Gisele Bundchen fires back in feud with Brazilian Minister

Brazilian supermodel turned environmental activist Gisele Bundchen is pushing back against the agricultural minister in her homeland. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 19 January 2019
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Gisele Bundchen fires back in feud with Brazilian Minister

  • Minister Tereza Cristina Dias accused Bundchen of tainting the country’s image abroad
  • The public feud underscores the enormous international attention being focused on the Amazon basin

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian supermodel turned environmental activist Gisele Bundchen is pushing back against the agricultural minister in her homeland, along the way wading into a growing debate about the future of the Amazon.
The brouhaha began Monday when Minister Tereza Cristina Dias accused Bundchen of tainting the country’s image abroad. During a radio interview, Dias called the supermodel a “bad Brazilian” for denouncing deforestation and said the model should be promoting Brazil’s agriculture and industries.
Late Wednesday, Bundchen wrote a measured response, saying she would “be happy to announce positive actions” taken toward sustainable development.
In her letter, Bundchen said she was surprised by the derogatory mention. She said her criticisms, which included a series of Tweets last year, were based on science and came from a “worried Brazilian citizen.”
Citing a 13 percent increase in deforestation in Brazil, Bundchen said those behind illegal land occupations were the “bad Brazilians.”
The public feud underscores the enormous international attention being focused on the Amazon basin and fears that Bolsonaro’s administration is geared to roll back environmental protections.
Home to the lion’s share of the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, Brazil is seen as a key piece in fighting climate change. But Bolsonaro, a close ally of the agro-business caucus, has garnered the wrath of environmental advocates around the world for his views that the Amazon should be less regulated to make room for agriculture and other industries.
Bolsonaro has spoken out against environmental regulators, who he says have created an “industry of fines,” and has promised that he will not give indigenous tribes “one more centimeter” of land.
During the radio interview, the agriculture minister, nicknamed the “queen of poison” for pushing for legislation in Congress to loosen rules for pesticide use, was asked about the “PR problems” that have come from the model’s activism.
“It’s absurd what they do today with the image of Brazil,” she responded. “For some reason they go out and paint a picture of Brazil and its industries that is not true.”
“Sorry, Gisele Bundchen,” she continued. “You should be an ambassador and say that your country conserves, that your country is on the global vanguard of conservation, and not go around criticizing Brazil without knowing the facts.”
In her letter, the model described over 12 years of environmental activism, which earned her a spot as a UN environment goodwill ambassador.
She said she has visited the Amazon several times, has learned about the reality of Brazil’s vast northern rainforest and has collaborated with leading scientists, academics, activists and companies on the issue of climate change.
Bundchen encouraged Dias to use technology and scientific knowledge in Brazilian agriculture to avoid further deforestation that could lead Brazil “past the point of no return.”


Leena Al-Ghouti wraps up as LFW winds down

Gigi Hadid walking the Burberry show at LFW 2019.(AFP)
Updated 18 February 2019
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Leena Al-Ghouti wraps up as LFW winds down

DUBAI: As Gigi Hadid walked the runway, Dubai-based influencer Leena Al-Ghouti showed up at the Burberry show at London Fashion Week in a chic ensemble.

The fashion influencer donned a black hijab, cat-eye shades and an uber-cool camel colored coat, with an oversized Burberry shawl, as she posed outside the show.

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Burberry earned its place — again — as one of the top shows in London Fashion Week on Sunday, according to Reuters, with a widely ranging catwalk show that honored the British brand’s long tradition but showed it is still ready to mix it up and set trends.

Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci showed in his second collection that he is perfectly comfortable stretching the Burberry look to keep its younger fans happy while easily switching gears to create classic, severely tailored ensembles that ooze chic.

The two sides of the Burberry coin were reflected in the two adjacent rooms where the collection was shown: one a sedate auditorium with comfortable, padded seats; the other a raucous wide-open space ringed by a climbing gym of the type young kids would use.

“I have been thinking a lot about England as a country of contrasts, from the structured to the rebellious and free, and I wanted to celebrate how these elements coexist,” Tisci said.

He said he had four characters in mind when putting the collection together: a girl and a boy, and a lady and a gentleman.

The transition was obvious as models went from street-style clothes — oversize puffer jackets, metallic ornamentation, revealing slip dresses, silver boots, faux fur, big red plastic sneakers — to subtle, timeless outfits in muted fall colors.

There were occasional references to the brand’s earlier incarnation as a purveyor of fine, traditional menswear as a few models were dressed in classic suits and ties, including one double-breasted throwback, Reuters reported.

Tisci made ample and imaginative use of the traditional Burberry trench and check, and paired a number of sexy evening dresses with full-length coats for a look at once provocative and classy.

There were a few eccentric touches, including an outfit set off by a giant scarf that paid homage to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

For her part. Hadid took to the runway in a sporty, monochromatic ensemble featuring a miniskirt and black corset with dramatic puffed sleeves over a white polo shirt.

Tisci seems to be enjoying his time at Burberry, treasuring tradition but refusing to be overwhelmed by it.