Japan designer lends style to Brazil Carnival group

If the Barroca Zona Sul samba school shines when it takes center stage at the Sao Paulo Carnival early Tuesday, some of the credit will surely go to Japanese avant-garde fashion designer Junko Koshino.

The Osaka-born stylist, world famous for designing costumes for operas and uniforms for sports teams and corporations, is usually more at ease in the upscale fashion circles of Paris, Beijing or New York.

But there she was last Wednesday night, hobnobbing with the humble denizens of Jabaquara, a working-class Sao Paulo district.

After a warm welcome from school members and the local Japanese community, she got down to business and joined in the last rehearsal before Barroca steps into the Sambodrome, Sao Paulo's samba parade ground.

Created in 1974 and officially known as Faculdade do Samba, Barroca will be the last of 12 schools competing in the weakest field of the Sao Paulo carnival, which kicked off Friday.

The first two top finishers in the group will graduate to a more competitive group next year.

Speaking through an interpreter, the 73-year-old Koshino explained why she came here to help.

"I chose to help Barroca because it was the first samba school which introduced a Japanese wing (a component of the performance) in Brazil," she told AFP. "It's a way to say thank you, to give back."

Barroca this year is focusing its carnival theme on the history of Jabaquara, an ethnically diverse district that includes Jardim Oriental, a community that is home to many Japanese.

Barroca spokeswoman Rosa Maria Gomes de Oliveira explained that the aim was to celebrate the area's various ethnic communities, including Afro-Brazilians, Spaniards, Germans and Japanese.

"I am responsible for supervising the Jardim Oriental wing of the (samba) school, which will feature a colorful fantasy allegory representing contemporary Japan, the Japan of the future," Koshino said.

Her aide, Eliza Ohtsuka, explained that the wing would feature 90 members dressed in white and black kimono-style costumes.

Other members will parade in pink and green outfits with folding lanterns of matching colors, she added.

During the parade, the samba schools are judged in several categories -- including theme, costumes and overall organization -- during their 45-minute pass through the Sambodrome.

De Oliveira said Koshino had long wanted to do a documentary on the Brazilian carnival.

"But she did not want to focus on an elite carnival, a carnival with lots of sponsors. She wanted a carnival rooted in a real community," she said.

"She came to Brazil in November, discovered our school and began working on a documentary."

At the rehearsal held in a community center tucked away under an expressway, Koshino led members in an elaborate dance carrying pink and green folding lanterns similar to those used in Japan on festive occasions.

A Japanese television crew was present to shoot a documentary about her and Barroca.

Although she thought her charges were not "very well coordinated," she quickly added that she had no doubt that they would put on a "solid performance."

Barroca is not, however, competing in the elite group reserved for Sao Paulo's top 14 samba schools, which paraded their lavishly decorated floats and beauty queens at the 30,000-seat Sambodrome Friday and Saturday.

"We are not a rich school and only survive thanks to donations, members' contributions and help from the community," said de Oliveira.

By contrast, Koshino, whose two sisters Hiroko and Michiko are also well-known fashion designers, is an international celebrity, with boutiques in Paris, New York, Beijing and Singapore.

She said she developed a strong bond with the Barroca school and with the local Japanese community.

Brazilians of Japanese ancestry currently number 1.8 million, or a little over one percent of the country's total population.

Around 60 percent of them live in Sao Paulo state, with other major concentrations in the states of Parana and Matto Grosso.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Southwest transport terminal construction start still in limbo

    The construction of the country’s first intermodal transport facility is in limbo as both the government and the winning private concessionaire are waiting on each other before finally pushing through with the contract signing. Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the ongoing titling of the project site for the R2.5-billion Integrated Transport System (ITS) Southwest Terminal should not delay the concession agreement signing, which has been indefinitely postponed since February …

  • Jesuit school confers honors on Deles, Ferrer, Iqbal

    Despite heavy opposition from the alumni and even parents of students, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan conferred on Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles a degree on Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa Wednesday. The Jesuit-run university also recognized the other major players in the ongoing peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as it awarded GPH peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and …

  • Mobile market tapped for saleable items worth P21B

    With more than P21 billion worth of saleable items in Philippine households, online classifieds website OLX Philippines is aiming to tap this market by targeting mobile phone users who could be potential sellers and buyers of second hand items. OLX Philippines hopes to provide better support to mobile users with the OLX app since 50 percent of the website’s traffic is generated by mobile users. “We will soon become a mobile first company,” said OLX Philippines co-founder RJ David in a press …

  • Clark to host drag racing

    Drag racing takes an exciting turn as top guns try to push their respective bids in the third leg of the 2015 Philippine Drag Racing Championship Northern Series at the Clark International Speedway.Former US servicemen William “Bill” Hand and John Ryzia of the Angeles City Hot Rod Association (AHRA)-Garage Power hope to steer their respective American V8 muscle cars to repeat wins to secure solo leadership in their respective divisions. ... …

  • The greatest city in the world

    Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) proudly brought back our flag to the Big Apple when it landed at the JFK Airport last March 15, after an 18-year hiatus. The Manila-Vancouver-New York route 18 years ago was terminated due to an expensive leasing arrangement and the Asian financial crisis. JFK Airport at Queens Borough is 15 miles to midtown Manhattan, connected via the New York subway train system. Consider it normal if you can make it to Manhattan under two hours. …

  • The future of the BPO/KPO industry

    One of the few economic sectors in which the Philippines is a global player is the Business Process Outsourcing/Knowledge Processing Outsourcing (BPO/KPO) industry. According to a recent report of the Everest Group entitled “Global Trends in the Contact Center Market and Opportunities in the Philippines,” our country is the leader in the offshore/nearshore English Contact Center Outsourcing (CCO) market with some 36% share. In the Philippines, the growth has been close to 20% over the last …

  • Ars gratia artis

    The Ateneo Art Gallery, widely recognized today as the first museum of Philippine modern art showcasing works by postwar Filipino artists. Its “pilot,” Ateneo President Fr. Ramon Jose Villarin, SJ, admits that it “runs on the fuel of the generosity and munificence of its donors.”ARTISTS, MODELS, & MEDICIS. Last Monday, 23 March, four recent acquisitions were added to the collection. A Fernando Amorsolo life-size portrait of Liliana de Asis (1952) was a gift of Francisco and Mila de Asis and …

  • Baranda, Dumlao star in Vios Cup

    Defending champion Pauland Dumlao and showbiz personality Phoemela Baranda won their respective heats at the start of the Vios Cup Season 2 held recently at the Clark International Speedway in Pampanga.Dumlao of Team Toyota San Fernando took the second heat of the Sporting Class category while Baranda ruled the first heat of the Promotional Class division to open the second staging of the event organized by Toyota Motor Philippines. ... …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options