The Miranda Look: Balangandãs

The Carmen Miranda Style in Chunky Jewelry

By Museu Carmen Miranda

Brazil (1939) by John PhillipsLIFE Photo Collection

The Carmen Miranda Style

Carmen Miranda was so special she created a colorful but incredibly elegant styling of the Bahian clothing. She was a small, sprightly woman with big green eyes and a mouth that always boasted a huge smile, a woman who created a famous cinematic look that can be compared only to the costumes of Marlene Dietrich or Marilyn Monroe.

Carmen Miranda costume´s tests FOX (1940) (1940) by Alberto de OliveiraMuseu Carmen Miranda

Look at me and tell me if I don't have Brazil in every curve of my body.

Carmen Miranda

Golden bracelet (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

The chunky jewelry

Even before she became famous, Carmen loved wearing costume jewelry. As the biggest female singing star in Brazil in the 1930s, she wore various pieces and women were soon copying her style. She was not particularly fond of fine jewelry and, when she started wearing Bahia-style outfits, she went over the top with her costume jewelry.

Matting type golden bracelet (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Matting type golden bracelet (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Pectoral brown necklace (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

In the United States, Carmen found various artists who would make jewelry for her, and she commissioned pieces for her films and for her own personal use.

Ring (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Cluster ring

Cluster ring set with stones.

Pectoral black necklace (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Pectoral colorful necklace (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

It should be pointed out that, as she was a star, her costumes in this vast array of colors, shapes, and materials were created exclusively for her.

Round shower ring (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Silver shower ring (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Carmen preferred costume jewelry to fine jewelry. Her collection included rings, bracelets, bangles, brooches, necklaces, chokers, and earrings. Her image has always been linked to the jewelry she wore, both in her career as a singer and actress, and in her personal life.

Pectoral green necklace (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Her Stage Jewelry

Carmen went over the top with the jewelry for her first Bahia-inspired costume. Then, from 1946 onward, she replaced the large number of necklaces and bracelets she wore as part of her stage costumes with Egyptian-style breastplates and bangles, which were created exclusively for her and were easier to transport when she was on tour.

Wrist bracelet (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Pectoral red necklace (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

She used the huge breastplates worn by Egyptian pharaohs as inspiration but incorporated a double row of stones into the designs she wore. These neck pieces fitted in with the shows she was doing at the time and hid her bustier straps and the size of her breasts.

Red wrist bracelet (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Red wrist bracelet

Wrist bracelet with red stones.

Ring (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Copacabana (1947) - Tico-Tico no Fubá (1947) by Gregory MayMuseu Carmen Miranda

Colorful pectoral necklace (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Pectoral brown necklace (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Openwork on the Breastplates.

Hoop bracelet (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Regardless of whether it was intended to be worn on stage or for social events, Carmen's costume jewelry was always made to match a costume or tie in with a theme; for example, the bracelets for her Bahia-style costumes.

Golden bracelet, Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Museu Carmen Miranda
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Hoop bracelet, Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Museu Carmen Miranda
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Slave bracelet, Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Museu Carmen Miranda
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Red bracelet, Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Museu Carmen Miranda
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Hoop bracelet, Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Museu Carmen Miranda
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Hoop bracelet, Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Museu Carmen Miranda
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Golden bracelet (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Silver glass bracelet (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Her Costume Jewelry and Social Occasions

At the start of her career in Brazil, Carmen wore her jewelry in lots of different ways, including brooches pinned to her suits and dresses. Copying this in her social life marked her out as a star with her own unique sparkle.

Hinged bracelet in silver metal (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Her jewelry became her trademark, not only on stage and screen, but also in her social life. Her bangles and bracelets were commissioned in metal and precious stones, and featured various patterns such as dragons, geometric shapes, and arabesques in relief. Several bracelets were in cast metal or were fluted.

Silver glass bracelet (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Tribute to Carmen Miranda at the Chinese Theater (1941-03-24) by CarmenMiranda.FCMuseu Carmen Miranda

Silvery Feather's Earring (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Her Earrings and Brooches

Earrings and brooches offered Carmen Miranda infinite possibilities. Brooches could become earrings when pinned to a turban, or hair ornaments could be attached to necklaces. Earrings also became brooches and hair ornaments.

Loop brooch (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

A single set of brooches offered endless combinations when worn in different places. After all, there was no such thing as an overstatement for Carmen Miranda and everything was well matched with her flamboyant clothes, turbans, and platform shoes, which were themselves often decorated with her pendants.

Flower brooch, Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Museu Carmen Miranda
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Pair of earrings, Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Museu Carmen Miranda
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Flower brooch, Unknown, 1940, From the collection of: Museu Carmen Miranda
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Fan-shaped brooch (1940) by UnknownMuseu Carmen Miranda

Credits: Story

Carmen Miranda Museum
César Balbi

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

Museum Superintendent
Raphael Hallack Fabrino

Curation
Laura Ghelman
Clara Paulino
César Balbi
Vivian Fava

Assembly
Laura Ghelman
Clara Paulino
Ingrid Fiorante

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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