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Fashion Rio: Coca Cola Fashion Debacle

Godfrey Deeny
January 10th, 2008 @ 6:40 PM - Rio de Janeiro

Talk about a weird example of brand extension. The world’s most famous soft drink, Coca Cola, launched a fashion line on Wednesday night with a bunch of obscure Brazilians and the collection plummeted from uninspiring to awful.

The collection was named Coca Cola Clothing; clothes all right but not anything remotely approaching fashion.

Coca Cola has previously sponsored catwalk seasons – even as far as Zambia Fashion Week – and the Coke logo has been memorably inspiring in accessories. But an actual collection is a new step, and judging from this show in Rio’s main runway site, Marina Gloria on the shores of the Atlantic, not the wisest one.

Designed by one Thais Rossiter, the collection was an unhappy stew of speckled leggings, tacky mirror decorated denim cut off jackets and “slapper” shorts for gals, or scratchy T-shirts, faded jeans and retro high tops for guys. Not even the presence of the world’s best beautiful girl next door, Guisella Rhein (you know when you are having a drink or rap with a buddy and he suddenly recalls, wide eyed, this stunning vision of a gal, one he has to tell you he met, one who sashays sultrily and looks so perfect – Rhein is the best example of the genre), saved this show.

Given the way artists and dreamers through the years – from Andy Warhol to Sir Peter Blake – have been inspired by the Coke logo, can and bottle, we were expecting something with a little panache and humor. Instead we got banal and bulky T-shirts with text that screamed, “Welcome to the Coke Side of Life.”

Memo to the incoming Chief Operating Officer of Coca Cola Muhtar Kent: there is brand expansion and brand debacles. This collection was the latter.

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