Bold and Brazilian

Brazilian designer Patricia Bonaldi is making quite a splash worldwide with her line of PatBO designer clothing, known for its detailed embroidery combined with bold textures, colors and materials. She’s also landed right here in WAG country, with a beautiful and eclectic array of eveningwear being sold at  Mary Jane Denzer in White Plains.

“I think the dresses are very feminine and sophisticated,” says Anastasia Cucinella, co-owner of Mary Jane Denzer. “They’re also quite intricate in their combination of lace and appliqué, including sparkling sequins and crystal beads. It’s very interesting how Patricia assembles her materials together and that’s what makes her collection so unique.”

According to Cucinella, “The dresses are perfect for someone who is 35 years old as well as someone who’s in their 60s.  They really show off a woman’s figure in a very complimentary manner.”

Bonaldi sees it the same way:  “Our customer is more about attitude than age. She is fearless and confident in who she is. I see her as someone who maintains her essence and is not afraid to experiment with trends. In truth, she is feminine and strong, graceful and bold.”

Bonaldi was born in a bucolic town of Uberlândia, famed for its thriving textile industry.  Growing up, she recalls loving to shop for fabrics and designing her own clothes. While studying law at a local university, Bonaldi opened up a namesake, multibrand store in her hometown in 2002. She quickly began to receive requests for custom-made gowns, which developed into a sought-after eveningwear line. 

A few years later she graduated with a degree in fashion design and launched her PatBO brand in 2012. (In addition to the eveningwear, PatBO also produces more casual clothing and swimwear collections.) While she has six stores throughout Brazil, Bonaldi decided to introduce the brand to the United States in 2017. 

“It has always been a dream of mine to bring the brand to the U.S.,” she says. “We have seen strong growth in Brazil, with the momentum building over the last few years. It just felt right to go bigger last year.” 

Rather than outsourcing the production process, Bonaldi began to teach her technique to local residents in her hometown. She established a School of Embroidery in Uberlândia and employs graduates at her factory. Because of the skills the women learn, they are able to support their families. 

“The artisans imbue each piece with their dedication and passion, understanding that even the tiniest details matter,” Bonaldi says.  The richly decorated dresses channel a South American spirit and take 60 to 100 days to complete.

“I built the business on a single thread, with the art of craftsmanship and meticulous hand embroidery at the center of the brand’s DNA,” she adds. “The type of embroidery I became synonymous with is not easily found in Brazil, so it was important for me to preserve this craft, while also empowering local artisans.”  

Bonaldi divides her time between Uberlândia, where her factory and school are located, and São Paulo, where she lives and has an atelier. She is intimately involved in all stages of the design process. “I fit every sample, approve all embroidery tests and oversee the stamping process to make sure every piece is perfect,” she says.

This is the first year that Mary Jane Denzer has carried Bonaldi’s line of designer dresses, but Cucinella says Bonaldi has been on her radar for several years:  “I first saw Patricia’s collection three years ago in Paris and have been following how she continues to grow.”

The Mary Jane Denzer store has five pieces from the designer’s Fall 2018 collection, with price points ranging from $2,200 to $4,000.  “Each one of them is size specific, because we are in a very small community and we don’t want anyone to be wearing the same dress to an event,” Cucinella adds.

The current collection was inspired by Bonaldi’s recent travels to Havana, Cuba, and Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera, while her native country continues to be a source of ideas for everything she does. Representing a whimsical spirit, the dresses are bold and beautiful, full of intricate lace and appliqué patterns, textured with paisleys and flowers.

As far as color is concerned, Cucinella says that the dresses she has chosen feature mostly lilacs and other shades of purple. “That is a very big trend for this fall,” she notes.

“What I love about Patricia is that she runs a very small business out of Brazil and she really cares about the workmanship and the fabrics,” Cucinella adds. “It’s a very important collection for us, because I like to represent up-and-coming designers, and she’s one of the best.”  

For more, visit patbo.com and mjdenzer.com.

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