Far from fashion’s madding crowd in Juiz de Fora, Brazil, the design student Matheus Lomonte has conjured a sensitive microcosm of bygone beauty, channeled through their Instagram account @moonriverchacha. With an eye for impressionist painting and a puff sleeve, Lomontes is an unapologetically unpolished fantasy world, all hairy legs and lacy underwear, expressed through personal photography and styling projects with their partner Pedro Macedo.
Via Instagram, Lomonte caught the eye of Milanese canape king Corrado Calza, caterer to Mrs. Prada (among others), who couldnt help share their universe with Marni creative director Francesco Risso. “Matheus immediately became a part of the inspiration for the Spring 2018 womens show”, said Risso. “And at a certain point I couldn’t resist to invite him to come see it! It was such a joy meeting and dressing them.” Matheus and Pedro travelled to Milan for the runway show, a bright and eclectic affair awash with dense textures, aquarelle prints, idiosyncratic embroideries, and exploded corset volumes.
Upon returning to Brazil, Lomonte dreamed up a suite of self-portraits in collaboration with Pedro Macedo for A Magazine Curated By, hinting at the symbolist works of Fauvist painter Kees Van Dongen, whose works are mixed throughout the series. I was thinking about his and the feeling after a party, all the decadence and glamour of a hangover, when you are a mess, said Lomonte.
“Moonriver Cha Cha’s world is romantic yet at the same time rejects anything too obvious,” said Risso, who’s own aesthetic plays with naive beauty and hedonism in equal parts. “It is aesthetically sophisticated in a way that the romantic quality comes from strength and through tenderness. It is as if beauty is used in defence! Matheus is the muse I would love to have in the Marni atelier all the time, modelling for me, sitting around, interpreting my work through their eyes.