Galeria Melissa 10 years: The Anniversary Book
A Decade of Life
Galeria Melissa #01 Muti Randolph 2005
Flor #02 Muti Randolph 2005
Rock’n’Love #03 Luisa Lovefoxxx 2006
Trópicos de Melissa #04 Andres Sandoval 2006
Trópicos #05 Muti Randolph 2006
Create Yourself #06 Muti Randolph 2007
Diamante #07 Marcelo Rosembaum 2007
Christmas #08 Billy Castilho 2007
Viagens de Melissa #09 Casa Darwin 2008
Zaha Hadid #10 Zaha Hadid 2008
Campana #11 Irmãos Campana 2008
Star #12 Pier Paolo Balestrieri 2008
Afromania #13 Pier Paolo Balestrieri 2009
Perfume Melissa #14 Marcelo Rosembaum 2009
Barbie 50 years #15 Pier Paolo Balestrieri 2009
Street Art #16 Choque Cultural Gallery 2009
“Galeria Melissa was born from our relentless search for the new. And because of Melissa’s very special characteristic of being close to its fans.
Our idea was that it had to transcend the concept of a flagship store. It had to become a space where we could gather people, whether they are Melissa fans or not, around the three pillars which identify us worldwide: Fashion, Design, and Art.
Always connected with the collaborative feel that is part of who Melissa is as a brand.
Galeria Melissa is one of the projects that makes me the most proud. After all, during this 10 years there have been many experiences, partnerships, collaborations, moments.”
Pedro Pedó Filho, CEO of Melissa
A store is a store is a store – a possible paraphrase of Gertrude Stein’s tautological maxim (“a rose is a rose is a rose”) in the pursuit of studying the dynamics that underlie shopping.
Now, when we go out on the street to simply meet the specific needs for this occasion or that, a store does indeed feel like any other and is then a store and a store alone, that is, broadly speaking, a place that sells wares to the public.
The fact, however, is that we are dealing with Galeria Melissa, where nothing is translated verbatim, where what you buy literally acquires added value.
In all, there have been 33 façades over the past ten years, underlining an essential aspect of the Galeria Melissa project: The mutating, mutable, shapeshifting nature of its appearance – inside and out. As mercurial as fashion; as provocative as art; as threedimensional and organic as… a Melissa shoe.
Galeria was born not out of paper, but the restless minds of some Grendene visionaries like Paulo Pedó Filho, who ran the million-dollar investment and placed 445 square meters under the command of the whimsical pixels of Rio de Janeiro designer Muti Randolph, who had never erected a building until then.
As Galeria Melissa was less of a building and more of a happening, the choice was justified.
“Our dream was to add relevant content to our consumers’ lives and bring them into an environment imbued of our identity, broadcasting our truth and essence”,
says Melissa marketing manager Raquel Metz Scherer.
If so many generations of women in Brazil and abroad share emotional ties with Melissa and its tutti frutti smell, Galeria has a façade that had sticked to people’s memories. example, is one you can’t forget.
The pages of this book collect memories and lots of stories, crystallizing a sociocultural legacy that may not be that clear to the perception of many.
For the first time, observed under the angle of architecture and urban planning, that’s true. But, not for the last time, with emotion for a driver. Like the flower of poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade, though beautiful, Galeria Melissa “pierced pavement, boredom, disgust, and hatred”.
A hub of optimism, 827 Oscar Freire Street is one address where the city allows itself a smile.
By Erika Palomino
An Exclamation Point
In the grayest urban sprawl south of the Equator, Galeria Melissa proposes a breath of color, form, volume, and edge that feels like a shifting aesthetic breeze in the scenery of a megalopolis of 20 million.
It is almost like an exclamation mark in a city that translates like none other the chaos of out-of-control development.
Ten years ago, multimedia artist Muti Randolph was commissioned to create Galeria Melissa as a mutating space for a mélange of architecture, visual arts, fashion, music, design, photography, and technology, in constant dialogue with the public, raising the discourse of urban intervention to a much more elaborate – and tangible – scale.
The 445-square-meter space draws inspiration from organic shapes (the same shapes that fuel Krajcberg and should be the basis for the formation of any city).
Starting from the flexibility suggested by the brand’s driving raw material, Randolph came up with an architecture that fits all kinds of stylistic expressions – from container to content.
Everything goes in the gallery/public square that Randolph created, from covering the façade in half a million color sticky notes to hologram projections, to name just two out of many more proposals from creatives of every flavor – architects, designers, visual artists, pop divas.
An ongoing exercise in challenging, researching, transcending, and, above all, innovating upon standards and formulas.
Galeria Melissa is a conduit for communicating and sharing good ideas that serves as a splash of color – and hope – in a cool city that has everything it takes to work out, in spite of it all. It’s obvious for anyone who wants to see.
By Allex Colontonio, Editorial Director at Kaza magazine, which specializes in architecture, design, and the arts.
Fernando Serrudo was in charge of the implement of the Galeria Melissa São Paulo project, and then, of the London and New York flagships.
He joined Grendene as a trainee, and at the present time is responsible for Melissa’s New Businesses department. Of course he’s got a lot of stories to tell about the last ten years.
Galeria Melissa was one of the first places where emotional retailing became a topic. Was providing experiences intentional? Or did it take place naturally?
Before Galeria, we had multibrand stores that sold our wares; we also had
e-commerce via our Website. But where could someone
actually experience Melissa? Galeria Melissa’s concept
came from there, from the notion of experiencing
Melissa in its entirety. “I smell, touch, and see Melissa”.
A 360-degree experience: I can feel the texture of the
products; the sheen of polish; the texture of matte…
Getting a sense of the height of a heel, the lightness of
a slipper, even as I look at the wall and see a gigantic
visage of Karl Lagerfeld.
In the same way that I get there and feel tiny when I have to climb a stair that is entirely made of LEGO bricks and leads into a rainbow. Galeria came to give consumers these experiences.
The element of emotion is indeed heavily present, given that, more than plastic, Melissa’s raw material is emotion. Does Galeria materialize this?
The smell, right?! You can feel it out on the street. I do this exercise that involves standing on the sidewalk and watching people’s reactions, and smell is the first one they show. Then comes something like, “the store wasn’t like this when I last came here”. And someone else goes, “No, it’s that they keep changing it”. Even our neighbors ask us what we will do next. This expectation surrounding what’s next is intense, and this is one of the main challenges we face: To escape mere stickers on the façade all the time, to feature 3-D objects, to have things upside down, to appreciate the sense – to think about what might be done differently.
Are there any more funny stories?
Once a shopper asked us to bring down from storage every item we had because she didn’t want to see just one pair in her size; she wanted to see every pair in her size that came in black . Or the couple who had a fight inside the store, and then he stormed out, after which she ran after him barefoot – and never came back for her own shoes!
Another time, a lady knocked after hours, asking to be let in because she had once lived there; the store was on the same plot where her parents had had their home, and she was back in town after a long time and curious about what we had going in. Afterwards she said, “thank God you did something cool, not anything stuffy”. This coming and going of people is what I love the most.
Lots of celebrities have been to Galeria. How do you handle them?
We talk to them normally, as peacefully as possible, to make sure it doesn’t feel oppressive. We have had actresses, singers, models… Isabeli Fontana was supernice to everyone. Dita Von Teese was a darling. And Alanis Morissette, Brazilian actresses like Patrícia Pilar and Débora Falabela...
And they all came spontaneously, right?
Yes, they ask to try shoes on, talk about the products… We can see how much Galeria has become a tourist attraction that people take others to see it, like Alice Braga took Julianne Moore – that was when they were shooting “Blindness”. Sarah Jessica Parker went there because she already knew the brand and wanted to see the store.
By Erika Palomino
The Beginning of it all
There are no boundaries separating architecture, the arts, and technology. At least for the Rio-born designer and his timespaces – a self-invented concept of building dynamic everyday spaces that interactively modify.
The author of Galeria Melissa São Paulo invites brave spectators to dive into a world of lights and sounds where nothing is what it seems but every sensation is real.
Regarding the world from the vantage point of digital illustration (against what would seem common wisdom), Randolph came up with Galeria Melissa’s unique U-shaped façade, “created to highlight the elastic nature of plastic and specifically inspired in the shape of a Melissa shoe folded in half”, he summarizes. And there is, of course, the extraordinary, expressive 100-square-meter setback, an invitation to the public to enter the Melissa universe.
The shop window? A sliver of a glass cutout next to the main door, to showcase Melissa shoes like relics in a museum.
“It is worth highlighting the project’s sustainable character, done to change over time and therefore built to withstand all kinds of renovations”,
Inside, Randolph points out additional surprises that have resisted today’s hunger for novelty – display stands and furniture designed and made with fluid, organic lines.
To complete the indoors scenery, Randolph designed a plastic garden with sculptures of plants in the same material and bright colors palette as the brand’s sandals and shoes, but with the rounded lines of Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral’s Modernist paintings.
The first façades exploited Randolph’s experience with 3-D illustration. The image emerged as a very low-res picture of a flower, pixels and all. It was a mural 30 meters wide and eight meters tall, made up of matte vinyl panels that looked like an abstract bundle of vectors from up close, but which from farther out, suggested a vibrant red flower.
Nowadays, his creative obsession is to synchronize light and sound using devices and materials to create ambiences that foster sensory experiences.
“I strive to create immersive, dynamic experiences where dimensions and senses get mixed up. Art, research, and invention should be part of our everyday lives, and not limited to museums, galleries, and labs.”
By Vanessa Cabral
It was 2008. The launch of the Melissa Corallo line, by Fernando and Humberto Campana, the duo who drew the eyes of the world to Brazilian design, was planned like a guerilla operation, a blend of activism and poetry.
The project broke through the physical boundaries of Galeria Melissa and culminated in a happening on October 8 around an orange metal framework that, devised by consultant Betty Prado and her company at the time, Mais Luz, was suspended over and commanding the large setback off Oscar Freire Street.
“It was exciting to watch Corallo turn into a gigantic tree right there in the middle of the Melissa plaza, a point that is like a breeze in the city for me”,
says Humberto Campana.
Hovering overhead at the entrance to Galeria, the Corallo that had shapeshifted into a tree seduced and bemused passersby.
On launch day, crowds waited in line for Galeria to open, so that they could pick up the thread of the story and get it. Then, 150 coral-colored bop bags were lined up.
Inside Galeria, the new slipper collection was on show in organic-shaped niches, together with videos and pictures telling the whole poetic guerilla tale – ranks of inflatable dolls taking major thoroughfares by storm at 7 a.m. – motionless, silent troops surprising people.
At night, floating images and words traveled over the fronts of buildings in other parts of the city – “Sustain yourself”. Actions in Rio and São Paulo. Hitting the streets, interfering with urban routines. No forewarning or explanation.
Questions and provocation.
The blow-up doll intervention began in September, at iconic parts of town like Paulista Avenue, the Anhangabaú Valley, and Patriarca Square. Then they went to Rio and were spotted near the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, the Ipanema and Leblon beaches, the Lapa Arches, Cinelândia, the Redeemer statue, and the Flamengo Landfill.
Brazil’s most acclaimed and subversive design duo have to show for themselves intense, variegated production on the edgeless edges of design, the arts, and craftsmanship.
As aficionados for Brazilian culture, they sour the popular repertoire of handcraft techniques. At the same time, the Campanas are interested in creating mass-produced items in line with the industry, as they do in partnership with Melissa.
“Melissa has a very cool kind of respect for us. I believe there is a mutual challenge of projects and solutions. They are not an overbearing brand; they bring us along as partners”, says Humberto.
By Mara Gama
The Bigger The Better
Pier Paolo Balestrieri is a stellar, nuclear, atomic blast-powered engine. Naturally, the stage designer’s main source of inspiration is the ruling star of our planetary system – the Sun.
“The Sun is the stage prop of life. If there is no light on the stage, nothing happens”,
he admonishes. It is no surprise, then, that Balestrieri has a special fondness for Galeria Melissa, one of the venues in town that give the public a direct connection with an outdoors work of art.
His latest creation for the space – the façade in honor of Rio de Janeiro for Melissa’s Summer 2016 collection, called Wanna Be Carioca – replicates the massive scenographic wall formed by the mountains that circle the city, with a backlight that mimics an eternal sunset.
“Sunset in Rio is a reference found in everyone’s imagination. In addition, we created a collage for the floor and a mirror for the ceiling. The illustration includes typical elements from Rio, such as hanggliders, beachgoers, waves, surfboarders, the Sugarloaf… When people stood on the circle of collage and looked up, they saw themselves reflected in the middle of it all and became part of the stage design.”
Balestrieri caused throughout Brazil’s ritziest shopping street with his façade for the Afromania (Winter 2009) collection, an ode to the African continent.
“I was standing there in front of Galeria Melissa and, when I turned around, I saw a five-meter-tall white elephant on top of a truck bed driving down Oscar Freire Street. It felt like a samba parade”,
he tells, laughing, as he thinks back to that Sunday in January 2009.
Massive size had become a recurring element and, therefore, the authorial signature of Balestrieri’s work.
“The idea for this design for Galeria Melissa came from my yearning to magnify things. I prefer to do things with visual weight, with impact. I’m not much of a one for detail, for tiny little things.”
So much so that, for Christmas 2008, he came up with a 4.2-meter-tall 20-pointed shooting star done entirely in acrylic and lit at night by hundreds of LEDs strategically placed on the inside.
For the façade celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Barbie doll, an adultsized doll case was placed on the left side of the façade; for opening day, in September 2009, actual models wore looks that fashion designers Alexandre Herchcovitch, Gloria Coelho, Isabela Capeto, Dudu Bertholini & Rita Comparato, Lorenzo Merlino, Thais Gusmão, and Thais Losso created for the doll, which also got an exhibition on the store window and inside.
More recently, for the Star Walker collection’s façade, Balestrieri resumed the space mood, as if a luxurious (and naturally gigantic) asteroid built from lit mirror polygons had crashed in front of the store. Truly a one-of-a-kind job.
By André Rodrigues
As one of the people behind the avaf (assume vivid astro focus) collective, together with Frenchman Christophe Hamaide-Pierson, Brazilian artist Eli Sudbrack activates transsexual gametes in saturated colors and mesmerizing graphisms to lend shape to worlds that only exist in desire.
He is a sort of surrealist, wandering being who uses art to materialize an aesthetics that exudes Brazilianness in the eyes of critics.
“My taste for color comes from my Brazilian roots, but the funny thing is that Christophe is French and has the same appreciation for it”,
he muses while talking about their creations under the umbrella of avaf.
Despite being openly averse to the visual and musical folklore of Brazilian Carnival, Sudbrack once turned a samba school float into an installation for the 28th São Paulo Biennial, to mention just one of many iconic works he has sent to other corners of the world – Sudbrack has shown a window dressing at the New York MoMA and a retrospective at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway.
Eli Sudbrack’s Rio de Janeiro resides on a planet far removed from the Bossa Nova repertoire – no sailboats sliding along the blue softness of the sea there.
“Abstraction, color, explosion”,
Sudbrack says when the talk comes to the façade he created for Galeria Melissa São Paulo, unveiled in October 2011 and themed for the Power of Love (Summer 2012) collection, inspired in the values of the Peace-and-Love generation.
The experience for passersby and people who came in for a pair of sandals became almost lysergic – utter ecstasy. It was Galeria Melissa’s 22nd façade.
“Our collaboration with Melissa was actually an ambitious package deal: Creating a sandal, the Melissa Lua, a giveaway, and the concept for the Melissa lounge/installation for the São Paulo Fashion Week in June 2011; followed by our occupation of the façade and interior of the store in December that same year; and, finally, our video projection installation, a giant neon sculpture, and a sequins mural for the grand opening of Galeria Melissa in New York, in February 2012”, he sumarizes.
“Galeria Melissa is a unique case in São Paulo. The space fosters amazing collaborations with artists, designers, and fashion designers that often spread out into the store space as well. I don’t know of any other brand doing the same thing and with the same quality”,
concludes the artist who can only live in non-human worlds, parallel universes driven by spiritual fascination – as Fausto Fawcett’s lyrics go, “Worlds that exist in desire alone.”
By André Rodrigues
This is not a shoe
The Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid once placed a pair of gigantic boots at the entrance to Galeria Melissa. In tune with new technologies and materials, a fan of Issey Miyake and Niemeyer, she is one of the leading transformers of the world’s contemporary scenery and, as such, barely has the time to plant her feet on the ground.
As the first and only woman to win the Pritzker Prize, top recognition in architecture, Hadid has subverted traditional and modern shapes – be they straight, curved, or oblique – like someone melting a marshmallow at the end of a stick.
Over the 2000s, she would leave an indelible mark in time and space, like a tattoo of sorts in the collective imagination of every architecture aficionado, tearing down taboos and influencing an entire generation of new creatives.
Her organic, flowing, sensual lines, sketched by hand or meticulously digitized on the computer, subverted plastic concepts and challenged technical limitations.
Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad in 1950, in a context far less explosive than today’s general idea of the Middle East, particularly during those golden years.
“I had a great childhood in Iraq. Many women from my generation became architects there, far more than I have seen elsewhere.”
Her firm is currently executing close to 100 projects on four different continents. The flirtation with the fashion universe is more than a natural extension of her profession – she loves fashion.
In 2008, excited about a raw material to which she has proclaimed her love – plastic –, she designed a product for Melissa.
“The briefing was to create something fun and novel that was good and modern, following the contour of the human body”,
she said at the time.
The shoe – or is it a boot? – that she designed is an asymmetrical, mutating, seamless item where a single bloc forms the sole, throat, shank, heel, toebox, and the ribbon that climbs up the leg, the same way gladiator sandals used to grab the legs of the warriors and fashionistas of yore.
The extremely comfortable and futuristic piece received a larger-than-life version, when Galeria Melissa opened an exhibition of Hadid’s most striking works. At the time, a four-meter-tall replica of the shoe was strategically placed at the entrance to the brand’s concept store and became a tourist attraction – right there on Oscar Freire Street, the Eldorado of Brazilian consumerism.
Done in resin and automotive paint, the pair of shoes invited visitors to interact with their shapes, allowing people to dive inside and interact from inside out and outside in.
As a backdrop, Galeria Melissa’s façade got the bold strokes of Hadid herself. The illustration that covered the building played with the giant boot’s light, shadow and volume effects, creating an “optical illusion” of projected images. Something very difficult to forget.
By Allex Colontonio
A Jungle out There
Artist Kleber Matheus converted Galeria Melissa into a piece of retrofuturistic Eden, marked by the effect of neon interspersed with the organic contrast of natural plants.
São Paulo is a megalopolis full of icons from figurative pop to kitsch cool, from street corners sung in poetry to others relegated to the decadent literature scene.
A destination marked by the Brutalist concrete of buildings and monuments by Oscar Niemeyer, Artacho Jurado, Victor Brecheret, and Ramos de Azevedo, with lots of graffiti covering the bureaucratic grey and the dull beige that connect bridges and avenues, with a few neon signs glimmering in the frisson of the city’s neurotic collapse.
A lover of the volume of this 1980s-vintagy architecture, visual artist and art director Kleber Matheus was put in charge of Galeria Melissa’s façade during the summer of 2011.
An expert in installations using neon as their main ingredient, Kleber saw the perfect opportunity to balance the use of the noble gas in an assemblage whose theme revealed the depths of vegetation almost absent from the city’s everyday life.
The subject of the collection was Melissa Amazonista, as the brand devoted itself for the first time for a 100-percent Brazilian – but still global – inspiration.
“I imagined creating an abstract forest printed on adhesive sheet on the wall, with bold strokes reminiscent of tall trees, lianas, and the dense relief of tropical vegetation. We then added the energy and color of neon lights, with the meticulous work of landscape designer Fernando Limberger, who chose for the occasion ornamental plants like cerimans, alocasias, heliconias, and ferns, forming a playful, graphic wood in which plastic and natural elements complemented one another for a lush, vigorous atmosphere.”
Outside, they went with vertical landscaping with a smidge of inspiration in Burle Marx, a massive production with abstract lighting and Hollywood overtones; inside, where visitors circled after their pairs of jellies, the neon lights outlining the macaw’s tail and the majestic body of the butterfly were created especially for the installation and placed over the image of a wild Amazon vista.
“Most of my references come from what is visually appealing to me; I always try to pay attention to my surroundings to capture something new and end up using fragments of several visual recollections to compose my work”, he explains.
The nonstop collage of ideas makes up a part of the fantastic – and somewhat psychedelic – universe of Kleber Matheus.
Judging by his unique handling of plots, the partnership should probably light up many more signs.
By Patrícia Favalle
For Summer 2013, Galeria Melissa chose British illustrator Julie Verhoeven’s delicate marks. Recognized for her watercolors’ enigmatic expressions, Verhoeven is also a reference in the world of fashion.
“I am a fan of pop culture, of trash, of the madness of megalopolises... This is what inspires me: actual human behavior”, she says.
At Galeria Melissa, she chose to work with plotterprinted versions of her blasé girls. The sketches were done in smaller scale at her studio in London and then sent to Brazil, where a team was in charge of magnifying and printing them and later, under her supervision, applying them to Galeria’s surfaces, both outside and inside.
The outcome was an amazing selection of paintings spiced up with brashness and uniqueness; a charming, asymmetric, studiously offbeat vibe.
By Patrícia Favalle
Street art lent new airs to the domain of concrete over the world’s metropolises – and, despite being far from pleasing the majority, the manifestation most intimately connected with post-modernism elevated graffiti, stencils, stickers, billboards, and paste-ups to real artistic intervention status.
Bringing this subversive form of expression into the cultural Meccas is the most legitimate way to make access to it democratic, thereby demystifying the marginalization that surrounds it. Connected to this reality, architect Baixo Ribeiro and his wife, Mariana Martins, realized that the generation of their 28-year-old son João Pedro was completely devoid of artistic environments that challenged the status quo.
“Choque Cultural was born out of a need we felt for a more open market for art.”
With artists like Carlos Dias, Daniel Melim, Ramon Martins, Stephan Doitschinoff, Titi Freak, Zezão, Minhau, Chivitz, and the SHN collective in its portfolio, that Choque Cultural joined the handpicked team that left its mark on the largest open-air gallery in Brazil: Galeria Melissa.
“The invitation came precisely when we were planning the exhibition at the São Paulo Museum of Art – MASP, which would pioneer the display of urban art in a conservative environment. At that time, we were looking for partners that could support the project. That was how the partnership began. More than doing the façade, we came up with a collage-based occupation throughout the store, enhancing the experience of immersive, participative art.”
The concept was formatted to become a gigantic panel and convey some of the chaos of the metropolis into the apparent peace of the street where Galeria Melissa lies.
The indoors layout also got a garden of sorts, with white synthetic grass floors and several pictures, posters, and engravings framed in vibrant colors. The main store window got Melissa shoes painted and lit in unique ways.
The wave of counterculture is so forgiving that no awkwardness comes out of bringing together apparently opposite movements, like protest from São Paulo’s poorest outskirts and the hyped-up, affluent Jardins district.
“The greatest luxury one can expect from a community is its culture. Providing quality culture to everyone who can enjoy it is highly relevant. This has nothing to do with money or exclusivity. Art has a knack for crossing economic boundaries, as it operates on an emotional, subjective frequency.”
Who would dispute that?
By Patrícia Favalle
Venus Palace Hotel
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Cibelle, a Brazilian based in London since the early 2000s, did Galeria Melissa’s ninth façade.
With a post-Tropicalista vibe using neon lights, stickers, wheat-pastes, and lots of pictures of the singer in different versions, it celebrated the release of a Melissa Amazonista in Klein blue.
Rock and Love
Galeria Melissa’s third façade (January 2006) came in the hands of illustrator Luísa Hanae Matsushita, a.k.a. Lovefoxxx, lead singer in the cult Brazilian band Cansei de Ser Sexy.
It was made up of several keyboard designs placed in different directions, creating a massive mosaic as if bursting out in musical notes and lending a sense of entering a piano as visitors walked down Galeria’s atrium.
The 2010 season saw the release of Melissa Numa, her collaboration with the brand.
The irreverent sandals included two plastic mice attached to different spots in each foot and are now true collector’s items.
Fashion editors Daniel Ueda and Pedro Sales blend fancy, freshness, and perfectionism in a creative journey to build Melissa Nation’s multicultural and vibrant costumes.
As an outdoors art venue, it is only natural for Galeria Melissa’s atrium to house a clothes exhibition.
As an outdoors art venue, it is only natural for Galeria Melissa’s atrium to house a clothes exhibition.
All the more so when they come from the brand’s first show as part of the most important fashion event south of the Equator, São Paulo Fashion Week.
For the Winter 2014 season, the label’s chosen subject was a multicultural mélange, as Melissa has a worldwide presence and names among its values respect for all peoples and appreciation of their differences. The collection was called Nation, and the universe of the brand’s consumers is a reflection of this diversity: one nation, many races and histories, stitched together through a contemporary, vibrant vision.
The exhibition took over Galeria Melissa in 2013. Outside the store, three mannequins were stationed; in the indoors garden, seven more looks (picked from the 38 that had been shown in the São Paulo Fashion Week) were on display while screens showed a video of the historic performance.
There, too, were the wigs purchased in New York especially for the collection and dyed and styled by top beautyartist Robert Estevão, who was in charge of beauty for the models.
And so it went: Pure fashion brainstorming to show a nation without borders.
“The subject was very rich, and being given so much freedom for a job is like a child getting candy”,
Ueda says. For Sales, mixing countries like India and Japan together in a single composition was “an exercise in harmony”.
Drawing inspiration from references from Surrealism to Madonna, and having a keen eye for the streets, the two had traveled parallel paths to create image-construction styles that became their signatures: Daniel Ueda and his elaborate overlaps and layerings; and Pedro Sales’s trademark Brazilian-yet-global rigor.
Once again, Melissa brought talents together.
They repeated the partnership for the Star Walker (Winter 2015) and Wanna Be Carioca (Summer 2016) collections, with a memorable performance at the Mauá pier, in Rio, with Guanabara Bay for a background.
By Camila Yahn
It is difficult to traverse the past 60 years in fashion history without happening time and time again upon Karl Lagerfeld.
He appears in the biographies of Pierre Balmain and Jean Patou, for whom he worked as an assistant; of Yves Saint Laurent, his “frenemy” during the roaring 1960s and 1970s; of maison Chloé, which he helped position among the world’s most acclaimed in the 1970s; of Fendi, the Italian brand for which he has been doing women’s prêt-à-porter for 50 years; and, of course, of Chanel, the label he joined in 1983, and completely revolutionized.
At age 82, can be regarded as the true embodiment of what fashion stood, stands and probably will stand for.
It is therefore easy to understand why Melissa picked him for collaborative ventures (five products have been launched that connect with the designer’s iconography; among them are the Black Tie and the Glove Love).
Lagerfeld and Melissa share a thirst for novelty and innovation.
Pier Paolo Balestrieri planned the Galeria Melissa installation in honor of Lagerfeld, in March 2013.
The iconic outline of his head (complete with his unmistakable ponytail) was drawn in several layers of neon lights that went on and off sequentially, creating an optical sense of movement.
In order to meet all that light, it was the first time that the entire façade was painted black, not by chance considered “the oficial color of fashion”. Inside, wallpaper whose pattern was made up of repeated KL outlines, in pop-art style.
“I’m a fashion opportunist.”
Out of all his controversial lines (a kind of smokescreen to avoid inconvenient questions, or questions whose answers are far too obvious), that last one may be closest to the key to his longevity.
It’s the secret of being a wandering metamorphosis, capable of adapting not only to the demands of time and the market, but also to the images of different maisons, all at once.
His style is something mysterious, often (or almost inevitably) shaped after his own image: tight, dark denims, a high-collared white shirt, black tie, fitted blazer, gloves with cutoff fingertips, a ponytail, and the ever-present sunglasses.
“The new generation is less pretentious; they are open, and people are very pleasant”, Lagerfeld said in an interview for Vogue. “Fashion dictators are out – and grotesque. We now live in constant dialogue”, he concludes.
At Melissa, Lagerfeld’s luxury is pop from bun to toe, in plastic or neon.
By Luigi Torre
Perhaps the easiest way to introduce Jason Wu is also the most obvious. When not only fashion, but life itself, is reduced to specific moments saved on the timelines of our digital memories, in Wu’s case they are two.
The first one in January 2009, when he dressed First Lady Michelle Obama in a white one-shouldered gown for the inaugural ball of Barack Obama’s presidency.
The second, in January 2013, when her husband was sworn in for the second time and she paraded in a bright red gown.
At the time of that first dress for Michelle Obama, Wu, then 26 years old and for only three years at the helm of his own label, chose white, a symbol of peace, calm, and a new day.
For the second dress, and with his business already firmly established, a Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) award for best designer in hand, and partnerships with brands like Lancôme, Shiseido, and Melissa in his CV (in all, there are eight collections done with the Brazilian brand), red could have no meaning other than confidence.
His concern is with the body, with women.
Unlike other “young designers” in his generation, his purpose is not to decode coolness. By staying loyal to his beliefs even when they seemed pointless or passé, he struck a delicate and intimate chord with what women want to be and feel.
In recent years, Jason Wu became one of the most prominent and successful new designers in the US. And he did it without ever aligning with a single or certain trend.
Now, these women are celebrities and, above all, uptown girls who found space for his creations in the midst of Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera collections.
In the middle of it all, we saw the lace that dresses his women and became the pattern for the 21st Galeria Melissa clothing item, with prints of superdelicate lace – a monsieur Wu trademark, for a high-impact, romantic outcome.
“I never imagined designing for dolls at 16 and then forming my own fashion label.”
His experiments, winning him the title of “the Oscar de la Renta of the digital generation”, now give way to authorial propositions, less reverent of times past.
His looks may be deceiving. With delicate Eastern traits and meticulously rigorous and polite clothes, there’s more to him than meets the eye.
It was Wu’s skill at translating different inspirations and yearnings into consistent and desirable images that caught the eye of another fashion giant – one with a German accent.
In 2013, Wu was appointed artistic director at Boss, a more sophisticated line under the Hugo Boss umbrella, which is a brand more often recognized for its simplified take on luxury working clothes than for sumptuous dresses for First Ladies and Hollywood stars.
By Luigi Torre
Circus #17 Muti Randolph 2010
Amazonista #18 Kleber Matheus 2010
Cibelle #19 Cibelle 2010
Melissa Time Code #20 Casa Darwin + Coala Films 2011
Jason Wu #21 Jason Wu 2011
Avaf (Assume Vivid Astro Focus) #22 Eli Sudbrack 2011
Plastic Paradise #23 Estúdio Arvore 2012
Julie Verhoeven #24 Drawings: Julie Verhoeven 2012
Lego #25 Casa Darwin + Coala Films 2012
Karl Lagerfeld #26 Pier Paolo Balestrieri 2013
We Are Flowers #27 Casa Darwin 2013
Magnum #28 Estúdio Árvore 2013
Nation #29 Daniel Ueda + Pedro Sales 2013
Eat My Melissa #30 Casa Darwin 2014
Melissa One by One #31 Casa Darwin 2014
Star Walker #32 Pier Paolo Balestrieri 2014
Marcelo Rosenbaum plunged into the Melissa universe for the first time in 2005.
“Our long history began with an invitation to set up an exhibition for the release of the book ‘Plastic.o.rama’ at the Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art”,
he says of that event, which celebrated Melissa’s 30th anniversary.
The architect has already had two iconic interventions at the space in Oscar Freire Street: Night Sky, in 2007, and 3D, in 2009, which celebrated the launch of Melissa’s first ever perfume.
Besides being a known supporter of the democratization of design, his love of Brazilianness is the thread connecting his many endeavors.
For his Galeria Melissa début, celebrating the release of the brand’s partnership with British designer J. Maskrey, Rosenbaum made Oscar Freire Street shine. He covered the store inside and out in diamond-shaped metal plates created with help from a Carnival parade designer.
A huge diamond-shaped chandelier, which had been hung in the middle of the plaza at enormous effort, was the cherry on top.
Two years on, the challenge was to interpret the Melissa perfume and materialize it on Galeria’s façade. Energy, femininity, and sensuality are the fragrance’s constituents, developed by perfumist Claudio de Deus for the awardwinning, legendary Swiss maison Givaudan (the creator of hits like Angel and J’Adore, to name a few), with coordination by Brazilian expert Renata Ashcar.
The perfume travels down the floral-fruity path: It has the freshness of bergamot and a watery accord that blends violet leaves and the juiciness of passionfruit. In the notes at the heart of the fragrance are jasmine, gardenia, lily-of-the-valley, and ylang-ylang. The base notes provide a contrast with tones such as ambergris, musk, and woody oils like sandalwood and cedarwood.
Given all this, Rosenbaum placed the ingredients on the façade walls, maximized and blown up into a 3-D print. A totem with special glasses set on a revolving piece in the middle of the central atrium allowed viewing the effect on the imagery. This enabled passersby to experience all of the façade’s 3-D elements.
Rosenbaum believes that Galeria Melissa has all the traits of a true urban plaza, one that has since 2005 been reinventing the flagship-store concept in its own way.
“The space is highly versatile and depends only on the proposed equipment or occupation”, he says.
The nature of the open-air façade, in particular, is appealing to him.
“It is a very interesting experience, to democratize knowledge and be able to share one’s work, thinking, and beauty with a wider audience.”
By André Rodrigues
The winding, almost naïf brush strokes on the walls at Galeria Melissa, imbued of the millennial strength of the Tupinamba tribe, take architect Andrés Sandoval far beyond the paths that he originally drew for his life.
When Oscar Niemeyer said that his architectural production would be based “on the sweet curves of the beloved woman”, he wasn’t speaking for himself – but on behalf of an entire nation that doesn’t skid even in the sharpest turns.
Niemeyer’s crusade against functionalism raised him to the top of the Modernist deconstruction food chain for local architecture. And, with his glass full to the brim, the concepts ended up overflowing from his drawing board, gaining the world, and thickening the broth of the Brazilian national identity in every form – whatever it may be, whether for natives or for foreigners.
Never mind: the enigmatic Brazilian identity is, above all, something completely out of the curve.
Andrés Sandoval, also an architect, knows it full well:
“I think my curving brush strokes, my winding drawing style, using my own hands all the time, were what caught Melissa’s attention”,
says the illustrator about his 2007 collaboration with the brand, a series of prints for the Trópicos de Melissa (“Tropics of Melissa”) collection.
Then he developed Galeria Melissa’s fourth façade, celebrating the store’s first anniversary along the way.
“The Brazilian Indian graphisms and lots of the plants on the prints that I developed for Melissa came from designs that I had seen when I was in contact with the Tikuna ethnicity, at the Brazilian-Peruvian border”,
he tells briefly and against his own grain – he likes to delve deep instead of skimming the surface when it comes to his artistic production, something he regards as a work in progress.
“I want to make a contribution to the world, show a better way to live and look at things. Not that I think about it beforehand. It is a construction, something that happens naturally”,
he justifies. For Sandoval, an empty, forgotten wall may well be the blank canvas where a story begins.
“My proposal for Melissa was entirely handcrafted, natural – brush strokes, rubber stamps, gouache. The brand, in a way, exploits this in its products, this issue of technology offset against the handmade. I believe this was my main contribution”,
he says, humbly, of his gigantic hand-painted panels, which had to be magnified even further in prints made in parts, as no graphic machinery available in Brazil in 2007 could handle all of the work on its own.
Where did so many ideas come from?
“I don’t like the notion that the muse sometimes comes to the artist. I think it’s silly. I like routine and I find it very productive. Routine does not cheapen the work you do, because every job demands a different routine and a different language”,
he concludes – hitting a curve ball.
By André Rodrigues
One of the most striking façades in the ten years since Galeria Melissa has been open became known as the “Post-it”.
Over a period of five months, 350,000 sticky notes were glued to Galeria Melissa’s storefront. The notes were later recycled, and the action was fully sustainable. It deservedly became a case that has been viewed and reviewed time after time all over the world.
Five different layouts reminded passersby of four other Galeria Melissa installations, bringing up some of the most memorable displays ever there: like the elephant for the Afromania collection or the opening façade. A real tour de force that instantly won the hearts of visitors.
The first façade took 50 uninterrupted hours to complete. Once it was done, people started interacting with it by writing on the notes.
The messages included several “Happiness forever”, “Life is colorful and we are the ones to paint it”, and “Melissa is the best”.
By André Rodrigues
Over the Rainbow
The Galeria Melissa façade done in LEGO bricks was unveiled in October–2012, and developed by Cesar Cabral’s Coala production company, on a concept by Casa Darwin.
Cesar’s first-ever collaboration with Galeria had been breathtaking: Cabral and his team built the gigantic pair of boots that Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid dreamed up and took over the atrium in July 2008.
“Originally, the idea was to build LEGO plinths, but it ended up as a kind of rainbow, a hanging bridge built mostly out of LEGO pieces”, he says.
It was hard work backstage. The LEGO blocks weighed about half a ton each. “There were seven blocks all told”, says Cesar about the 3.000 kilos of colored bricks that took a crane for the subsequent transportation to and assembly before Galeria Melissa.
For Cabral, Galeria Melissa’s cultural value is not explicit.
“People don’t realize that they are in a gallery, so they behave differently than they might in a museum, for example, where they know everything is valuable. And that’s awesome”, he concludes.
So much so that children and adults alike went frantic over the façade done in LEGO bricks, the delightful pretext for which was the release of the Summer 2013 Melissa Rainbow collection, which was concerned precisely with mankind’s constant pursuit of happiness.
While the outside walls were painted sky-blue with clouds here and there, the inside portion of the store also got a special treatment, with stickers inspired in the texture of the bricks. When the action ended in January 2013, 95% of the bricks were returned to the makers for reuse in other sets.
It is the Walt Disney recipe for success, reproduced verbatim in this case:
“If we can dream, we can also make our dreams come true.”
By André Rodrigues