Brazilian clothing designer Lino Villaventura, of national and international renown, started his career in 1982, when he opened his first store in the city of Fortaleza, the capital of the northeaster state of Ceará, in Brazil. He was one of the first Brazilian designers to look at the international market.
In 1989, when he was little over ten years into his career and was already a reference in Brazilian fashion, the native of the state of Pará, then living in Ceará, was invited by the Brazilian foreign office (Itamaraty) to represent Brazil in an international fair in Osaka, Japan, the "World Trade Fashion."
Considered an icon of Brazilian fashion, the designer has items catalogued in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and sells his creations in France, Spain, Portugal and the United States.
The brand, whose main source of income is custom-made clothing, has participated in the São Paulo Fashion Week ever since its first edition, in 1996. With strong presence in the media, Lino Villaventura has photographs of his work in editorials on the national versions of publications such as Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire, and in international publications such as Collezione, L'Officiel Homme, Maglieria Italiana, among others.
The designer is also known for the awards he was granted. He was recently honored with a tribute by the Secretariat of Culture of the State of Ceará for the importance of his body of work to the cultural development of the State.
In Rio de Janeiro, he received four nominations for the prestigious "Rio Sul Fashion Award" in 1997. He was awarded the prize for Best Fashion Show and the Special Jury prize, the most important in the event. Also in 1997, in Rio de Janeiro, he was awarded by the Senai-Cetiqt for his body of work. In 1999, he won the golden needle award at the "3rd Needles of Haute Couture."
Despite the predominantly female crowd, he dresses men too. The creations feature a combination of various materials such as dehydrated fish scales, rubber, goat leather, buriti straw, laces, muslin and taffeta.
He also works as a costume designer. In this area, highlights are the film "Bocage, the Triumph of Love," by Djalma Limongi Batista, and the play "Dorotéia, An Irresponsible Farce in Three Acts," by Nelson Rodrigues, which earned him a nomination for the 1996 Shell Theater Award.
Currently, Lino Villaventura is intensifying sales of his prêt-a-porter in stores in several Brazilian cities: Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Florianópolis, Porto Alegre and two of his own stores, in São Paulo and Fortaleza.
Villaventura first exported to the Arab market in 2005, while participating in a showroom at Hotel Crillon, in Paris, during the Fashion Week in the French capital. Ever since, he has maintained as steady clients the North American retail chain Saks Fifth Avenue branch in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, and storeowners in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Syria.
"Orders are closed twice a year. In the beginning, they used to order longer dresses with décolletages only in the back. In the last collection, orders were placed using Brazilian standards for clothing sizes and no adaptations were made," said the designer.
According to Lino, the export volume to the Arab market is still not very large, however it has lots of added value, as most of the clothing is very elaborate. "I have a very good relation with the region and I am enjoying it a lot," he said. According to Lino, Arab women like lots of colors and rarely buy black dresses.