Let's Do The Copacabana: Carmen Miranda's Fifi costumes 

Museu Carmen Miranda

The film Copacabana (1947) showed the Brazilian performer Carmen Miranda in new roles and established her as a fashion icon. 

The star of Copacabana: Carmen Miranda
Copacabana (1947) was the first film made by the "Brazilian bombshell" after finishing her contract with Fox, where she was since 1940. The film counts not only on Carmen's presence and performance, but was also the first -- and last -- time that Groucho Marx acted without his brothers -- and with his own mustache! The title of the film, in fact, does not refer to the iconic beach in Rio de Janeiro, but to a famous nightclub with the same name in New York -- where several scenes were recorded including the presentations of Carmen. Although the film received moderate criticism, Carmen's performance was considered exemplary.

"A Scena Muda"

A 1947 review of the magazine "A Scena Muda" commented that "the great novelty of Copacabana is a blonde Carmen Miranda, the rest is more or less the usual: tall hairstyles, spectacular costumes, stylized 'baianas', skyscraper shoes and Carmen's body, getting better and better. It is worthy saying it!"

The 'Copacabana' costumes
In the movie, Carmen's character Mademoiselle Fifi presents 5 musical performances: "Tico-Tico no Fubá", "Je Vous Aime", "He Hasn't Got a Thing to Sell", "To Make a Hit with Fifi", and "Let's do the Copacabana." Some of her costumes weighted more than 20kg! Get to know the details of a selection of them.

Copacabana (1947)

P&B. United Artists.
Directed by Alfred Green.
Character Mademoiselle Fifi.

Black sequined Jacket

Short jacket in black crepe embroidered with sequins in the same color worn by Carmen Miranda. Crossed, forming square neckline. In front, two buttons lined in the same fabric and embroidered with sequins. With shoulder pads.

Black sequined skirt

Long skirt in black crepe, fully embroidered with black sequins worn by Carmen Miranda. Central slit in front and back revealing lining.

Shoes

Black suede shoe. Open toe, peep toe style. Application of tie of same material with silver detail, in Greek, in the face. Closed buttress, D'Orsay style, attached to it strap with gold buckle clasp. Heels tapering on the back.

To Make a Hit With Fifi

Carmen's performance as Mademoiselle Fifi.

Long dress of Madame Fifi's character

Long dress with tail worn by Carmen Miranda. Long sleeves and shoulders. In beige crepe covered by a black crochet net embroidered with green and red sequins and metallic beads. Waist-to-beam opening, with black tulle frill. Sleeves with metal snap fasteners. Zipper closure at the back.

Composed of a jersey fabric with satin leather lining, it is covered by a black crocheted mesh dotted with green and colorful sequins. For the time the costume was very daring since it molded the whole body of the artist.

Black satin shoe

Black satin shoe used by Carmen Miranda, right foot. Open toe, peep toe style. Face with pierced cutout. Tops fastened across the front, buckle fastening. Strips fastened on the sides of the heel. Platform heel tapering on the back.

Tico-Tico no Fubá

Costume by Barjansky, with suggestions of Carmen Miranda. This garment is considered the last laced 'baiana' created in Hollywood studios and the first of a series for international concerts and tours.

Baiana's Turban

Turban embroidered with pearly sequins. Topped by fruit basket embroidered with sequins and beads. Among the fruits: pineapple, bananas, grapes. Around the basket, red fruits of plastics and green leaves embroidered with sequins..

Baiana' Skirt worn at the show of Carmen Miranda in Las Vegas

Skirt in golden lame with waistband worn by Carmen Miranda. Skirt with embroidered ornaments in gold sequins and fruit applications in satin and velvet of various colors, embroidered with round sequins and in eye shape, stones and rhinestones. Waistband in beige tulle filled with rhinestone embroidery and sequins forming lozenges. Zipper closure and bracket on the back.

Carmen changes the original costume and start a new phase in her artistic career, having her style signature also in concerts in US and Europe.

Top with silver, pink, yellow and green sequins

Bustier in bra shape worn by Carmen Miranda, heart neckline. Bulges structured with circular ring. Black fabric printed around the bulge and sides. Embroidered with silver, pink, yellow and green sequins covering most of the piece. In the lining, cotton mesh on the sides. At the top of the bumpers, metal hooks. Metal clasp sewn on side bands.

Shoes

Shoe in golden lamé fabric. Open toe, peep toe style. Strips fastened to the top, crossing the front, close to the clasp, silvery pelisse. Platform heel with slope on front and back.

Matting type golden bracelet

Bracelet matting type in gold metal used by Carmen Miranda. Formed by four plates, cast in floral motifs, joined by rosettes enamelled with red metal. In the center of each plate is a medallion formed by a light green cabochon surrounded by a row of blue rhinestones and one of small pearls. Plate with application of red and green stones, pearls and small points of red and white enamelling forming flowers. Snap-on clasp and thief handle.

Choker

Choker formed by five plates and thin lateral chains in gold metal, used by Carmen Miranda. Plates in the form of Greek cross, leaked and laced with floral motifs and enameled details in red and white. Application of green and red rhinestones and pearly beads. In the center, a medallion formed by a light green cabochon surrounded by a row of blue rhinestones and pearly beads. Fitting closure with floral motifs.

Necklace

Necklace formed by fifteen plates and thin chains lateral in gold metal used by Carmen Miranda. Plates in the form of Greek cross, hollow and laced with floral motifs and enameled details in red and white. Application of green and red rhinestones and pearly beads. In the center, a medallion formed by a light green cabochon surrounded by a row of blue rhinestones and pearly beads.

Let's Do The Copacabana

This costume weights around 20 kilos. The skirt has more than 1000 fringes of beads, the turban and the platform shoes are made of acrylic. Carmen can show a totally different 'baiana,' sensual and graceful, even though very heavy.

Acrylic turban

Turban in silver lamé covered by four layers of fringes with mirrored colorless beads. Engraved by arrangement of volutes in colorless acrylic, with application of colorless and mirrored stones. On the circular base of the scrolls, bun application of brown hair strands.

Shoes

Shoes in silver pelisse. Open toe, peep toe style. Face with clipping. Strips fastened to the top, crossing the front, buckle clasp. Platform shoe in acrylic.

Acrylic crystal's blouse

Blouse in bustier format with shoulder pads worn by Carmen Miranda. Bustier in bow-shaped bra with rounded rim and embroidered with transparent beads. Passing over the bust to the shoulders, structured support embroidered with beads, stones, sequins, transparent beads forming designs of scrolls and rhinestones transparent in the outline. Gray satin lining. Stuck in support, from the bust to the neck, woven in voile, front and back. Embroidery of transparent stones, near the neck, forming a kind of necklace. Metal latches on the back.

Skirt of bead's fringes

Long skirt in satin beige embroidered with silver plackets down to the hip. Fringe with buckles. Zipper closure and bracket. Row of rhinestones on waist.

Credits: Story

Carmen Miranda's Museum
César Balbi

Anita Mantuano Arts Foundation of State of Rio de Janeiro/ Rio de Janeiro State Department of Culture
André Lazaroni

Museum Superintendent
Raphael Hallack Fabrino

Curatorship
Laura Ghelman
César Balbi
Vivian Fava
Clara Paulino

Composition
Laura Ghelman

Photography
Cerne Sistemas

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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