RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch claims to have made what just might be the world's most desirable pair of jeans: whipped up from a high-tech denim that combats cellulite so its wearers can hone their beach bodies even as they bundle up for Brazil's gentle winters.
Herchcovitch's so-called "beauty denim," which he says harnesses body heat and turns it into infrared rays that stimulate cellulite-combatting micro-circulation, made its debut at the designer's winter 2014 show at Fashion Rio, Rio de Janeiro's four-day fashion extravaganza, which wrapped up on Saturday.
The jury is still out on the veracity of the Sao Paulo designer's claim to have produced the world's first anti-cellulite denim. Herchcovitch says five years of research into the product shows it is effective, but medical experts have cautioned there is no miracle cure for cellulite. All that aside, the models donning the denim looked like they had precious little need of micro-circulation as they stomped the catwalk.
In skinny jeans and cat suits made from a patchwork of indigo and grey denim with a metallic sheen, the models looked like tough, street-wise urban incarnations of medieval knights in suits of armor. The skinny jean cum pleated skirt combos looked like what a 21st century Joan of Arc would wear, while the high-impact eyewear _ oversized sunglasses in the shape of ski masks _ conjured an urban knight's protective visor.
Besides "beauty denim," the other material of choice on Rio's catwalks was suede. Hand-painted or laser-cut, in earth tones or eye-popping hues, plenty of it was on display at the winter 2014 shows, which opened under unusually chilly and drizzly skies for the southern hemisphere's spring.
Brazil's reigning queen of leather, Patricia Viera, looked to the 1970s for a collection of maxi-dresses and flares in supple, jewel-tone leather laser cut so intricately the clothes almost appeared to be made from lace. The collection also included plenty of the kinds of hand-painted pieces that have become her hallmark, including bellbottoms and skirts that bloomed with a multicolored riot of wildflowers. The highlights of the strong collection were the suede mini-dresses and fringed jackets emblazoned with oversized Hopi Indian Kachina dolls.
Suede also made a strong showing at Sao Paulo-based label Iodice, where the material vamped it up in a sexy shift dress with silver studs. Brazilian supermodel Aline Weber opened the show, which also featured sumptuous silks emblazoned with hippy, trippy paisleys.
Victor Dzenk's catwalk was swimming in paisleys, too. The designer, who hails from Brazil's central Minas Gerais state, looked across the Atlantic to Morocco for inspiration, fielding a collection steeped in the bohemian glamour of Marrakech in its heyday.
The show also included a sprinkling of menswear looks, the highlight of which were undoubtedly the Speedo-style swimsuits paired with flowing paisley-covered capes that made the beefy male models look like Superman on a beach holiday.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)