Monday, August 13, 2012

Paving Way for a Booming Brazilian Fashion Industry

Before Brazilian-born Gisele Bundchen gained world-wide international fame, the fashion industry favored a the "Heroin Chic" look, which some health and social experts regarded as "unhealthy" and "unattainable" for the average woman.

Around that time, 13-year Bundchen attended a modeling course with her two sisters upon the assistance of their mother. The next year, she was spotted in a Sao Paulo shopping mall by a modeling agency. In 1996, at 16, she moved to New York to begin her modeling career. She made her debut in New York's prestigious Fashion Week.

People immediately took to the tall, long flowing locks of light brown hair with tan skin, a pronounced nose, and freckles. She added a certain element of sex appeal that hadn't been seen on international fashion runways since Elle Macpherson, who was once dubbed "The Body."

In fact, when her big break came in 2000, when she was chosen to model for Alexander McQueen, McQueen himself dubbed Bundchen "The Body." Like Macpherson, Bundchen skyrocketed to stardom. Rolling Stone Magazine coined her "The most beautiful girl in the world." She appeared on the covers of hundreds of magazines, including the French edition of Vogue, whose cover read "A Girl Called Gisele." The U.S., Vogue used her image to proclaim, "the return of the sexy model."

Around the same time that Bunchen was having success, another Brazilian-born model, Alessandra Ambrosio's career began to skyrocket. The 30-year old, just one year younger than Gisele and from the same city, began her own modeling career in Brazil, where she first appeared on the cover of the Brazilian Elle magazine. She then became the face of campaigns by Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, and Georgio Armani. In 2000, she joined Victoria's Secret and first appeared in their fashion show. She's been a fixture there ever since.

Gisele also joined Victoria's Secret in 2000, along with Brazilian-born Adriana Lima, and enjoyed seven successful years modeling with the company, before moving on to other ventures. Lima and Ambrosio still model for Victoria's Secret, with Lima once donning the "Fantasy Bra," featuring 3,575 black diamonds, 117 white round diamonds, 34 rubies, and two black diamond drops, while Ambrosio once wore an all-candy bra and 30-pound pair of wings for Victoria's Secret's annual fashion show, televised worldwide.

It was Gisele, however, who started it all. In fact, she has been credited with paving the way for other Brazilian models and opening the doors for Brazilian fashion. She was recently ranked by Forbes for the fifth consecutive time as the "World's Top-Earning Model," making $45-million annually. She currently is the spokesperson for a number of charitable causes and can be seen in commercials and print ad campaigns for shampoo while investing in real estate, something she's been passionate about since she was 18.

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