by Sandra Porto
Journalist Claudia Falcao tells The File Style how lockdown has brought identity home.
Like fingerprints, features are distinctive and unique marks that together form our identity. It’s far from judging a book by its cover but experiences, choices and environment are inevitably part of our tapestry.
Claudia is in soul what she looks in the exterior: vibrant, gregarious and creative.
The first things you’ll notice about her are abundant bouncy locks and a huge smile. There will always be a statement accessory and a posture that screams for a stage: “I love showing off my sensuality”, she says with a single movement to her head and the bouncy locks following in harmony.
The File Style talked to Claudia from the comfort of her home, as part of a project to document and explore how is the lockdown affecting our generation living under the “new normal” with a focus on identity and style.
Claudia, a Brazilian expat living in Europe for more than 20 years, is now settled in Holland. There, she found love and a lovely home that she treasures and cultivates with her partner, surrounded by nature and arts. From there, she tells her story: “I was born in Brazil, in a small town in the mid-west of the country called Aquidauana in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, an incredibly rich place in fauna and flora.
“I come from a very big family. I was adopted and had a very difficult childhood but I had someone in my life that always pushed me forward and helped me to be strong and true to my personality. That was my grandmother… She is no longer with us but she still is my icon.”
Claudia’s grandmother was more than a loving force propelling her through life. She was the fashion designer and guide helping Claudia to find inner femininity and teaching how to be a rose among thorns. She’d often make feminine dresses and Claudia was sometimes bullied because of her bespoke outfits. Growing up in a hyper-consumerist society where the latest trends and big brands were all that mattered, Claudia’s style was very much against the current. She was different and her grandmother helped her to find her identity and be proud of it.
“I wasn’t always allowed to show my personality and be free to be myself but my grandmother would encourage me and allow me to be myself and to feel beautiful. She still is my icon”, says Claudia.
When did you find freedom to express your style?
“That was when I went to university to study Journalism. I was then free to work, to pay for my own things and go anywhere I wanted. That also meant I was free to explore and play with my style, to visit the shops and get inspired by the trends. But the interesting thing was that I always went back to the very feminine pieces that my grandmother instilled on me, for example, floral and floaty dresses, an extravagant corsage or oversized earrings…”
The time of exploration did not stop at university. It was just the liberation and beginning of a life-long love affair with experimentation and discovery. Claudia now collects valuable pieces from all over her life, friends, travels and places she lived. Clothes and objects that tell a story.
When we ask her to show a style that still brings inspiration, she proudly presents a long-sleeved black dress: “This is an Ossie Clarke dress from his first-ever collection, straight from the Swinging Sixties. Who doesn’t like that time?” she says.
She also pulls out some very special shoes, a pink and silky pair from Rayne Shoes, the shoemakers for the Queen: “I got this pair from a friend over 4pm tea in London. She said ‘I’ll give you something that I’m sure just you would appreciate the story and would wear it – and it’s actually your favourite colour.’”
When we ask if she actually wears them, she replies: “Yes, of course! I even have to fix the heels now! Though, I don’t wear them as much anymore as they are quite delicate.”
Living under lockdown now, opportunities to wear these outside are not as plentiful, to say the least. But, as we have been discovering, the lockdown has also brought many opportunities for self-discovery or reconnecting with distant worlds and realities.
What else has she discovered during the lockdown so far?
“I have discovered that I still have a unique style and still true to my personality. I value inspiration from books, good sources and other influences… I can revisit them whenever I want for inspiration. At this time of lockdowm, this is my world to which I can always go back to. They are true and inspirational.
In this time, I can still have a moment just for myself. Unfortunately, we are going through a terrible time in the world but I have used this time to rediscover my feelings and the past, which made me who I am now. It’s a moment of rediscovery.”
Watch Claudia talking about her experiences:
Images: Claudia Falcao’s personal archive used with permission.
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