gilson martins’ little shop that could…

…one of the highlights of rio was being able to pop into gilson martins in ipanema! like so many shops in sao paolo, melissa’s for instance, gilson’s follows the trend of bringing the inside of the store out with a bright, artfully painted façade. this shop is a rio based business who’s slogan “take brasil with you!” is apparent in all of their bags. a revolutionary in contemporary design, gilson uses recycled vinyl to make pop kitsch bags showcasing the culture of copacabana’s mosaic sidewalks, sugar loaf mountain, christ the redeemer and lapa with quirky style and unique form. gilson’s bags are collectibles and have been displayed at the louvre, the galleries lafayette, the cannes film festival, the 2006 world cup in berlin and are also carried in new york’s museum of modern art.

i purchased the bag below in coral snake print with watermelon pink zipper trim. what’s so great about this bag is the form! many women carry larger bags loaded with pockets to follow fashion and function. what i love about this bag is that the design is turned inside out with the elimination of the over-all bag and replaced with the whimsical “pockets” being connected together with a single strap! genius! i can take any one of the pockets off and carry as a quick clutch or i can use the additional strap to lengthen it into a shoulder bag. there wasn’t a single place i went where i didn’t receive positive comments.

the staff were of course, all young and beautiful and extremely helpful with regards to the product and two minutes after i made my purchase, the shop was overrun with customers. seeking a less crowded spot whilst i waited for my partner to transact his business, i popped into the gallery in the back which was just as compelling as the front. i’m seeing a theme in these painting’s reminiscent of the book “information is beautiful” by david mccandless. the ice cream painting would make a great print: