When in Rio ..... flip out

Havaianas, pronounced ah-vai-YAH-nas, and meaning “Hawaiians” in Portuguese, seems to be a national treasure in Brazil. It is part of the essential beach kit and it is sold in common-or-garden-variety supermarkets. The first pair was created in 1962 and was inspired by the Zori, a typical Japanese sandal made of fabric straps and rice straw soles. A shoemaker in Sao Paulo took the idea and made a rubber version which would suit Brazil’s climate better. That is also the reason why the sole of all Havaianas have a textured rice pattern, one of its unmistakable features.

In 1998 a new model was specifically made for the soccer World Cup, featuring a small Brazilian flag on the strap. Then, in 2000, the company started exporting these sandals. And when, in 2002, Jean Paul Gaultier sent his models down the runways in Havaianas, the attention of the fashion world was well and truly captured. 

Nowadays, not only Havaianas, but other similar brands from Brazil are available in South Africa, including Ipanemas – you know, the one in collaboration with that nice, friendly girl, Gisele Bündchen. My favourites were the ones with the Copacabana’s unique black-and-white wave-patterned pavements from the beachfront promenade (by Braziliano Praia).

Daniel received a pair of the bright yellow and green Havaianas with the Brazil flag as a gift from Rio, and believe me, he looks cuter than even Gisele! (If you ask my husband, he offers a minority opinion on that one!)

The official Havainanas site is here.

Image credits: All photography by me

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