debut at Florence’s Pitti W.
The only Brazilian label present at the Pitti Immagine fair-event devoted to special projects in women’s fashion (and held concomitantly with Pitti Uomo from 19 to 22 June), the brand of Italian-Brazilian Alexia Costa sinks part of its roots into the Tuscan tradition.
In actual fact, before returning to her homeland, the designer worked also in Florence, where she oversaw the leather ranges of prestigious brands such as Gucci, YSL, Rive Gauche and Alexander McQueen.
After a period spent working in Paris, where in 2010 she oversaw John Galliano’s first women’s clothing range and its related fashion show, Alexia finally decided to set up her own label and opened her first shop in Rio de Janeiro.
“I left Rio at the age of 17 to study in Italy, the land of my father,” Alexia explains, “but I had promised myself that one day I would go back to Brazil.
When I started thinking about my own brand, the choice naturally fell to the city where my life and dreams had begun”.
And this is also the reason why the name Rioparalelo materialized almost instinctively.
The choice of the name highlights the trading of experiences between two cultures, that of the Old and that of the New Continent.
“Both cultures,” says Alexia, “run parallel in my idea of work: on one hand, the creativity and imagination that are typically Carioca; on the other, the technique and tradition that are typically European”.
Unsurprisingly, in Brazil – which today is the world’s sixth largest economy and has an increasingly demanding target clientele – Rioparalelo has already attracted the attention of the trade press and the public at large, to the extent that some of its garments can be seen in the soap opera “Fina Estampa”, broadcast by Brazil’s main television station, Rede Globo.
Potential that did not escape the keen business eye of Florentine Riccardo Campedelli, sales representative of more than 250 sales outlets scattered across the peninsula (but with the greatest concentration in the Centre-South and Sardinia), who decided to open his doors also to Rioparalelo, which now has the privilege of being the only foreign brand in Riccardo’s rich portfolio.
Riccardo’s four showrooms (two in Florence and two in Rome), in fact, host some of the most prestigious brands of Italian fashion, such as Renato Fusco and Ballantyne.
His clients include the suppliers of US President Barack Obama’s favourite trousers (Pt Pantaloni Torino), the brand that dresses most Italian members of parliament, both right- and left-wing (Lardini), and, last but not least, the brand that designs the jerseys worn by the coach of the Italian football team, Cesare Prandelli (Drumohr).
“I decided to tackle the international financial crisis head-on,” Campedelli explains, “not only by continuing to invest in the Italian market, but also by opening up to new talent from overseas”.