Bird’s Globe-Trotting Lass Jen Mankins Gives Us The Low-Down On Sao Paolo Fashion Week

I was beyond excited as I boarded my flight to Brazil for Sao Paulo Fashion Week—I'd never been to Brazil before, didn't speak a word of Portuguese, and had heard a dizzying array of stories about everything from bombshell bikini babes and all-night dance parties to gridlock traffic and bulletproof glass. I knew it was going to be a great trip when the tattooed rocker that sat down next to me on the plane turned out to be the buyer for one of the biggest stores in the Middle East—can't judge a book by its cover! And the same goes for Sao Paulo. I was blown away by the energy and sophistication of the designers showing at the Bienal Pavilion in Ibirapuera Park and also the hordes of fans who flocked to the shows, pleading for extra tickets like it was a World Cup final. Here's more of my recent Brazilian rendez-vous...
Above: "One night at 2 a.m. I was taken to a crazy house party by Brazilian designer Cecilia Prado. We danced all night and I fell in love with the metallic 70s disco wallpaper as well as the platters of chocolate truffles, fresh watermelon and lime juice cocktails. They totally know how to throw parties in this town!"
"Front row at local fashion hero Alexandre Herchcovitch. Best fashion show freebie EVER! In one of the most anticipated shows of the week, he cited American football as his inspiration and took the current trends of bold shoulders and structured silhouettes to extreme proportions. Giant padded shoulders and hips and nipped waists all shown in the wild prints and bold colors he is known and loved for. Standing ovation."
"Poolside with Stephanie Pappas from Eva boutique at the Casamoda showroom. Why can't more showrooms in New York have swimming pools?!? I saw lots of great lines here including Juliana Jabour, Neon and Pelu."
"No words can justly describe the platform shoes shown with every look at the Gloria Cohelo show. My husband summed it up best when he said they would be perfect for starring in a Cremaster film by Matthew Barney."
"What makes a raging dance party with free champagne even better? A ceiling full of mirrored disco balls!  That's what I found at the after-party for the brand Neon at the best space in town, Bar Secreto, run by Karina Motta and Sebastian Orth, who also runs Surface to Air in Brazil. Great food, great music, gorgeous people getting down, what more can you ask for? Now if only I'd snapped a picture of the fabulous Neon designer Dudu Bertholini..."
"Hanging out with cult designer Renaldo Fraga at his stunning shop on Rua Aspicuelta in the beautiful neighborhod of Vila Madalena. He was shockingly calm, cool and collected a mere 24 hours before his show was set to start."
"Iconic show pieces from his archive hang from the fruit tree in the garden behind the store. He is also known for his wonderful, whimsical collection for children. I practically bought one of everything for my nieces and nephew."
"When you need a break, a beer or a snack of any and all things delicious, hop in a taxi and head downtown to the enormous Mercado Municipal.  Vendors sell candy, meats, cheese, olives, bread, spices, tobacco, coffee and fruit."
"All beer in Brazil is served thirst-quenchingly ICE-COLD which makes it dangerously easy to drink."
"When fashion week came to a close, like all good Paulistinos, I headed out of town for the weekend. Goodbye concrete jungle...hello Rio de Janeiro!"
"Nightime view of the famous, incomparable Copacabana Beach.  Now if I could just stop singing Duran Duran and Barry Manilow!"
"Catching some rays and getting some much needed downtime on Ipanema Beach."