A Taste Of The Tropics

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A Taste Of The Tropics

Words by Mr Chris Elvidge

3 August 2016

In the vibrant spirit of the host city of the Games, we’ve handpicked a few pieces to bring out your inner samba dancer.

If Rio de Janeiro approaches the task of hosting the Games in the same way it does its annual Mardi Gras Carnival, then we can safely expect to be in for a colourful few weeks. With the opening ceremony now only a day away, what better time to highlight a few of the more eye-catching creations available on MR PORTER? Whether you’re lucky enough to be watching the sporting festivities first hand or simply enjoying the show from the comfort of your own home, the following selection of printed and patterned pieces from brands such as Gucci, Neighborhood, KAPITAL and Frescobol Carioca should help to ease you into the Olympic spirit.

Since becoming creative director of Gucci in January of last year, Mr Alessandro Michele has brought a radically different sensibility to this storied Florentine fashion house, one that’s as fun and flamboyant as the Gucci of old was opulent and sensual. Nothing expresses this new mood more than the profusion of print that you can find splashed across the brand’s recent collection, appearing on everything from sweatshirts to wallets and backpacks. We’re particularly fond of this T-shirt, which comes with a double dose of colour, featuring both a lively botanical print on the shirt itself and added hibiscus blooms appliquéd onto the chest for good measure. Yes, it’s not one for the faint of heart. But look on the bright side – you certainly won’t look out of place in Rio this August.

The renewed popularity of the camp-collar Hawaiian shirt shows no sign of abating as we move into the latter half of summer. Cut from breathable cotton and sporting a subdued, sepia-tinted tropical print, this one from the cult Tokyo streetwear brand Neighborhood is high up on our wish lists at MR PORTER. Intrepid dressers might also like to invest in the matching wide-legged shorts, while those of a more conservative stance should pair the shirt with a simple white T-shirt and dark denim or chinos.

Frescobol Carioca may be a British brand, but its heart is firmly in Rio. Inspired by the spirit and style of el cidade maravilhosa (the marvellous city), it launched in 2009 with its now iconic frescobol bat-and-ball sets before expanding into beachwear and accessories. Its resin-coated hardwood Trancoso bats are things of real beauty, made in Brazil with offcuts sourced from local furniture makers, while the Copacabana print on this linen beach towel will be familiar to anyone who has visited the beach of the same name. It’s inspired by the Mr Roberto Burle Marx mosaic that decorates the promenade.

Brazil is home to the biggest Japanese emigrant population in the world, so it stands to reason that Japanese brands should feature heavily in our selection. Based in the Kojima District of Okayama, Japan’s denim capital, KAPITAL is a label that specialises in the bringing together of an eclectic range of influences. Vintage Americana and traditional Japanese “boro” patchwork stitching feature heavily in its collections, which, thanks to the carefully distressed finish of the clothes, are imbued with a nostalgic appeal. This cactus-print Hawaiian shirt is a perfect example; it feels like the sort of thing that you’ve owned for years.

If you’ve found yourself drawn to the idea of introducing a little pattern into your wardrobe before, but didn’t feel confident enough to give it a go, then Marni is a name for you to remember. This Italian brand, much loved by the art and design crowd, is well-known for its sophisticated deployment of prints. Its clothes are often bold, but never loud. Take this T-shirt, for instance. Despite its eye-catching motif, which reminds us of the avenue of royal palms at the Jardim Botanico, it wouldn’t look out of place under a blazer or bomber jacket at a gallery opening.

The famous golden sands of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches are where you’ll find the true spirit of Rio de Janeiro, so it’s only fitting that our selection should include a nod to the beach life that so defines this vibrant city. Sporting a riotous array of tropical flora and fauna, including the Brazilian native toco toucan, these Traveler swim shorts from Polo Ralph Lauren are hardly the sort of thing a man would choose to wear if he were trying to remain incognito. What they lack in subtlety, though, they more than make up for in sheer fun factor.

Illustrations by Ms Anje Jager