Friday, 8 June 2007

Gisele Rules In Rio

Those who say that there is no such thing as a prophet in their own land have never heard of Gisele Bundchen, whose single appearance here in Rio Fashion Week was more like the apparition of a saint than a strut down a catwalk.

Little children and small teens cried and burst into tears late Tuesday night when they would not get into the Colcci runway show, Bundchen’s sole event here during the local season.

Later, at the brand’s party in her honor in a hip Ipanema club, hoards of fans literally fought through her small regiment of security staff, just to, well, touch her, even briefly. It looked like she led a small sect, a style version of the Dalai Lama.

When she opened the Colcci show – exiting with great flare from a one-story elevator at the top of a runway, the crowd of 2,000 screamed and whooped in a mini frenzy. If it recalled any moment for idolatry, let’s say it made the Beatles at Shea Stadium seem calm.

Typically, Gisele stages a press conference each season in Rio, but after these became so chaotic she switched to seeing just a few local journalists in her suite in this port city’s best hotel, the Copacabana Palace.

Bundchen kept on the central heating on a day which, for the record reached a high of 27 Celsius, i.e. not exactly cold. This provoked suggestions that the model might be suffering from anorexia, an idea she vehemently rejected.

“I’ve nothing to do with anorexia,” she told the city’s major daily O Globo.

“I am 27 and I have the body of a woman that age; women’s bodies change from 25 on. And I have not smoked for three years. I think it’s good when a woman looks her age, and I know I have a bit of a bum,” confessed the super model.

She was also determined to deny rumors that she is pregnant, by her current squeeze, American Footballer Tom Brady, but insisted her dream is to have kids. “I don’t know where, I don’t know when, but it’s my dream. I grew up in the countryside and I want my own kids to also run after chickens and mix around with cows.”

Around town, Bundchen’s uniform has been resolutely jeans and T-shirts. But on the Colcci catwalk it was more varied.

Her three outings for the local brand – in an indifferent orange silk jump suit; sequined gold mini dress and a natty striped jeans and metallic brassiere that showed her body in remarkable condition – were all greeted with prolonged and noisy applause. Gisele is a truly fantastic catwalker, whose every gesture - pulling a string of hair grabbing the elevator fence - provokes a reaction. She isn’t the ruling catwalk star for nothing.

Her once-a-season outings on Rio catwalks are major events here. With no Brazilian Formula One star or tennis player world rated, and the national football team a damp squib, Gisele is the reigning queen of Brazil. The Pope may not have inspired much devotion here on his recent visit, but Gisele sure did.

In a word, she’s a fashion divinity

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