// Stylist, Fashion Commentary by Godfrey Deeny //
She’s the hottest most happening stylist in Brazil, a local ambassador for Kiehl’s in Latin America as well as a former star Brazilian model and is the chic presence at all things cool and Latin.
Meet Lara Gerin, an It Girl for one or two decades, ever since she moved to Tokyo as a teenager in the early days of the Nineties, igniting an interest in fashion and making her drive to be a creator of images, either in fashion shows or events.
“I realized I wanted to be a stylist when I began working with Issey Miyake,” she recalls.
She produces shoots for everyone from Brazil Elle to the local Vogue, and styles catwalk shows for Osklen, Brazil’s most important fashion label.
She debuted as a stylist with Osklen for the winter 2005 show in Sao Paolo entitled “Austral,” an elegant tale of ice skating ballerina babes and dashing surfers meeting in the Andes, which featured tutu style dresses and Osklen’s signature pants. Often combining elements of jodhpurs, architectural arches and motorbike elements, Osklen creates the most inventive modern trousers for men.
“I was inspired by that young ice skating champion, Sasha Cohen, and her sense of ice ballet drama,” Lara explains.
Since then Lara has gone on to style three more Osklen shows, one in Rio, a tropical chic collection that mimicked the twisting fauna of the Carioca coast.
“We created crazy accessories using surfboard fins as amulets, or morphing fish skeletons into necklaces and bracelets. Lots of flowers for girls and fruits for men,” smiles Lara, recalling that the next season followed the designer’s trip to the Himalayas, where the mood was mountainous and icy.
She further honed her skills with sportswear labels like Slam and developing the looks for a series of major Brazilian stars including Xuxa, Brazil’s top TV star, reinventing her as a freaky fashion plate with stripes, flowers and zigzags. Xuxa, born in modest family, and the ex-girlfriend of Pele and Ayrton Senna, was not exactly a fashion plate but Lara managed to give her a unique look.
“As I child I used to dress myself like Xuxa and her backup singers Paquitas at Carnival with white boots, mini shorts, glitz and jackets with brassy epaulettes, kind of like Balmain today!” she laughs.
A strikingly pretty woman, in her time Lara has strutted her stuff on catwalks for the likes of Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana and Chloe, during Karl Lagerfeld’s era as creative director.
“Fashion is all about looking for the right beat,” she tells me over a lazy breakfast on a terrace overlooking the pristine lighthouse of Jose Ignacio. It’s an old fisherman’s village on a sandy point, the innest of in-towns at Punta del Este, South America’s most civilized and chic resort.
Lara Pedrita Gerin, to give her full name, is sometimes better known as Pebbles, being so tall she could play volleyball during which she’d tie her chestnut mane up into a pebbly knot on the crown of her head.
Like all true Brazilian babe fashionistas, Lara has gone through many hair color changes- since she was a successful model, inspired by Linda Evangelista.
“That’s why they called me chameleon,” she laughs, looking leggy and languid in a sheer deep grey chiffon dress over a singlet, all finished with a giving the fingers heavy metal necklace in quartz.
“Red, blue, green and even bald. I had short hair so changing color and moods was easy. I loved all the changes,” she smiles.
Seeing she is such a cool gal, it’s no surprise Lara is the brand ambassador for Kiehl’s as well as likes of red-hot UK brand Accessorize and Apple.
“Every time they open a new store, Apple ask me to DJ at the event,” adds Lara, who also waxed the stacks at Chanel’s mega boutique opening in Sao Paolo last month.
Her most recent big project was styling Bebel Gilberto, Brazil’s best new Bossa Nova star, going on the road with her to far part places as Los Angeles and London.
“For me, Lara is Brazil’s best stylist. But her real talent is dressing people. Introducing fashion to people who do not understand anything and making it work for them,” explains her pal, Brazil Vogue columnist Carolina Overmeer.
Elegant, but agreeably modest, Lara if anything tends to play down her talents. One thing that further sets her apart from much of our industry.
“Luckily for me, I have clients with amazing wardrobes. Brazil women can spent a lot of money on clothes, so there is plenty to work with,” concedes the ever self-effacing Lara.
There was no better, or warmer, place to be during Friday night’s raw drizzle than the suddenly perfectly named Paradise, where the Brazilian singer Bebel Gilberto happened to be holding court and conjuring balmy flights of fancy.
With a surname like Gilberto, she’s the daughter of musical royalty of course, having been born to Brazilian bossa nova icon João Gilberto (whose delightful “Bim Bom’’ she covered Friday evening) and the legendary singer Miúcha.
But being the progeny of famous parents cuts both ways, and she easily could have ended up forever living in their long, imposing shadows - a promising gene pool unfulfilled.
Instead, Gilberto has firmly established herself as an artist and performer in her own right, thanks to a passel of acclaimed albums that nod to the Latin jazz of her heritage but tweak those familiar bossa nova and samba rhythms with subtle flourishes of electro-pop and modern grooves built for the dance floor.
Her latest effort, “All in One,’’ which she drew from liberally during Friday’s nicely paced 80-minute set, is a marvelously sunny statement meant to mirror Glberto’s newfound state of marital bliss.
Even if you didn’t understand the lyrics, many of which were sung in her native Portuguese, the plush textures, swaying melody, and carefree whistling that came on “Canção de Amor’’ made the emotional message of the song perfectly understood. Likewise for the willowy warmth that carried the show’s sumptuous opener, “Aganjú,’’ aloft as if on an Ipanema breeze.
Backed by a supple and swinging four-piece band - longtime guitarist Masa Shimizu, drummer Magrus Borges, flutist-saxophonist Rodrigo Sha, and keyboard player John Roggie - Gilberto proved as robust and earthy a presence as her airy, sun-dappled voice was something else entirely: a charming bauble, a thing of dreams and gossamer. A wholesale reimagining of Bob Marley’s “Sun Is Shining ’’ - dosed with cool keyboards and elements of John Barry’s James Bond soundtracks - and the retro feel-good vibe of Stevie Wonder’s “The Real Thing,’’ were among the night’s brightest party favors.
Even a balky sound monitor mix early on - Gilberto abruptly halted “Bim Bom’’ before resuming with a request that the audience “pretend that you’re watching us doing sound check’’ - couldn’t kill the collective buzz of feeling as though we were all caught up in a slice of summer, sheltered, temporarily at least, from the cold November rain outside.
Brazilian DJ Lara Gerin opened the show with an infectiously upbeat, 90-minute mood-setting cocktail of Latin samba and chilled-out electronica, infiltrated with just enough cheesy Euro-pop to make us shudder at the memory of multi-zippered red leather jackets and acid-washed jeans.
© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.