“Carnival is a beautiful party and the greatest runway that exists. It’s dear to me and I’m proud to be part of it.” —Francisco Costa For five days every year leading up to the pious Catholic period of Lent, all craziness breaks loose in Rio. It’s called Carnival, and it is unarguably the most eye-popping, mind-blowing party on the planet.
The highlight of the raucous celebration is the Samba Parade, in which 70 schools, each representing a different neighborhood in the city, stage fantastical performances in the hopes of taking home the top Carnival Queen Prize.
This year, our own Francisco Costa had the honor of designing the costumes for Beija-Flor, the highest ranking Samba school, having won numerous parades.
And they went all out: The performance, which addressed the current political state in Brazil, exploring the notion of power and who possesses it, included a dozen dilapidated cars, two warring tribes, a cast of gypsies and prostitutes, and Exu, the divine messenger who commands the street and protects its people.
The costumes featured an exhilarating whirlwind of spikes, latex, crazy hairdos, and hardcore horse-inspired makeup. Put mildly by Francisco: “They’re very funky.”
Bravo to all the extraordinary participants!