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Alexandre Birman’s Spring Summer 2023 Collection Dives Deep Into Brazilian Craft

Arezzo & Co. may be in a mindset of global expansion. But when it comes to its luxury footwear label Alexandre Birman, it’s all about back home in Brazil.

So it proved with its latest collection for spring summer ’23, which the brand and Arezzo CEO and namesake designer Alexandre Birman recently showed at Paris Fashion Week.

Using the small fishing village of Itapua (and the northeast state of Bahia it is located in) as both inspiration and source of craft, the brand tapped a group of women artisans there to create a series of handwoven details on footwear for a collection that showcases the best of Brazilian artistry and techniques that are at risk of the type of intergenerational extinction seen in handmade craft.

“We wanted to find an institution that was needing this visibility,” said Guilherme Cury, global head designer at Alexandre Birman. “The artisans work according to the tide, in the morning they gather shellfish and then in the afternoon they get together to do the lace work.”

Cury and the Birman design team worked with an octogenarian craftswoman named Maria and her group of artisans to create a series of styles that highlight different handmade textile work. A significant portion focuses on bobbin lace, a technique of delicate braiding first utilized in 15th-century Europe that has since found popularity amongst Brazilian artisans such as Maria. The lace work is used as decoration (with a crochet-like softness) on the toe of strappy heeled sandals as well as in a more delicate form in sheer cutouts on another sandal style. A series of sandals woven with smooth natural fibers are made with straw leaves from trees native to Saubara, which are also hand woven by the artisan group.

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An Alexandre Birman spring summer ’23 heeled sandal with rope motif inspired by the fisherman of Itapua in Brazil’s Bahia region.
CREDIT: Rafa Garcia
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An ankle-wrap sandal done with handwoven straw, from trees native to the town of Saubara in Brazil’s Bahia region, where Alexandre Birman tapped a team of local artisans to work on handcrafted details for the spring summer ’23 collection.
CREDIT: Rafa Garcia

Other styles reference the tools of the craft. The brand’s bestselling strap-tied Clarita sandal was reimagined in a delicate vintage floral patterned fabric, similar to those used on the bolster pillows that artisans used while weaving with the bobbin tools.

Each grouping of the collection also conjures the beachy-boho way of life that Itapua has been known for since the ’60s and ’70s (when the song “Tarde Em Itapua” popularized the locale), from chunky fisherman’s rope-inspired ankle ties to heels that are actually coated in a layer of glittering sand. A series of espadrilles uses the burlap of vintage coffee bags in a nod to the country’s most famous export.

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For spring summer ’23, Alexandre Birman’s bestselling Clarita sandal was reimagined in a vintage floral fabric, similar to those found on bolster pillows that artisans used while creating bobbin lace (also featured in the collection).
CREDIT: Rafa Garcia

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