CARMEN MIRANDA BEACH STYLE & BAIANAS 👳🏾♀️🍉🍌🌺
This is the time of year when I start lamenting about how Summer is almost over yet it feels like we just got started with the season. Call me cray but I feel like Summer never really came to NYC this year. Sure, we had a few hot days but it was also filled with many rainy ones and odd cool days that left me yearning for the heat.
Anywhoo, I'll try to hold my complaints until "Winter is coming" because Summer is technically still here and today I want to bring some island vibes into your life! While vacationing in Aruba earlier this year, I styled this fun floral, african print and fruity beach look inspired by none other than the vivacious and ever talented Carmen Miranda!
Carmen Miranda was a Portuguese born, Brazilian samba singer, dancer and actress who's popularity grew throughout the 1930s to the 1950s. Often referred to as the Brazilian Bombshell, Carmen was known for her lively performances and bold outfit choices consisting of midriff tops, form fitting maxi skirts, sky high platform heels, bounttiful jewelry and turbans often adorned with fruits and flowers. Carmen's signature style in many ways drew inspiration from her home (Brazil) and was said to be influenced by Baianas
Baianas are women of African descent from a state in Brazil called Bahia. They're usually seen wearing traditional dress honoring their cultural heritage. The traditional clothing in this region is usually white (although outside this region it can be colorful) with lace details alluding to some European influence but mainly paying homage to Candomblé; a Afro-Brazilian religion. These women also adorn themselves in layered headscarves, colorful beaded necklaces, bangle stacks, rings and drop earrings denoting their African roots. Baianas play a vital role in preserving Afro-Brazilian culture through their dress as well as food and customary practices.
Now that we understand a bit more about the influence behind Carmen Miranda's style, can we actually talk about how much I adore her?!!! Carmen's use of color and bold accessories is right up my alley and I love how she owned all her looks. To this day when I watch her films I feel sheer and utter joy seeing her dance, sing and flash that bright smile across the screen.
I've styled looks, created DIYs and done decor projects inspired by Carmen but I didn't realize there would be an explosion of fruit salad everywhere this year and 2017 would be the year of Carmen Miranda!
Many of my fruit pieces are vintage (because vintage is the best) but I also scored a few modern pieces due to the influx of all things tropical and tutti fruity in the mainstream market this season.
My heart sang many Chica chica boom chic verses and my wallet took a hit. I even tried to talk myself out of purchases by thinking of all the vintage pieces I already owned but the heart wants what the heart wants. What can I say? I'm a sucker for the allure of The Lady In The Tutti Frutti Hat.
My swimsuit is vintage and so are most of my bangles. My earrings were an Etsy find that I wore for the first time in Aruba. They're 1940's raffia fruit basket earrings made in West Germany. My african print mixed with stripes head-wrap is from a sweet boutique I discovered on Instagram called ShopFeline and I wrapped it to give a turban look. I've shared my Carmen Miranda fruit hair clips and hibiscus before and they're bothering from an Etsy shop called Olga Designs. I added some faux orchid flowers, banana leaf sunnies and a tie-dye beach kimono to complete the look.
If you'd like to learn more about Carmen Miranda take a peek at this documentary. I've also included a video of Carmen singing "O que é que a baiana tem?" below. This was said to be one of the first times Carmen Miranda appeared in (less conservative) dress inspired by Baianas with her fruit turban as a representation of the fruit baskets these women would carry on their head as vendors. The song's title translated from Portuguese to English reads "What does the woman from Bahia have?"