But the country also has a flourishing creative community and a cool, refined aesthetic influenced by the various immigrant communities — from Portugal, Germany, France, Italy and even Japan and Lebanon — as well as the indigenous culture.
It is this rich swirl that Le Magazyn, a fashion and lifestyle boutique in Venice Beach, brings to Los Angeles. Store owner and Sao Paulo native Ana Kozak borrowed elements from Brazil's multicultural heritage for her shop, which opened earlier this year.
BRAZIL MEETS VENICE: Inside Le Magazyn. (Photo: Courtesy of Le Magazyn)
The store features a curation of contemporary Brazilian design in fashion and lifestyle with a mix of more well-known midcentury furniture (Sergio Rodrigues, Jorge Zalszupin, Carlos Motta) and fashion and lifestyle brands (Paula Ferber, Sibylla Simonek) exclusive to the store.
In today's global environment, where travel and the internet make cultures more fluid than ever before, Kozak notes that artists from her country have a certain flair for using local materials and tropical vibes for inspiration.
There are the obvious references to the country’s rainforests (a sandal with a toucan bird motif, dishes shaped like thick, droopy leaves), handcrafted out of natural materials including leather, wood, stone and porcelain.
"My idea is to have very high-end, very unique pieces, " explains Kozak, adding that she tries to avoid Brazilian cliches unless, like the toucan sandal, they live up to standards. Small Buddha statues and drink ware by Manus Studios (-0), hand-printed tiles fastened into trays by Flavia Del Pra ($220), macrame sandals by Paula Ferber (sold exclusively in the U.S. at Le Magazyn; $280-$420) and an assortment of jewelry crafted out of local stones add to the eclectic and earthy "Brazilian Bossa" offering.
NATURAL ELEMENTS: Inside Le Magazyn. (Photo: Courtesy of Le Magazyn)
Though Kozak herself travels back to Brazil twice a year to scout the latest artists, she has become a true Angeleno since moving to the States, noting that appreciating Venice Beach’s rich and vibrant artist community reminds her a bit of home.
“I think it’s an open-minded neighborhood, ” says Kozak. “I feel comfortable here.”
The two cultures — Brazil’s underground, metropolitan art scene and Venice’s laid-back, beachy vibe — mesh seamlessly, she adds.
The Brazil-in-California spirit is reflected in the sultry, beachy, black-and-white photographs of 1980s Venice in its muscle and skate glory, taken by her friend Claudio Edinger, currently on display at the store. On Thursday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., she will host a reception for the famed Brazilian photographer, who published a book of photos of local Venice residents in 1985. In honor of the book's 30th anniversary, Kozak tracked down several of the subjects in the photos (many of whom still live in Venice Beach) to attend the soiree and reunite with the artist. Prints will be available for sale (small framed $3, 900; medium framed $6, 700; large framed $9, 250) through September.
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