| S T Y L E |
Beachware | Rio de Janeiro
WE CATCH UP WITH FRESCOBOL CARIOCA FOUNDERS, Harry Brantly & MAX LEESE, TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THEIR ULTRA-STYLISH BRAND inspired by THE EFFORTLESSLY COOL BEACH CULTURE OF rio de janeiro.
What is the background of the Frescobol Carioca brand and when was it originally conceived?
HB & ML: We were playing Frescobol in Biarritz and some tourists fell in love with the wooden, handcrafted Frescobol beach bats that we discovered in Bahia, Brazil. So we thought why not bring the best of Rio’s beach lifestyle to the rest of the world? We launched in 2009 with a simple yet beautiful handcrafted beach bat – each one made individually by Brazilian artisans. We have now have grown the brand to include beachwear, accessories and casual wear to reflect the effortlessly cool Carioca culture.
What is the philosophy of the brand?
HB & ML: Frescobol Carioca embodies the spirit and style of Rio de Janeiro. It’s aspirational, active and effortlessly cool. We really believe that Rio de Janeiro is not just a destination, it’s a way of life, and Frescobol Carioca personifies this way of life. The main differentiator in terms of style is that rather than having a designer in London coming up with prints, we have taken our prints from the sidewalks of Brazil. Rather than just paying a designer in London to come up with some prints for us, we wanted to something that was more authentically Brazilian. We wanted to do something where we really had the authority to be able to say that this print comes from Brazil.
What are some of the major inspirations behind your collections?
HB & ML: For SS15, we were inspired by the fishing town of Paraty, a colonial archipelago two hours south of Rio de Janeiro. Inspiration is taken not only from it’s beautiful untouched coastline and intricate traditional tiled boardwalks, but also from its colonial architecture, natural shapes and aspirational, tranquil lifestyle - culminating in a collection which encompasses Brazil’s diverse and charming beauty, in all of it’s glory. These elements are manifested in a bespoke series of prints and colours for the SS15 range of tailored trunks, mixing culture with comfort for the best of Brazil beach style tailored to London. Taking style from the beach to the ‘noitadas’ (tropical carioca night out) Frescbol Carioca’s newest limited edition tailored shorts offer an alternative to the statement prints and are illustrated with iconic Carioca landscapes and typically tropical Brazilian scenes. The beach, the sidewalks and the ‘Kombi’, a popular 1960s van, still used today all feature, encompassing that everyday carefree ‘Carioca’ way of life.
What is your creative process when developing new products? What are some of the brand’s most emblematic creations?
HB & ML: Our process is to always have the Rio lifestyle in mind, effortlessly cool. All our products are cohesive in the sense of never compromising on quality and cuts. Also having a Brazilian designer on board is essential to truly understand this and to always be spot on. I would say that the bats are the most emblematic products in our collection because they are at the origin of the brand and the true Carioca way of life. And of course our geometric sidewalk print trunks are emblematic of Rio as we take them directly from the sidewalks of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.
What are some of your proudest achievements to date as a brand/ company?
HB & ML: Opening our first store in Marylebone is one of our proudest achievements. It was great timing with the Chiltern Firehouse also opening right by the store.
What are some of the challenges that you face as designers/ entrepreneurs?
HB & ML: Some challenges we face are having over 200 wholesale accounts from Mr Porter, Selfridges, and Matches to far away islands such as the One & Only resorts around the world. It can be difficult to manage all of these stockists – some of which are in the Caribbean islands – and it’s important to us to be very involved in ensuring that our Carioca lifestyle is being represented appropriately.
As your brand embodies the lifestyle of Rio de Janeiro, how does the city influence your creativity? What are some of your favourite local places to eat/ drink/ hang out in Rio de Janeiro?
HB & ML: To eat – Porcao is perfect for a late lunch located 3 blocks away from Ipanema beach front. To drink – Bathodomeu – a delicious restaurant that turns into a lively bar after midnight. To hang out – Copacabana Palace – the infamous hotel has played host to royalty and celebrities since 1923.
What are some of your favourite destinations in the world, and why? Where do you love to escape to on holidays?
HB & ML: Il Pellicano in Posto Ercole for long sunny days by the pool.
Where can we find Frescobol Carioca collections around the world? (e.g. some of your major stockists, boutiques, point of sales etc)
HB & ML: Mr Porter, Matches, Selfridges, Harrods, Le Bon Marche, Galeries Lafayette, Luisa Via Roma, Colette, The Shop at Bluebird, One & Only Hotels around the world, Rosewood Hotels, Four Seasons, Eden Rock in St Barths, Soho House etc… over 300 retailers around the world.
What is next on the horizon for the Frescobol Carioca brand?
HB & ML: We plan to expand our retail, possibly open one more store in London but we are currently looking at expanding to the States. We will also be expanding our current line of mens and womenswear keeping it close to our Carioca roots. We have recently launched CariocaPost.com which is a website dedicated to all things Brazil written by authentic carioca’s. We hope to also turn this into a print publication in the future.
Visit Frescobol Carioca's Online Store: frescobolcarioca.com
O T H E R S T Y L E I N T E R V I E W S . . .