Rocking the Runway with CA-RIO-CA
Hey guys, Undies Rock here back at it with some more updates from the LA underwear scene. Since I came on board in January, one of my primary roles has been to serve as the LA codependent for local underwear brands. This is really exciting for me because I get to attend events and meet with designers and owners of brands I love. Most recently I had the opportunity to meet up with Gil from CA-RIO-CA, who not only is the coolest dude but happens to own a badass swimwear company. Exiting my recent interview, Gil invited me to his 2016 runway show. As fate would have it, I had to schedule a last minute business trip to Europe, which conflicted with the show, but luckily I was able to adjust my flight home to arrive the afternoon of. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty tough transitioning from 25+ hours of traveling to the LA nightlife, but damn, I’m sure glad I powered through the jet-lag because the CA-RIO-CA show was KILLER!
This was my first ever runway show, so I had no clue what to expect. Honestly I thought it was going to be in a medium sized room with less than a hundred critics and media folk, but boy was I wrong. Turns out the show was outside in the courtyard of the Pacific Design Center off of Melrose Drive, during fashion week. It was everything you would imagine a LA night event would be like. The venue was beautiful – donning palm trees and trendy architecture, the place was packed with stylish people, there where spot lights, a live DJ, expensive booze, a red carpet, and a serious amount of photographers. Quite simply, this event was ‘super profesh’. Also the runway was substantially larger than I imagined. It was at least 100ft long and it was surrounded by water, kind of like a moat, to add to the beach/resort vibe. It felt like walking into a movie set.
The event was supposed to start at 8pm, but in true “just my luck” fashion, my plane landed later than expected. By the time I went from LAX to the show (stopping at Simbal to refuel and reset) we didn’t arrive until 9pm. I was a little worried at first but we made it just in time for the first swimwear designer’s show, The 8th Continent swimwear by Suzuki Kenso. Her set lasted for 20 minutes, then there was a 15-20 minute interlude and then the lights dimmed: the Brazilian dance music kicked in, beach balls branded CA-RIO-CA were tossed out into the runway and audience, and the crowd goes wild – the show was ON. Gil’s brand CA-RIO-CA is notorious for its vast collection of prints and styles. Dozens of new styles were showcased and as I have mentioned in the past, this collections is a little more dynamic with some vibrant pieces as well as some classic-neutral toned prints. My favorites has to be the California Sunset print because what can I say, it is truly the best state. The models were particularly entertaining: one guy came out wearing a pair of board shorts, I thought to myself “pass” but as he approached the end of the runway, he pulls the shorts down and revealed a sweet pair of CA-RIO-CA swimmers. Another model came out with a beach cruiser bike which hoisted over his head. The models sported a lot of CA-RIO-CA accessories: jewelry, hats, tanks etc. The show definitely showcased and highlighted the dynamic and well-made brand. The show’s setting could not have been more appropriate for Gil’s aesthetic; it was outdoors, moonlight illuminating the palm trees, amazing weather, and most importantly- great vibes. It was evident that Gil’s goal of achieving a fun-California-summer- vibe was appreciated by the volume of cheers heard.
To end the show, all the models walked out in swim briefs featuring ‘Rio 16’ on the butt. This was Gil’s fun approach at maintaining that Brazilian pride, home of the CA-RIO-CA sunga. Gil came out, total class act, dressed like a normal dude in a black polo shirt and jeans, and waved and bowed to the audience and the show phased out. Interestingly enough, half of the audience jetted after the CA-RIO-CA show ended; the MC had to ask everyone to stay for the final show. It was clear that CA-RIO-CA was the night’s crowd-pleaser.
One thing I will mention about the CA-RIO-CA models is that they came across as very classy and causal. I like the neutral statement that Gil has with his brand to make straight guys and gay guys feel comfortable with his products. And man, was it such an eye opener to see how popular cool men’s swimwear is. All this time you feel like a minority because not that many dudes wear cool swimwear, but to witness such a massive production showcasing a brand I’ve come to love, really shines light on how much momentum the scene is gaining. I think that a lot of guys, straight and gay, aren’t accustomed to runway shows, but this first experience was quite remarkable and I think everybody can at least appreciate all the hard work that goes into such a production. Looking forward to the next one!