Shades of Blue: The Brazilian Bikini

Beneath the Carmen Mirandas and toucans, a forty year history beginning with Bethlehem, denim, and family feud unravels as the international symbol of beach beauty marks its big 4-0: Blue Man bikinis. Epic to fashion vocabulary, the Brazilian bikini and Blue Man are a legendary coalition (with an ode to Salinas, Lenny, Bum Bum and Cia Maritima). The culture alliance stems from brothers David and Simon Azulay when they began their bikini business in the early 70s upon their arrival to Rio de Janeiro from Bethlehem. Quarrels, tradeoffs, and bad bargains were the foundation of Blue Man before emerging as the brainchild to what remains one of Brazil’s top commodities.

From his signature jean bikinis (the breakthrough idea) to a series of thongs and an exploration of nylon and screen prints, David Azulay took Blue Man international overnight situating Brazil as the pinnacle for beachwear with his tropical vision. Paris, London and Milan were among the major Blue Man players as his powerhouse designs set sail before launching worldwide.

Last month, Blue Man celebrated its 40th Anniversary during the catwalks of Rio de Janeiro’s fashion week. The collection features their design work over the years via vintage icons such as Paul Zulu, Talytha Pugliesi, and Ana Claudia Michels. Regarded for their tropical pattern experiments – this year even more ambitious introducing neoprene stamping – and audacious cuts including expert delta wings and micro shorts, Blue Man further relishes in its DNA as the visual language for Rio sands.

As creative directors, daughter and nephew to David, Sharon and Thomaz continue the jean line while further unfolding the Blue Man history through Marajoara-inspired prints along with their signature tropical patterns fusing butterflies, birds and the neon vibrance of pop culture all from the department of paradise.

There is an elasticity within the brand that stretches the mark each season while never fading the founding characteristics of form, function, and the aesthetics of beachwear fashion. The creatives of Blue Man work diligently to retain the vision of David, who died in 2009, while they continue to raise the bar for what summer, music, and history mean to the shores of Brazilian culture. This season the brand also flaunted their recent partnership with the haute eyewear experts of Chilli Beans. No doubt this summer beams the right shade of Blue and basking in Brazil can’t be done right without it. We say get hot and go Blue.

Blue Man S/S 2012, photo Zé Takahashi

Blue Man 2012, photo Zé Takahashi

Blue Man 2012, photo Zé Takahashi

Blue Man 2012, photo Zé Takahashi

Blue Man 2012, photo Zé Takahashi

Blue Man S/S 2012, photo Marcelo Soubhia

Blue Man S/S 2012, photo Marcelo Soubhia

Blue Man S/S 2012, photo Zé Takahashi

* original post for CatwalkYourself

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About Angela Gleason

visual designer | writer | pianist in the basement | painter in the night | fashion critic | lush | Italian savant check me out: www.taxisandwalnuts.com