Every Miista collection is rooted in the story of one remarkable individual. For Miista’s Spring/Summer 2024 line, it was the courageous spirit of photographer Madalena Schwartz. In 1970s Brazil, a period marked by the stifling censorship of a military dictatorship, Madalena blazed her own trail, always pushing boundaries and embracing change.

Madalena, a middle-aged mother-of-two had spent most of her adult life running a laundromat in São Paulo – not the traditional path to becoming a generation-defining counterculture photographer. But approaching her 50th birthday, she picked up a camera and began her second act, transforming her life and legacy. Madalena started by focusing on local cabaret acts and cross dressers she met during her walk to work. Later, she shot members of the Dzi Croquettes, a radically progressive theatre troupe opposing Brazil’s conservative government. Her bold plunge into uncharted territory – and its transformative effect on her life – perfectly aligns with Miista’s ethos of embracing the unknown. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be terrifying, but as Madalena’s story shows, confronting that fear can lead to unimaginable rewards.

To delve deeper into the influences that shaped this collection, Miista journeyed into the heart of Brazil. With their friend, the artist Fernanda Liberti, Miista was taken on an immersive tour of Rio De Janeiro, from the golden shores of Leme beach to the bustling lanes of the Saara open-air market. Arriving with a romantic notion of summer in the city, Miista was excited to explore the home of the experimental bossa nova scene of the 1960s and 70s – and the place where samba music blossomed after its birth in Bahia. They also discovered that a summer’s day in Rio revolves entirely around the beach, with each section having their very own personalities.

Fernanda may well be Madalena’s spiritual successor, unafraid to step out of her comfort zone and push creative boundaries, while pouring all of her passion into her art. Born of Syrian descent, and growing up in Rio’s vibrant metropolis, her vivid photography highlights the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community, people of colour, and other underrepresented groups – notably, her 2022 work on the feather capes of the indigenous Tupinambá tribe.

Joining on Fernanda’s tour of Rio were musician MC Lizzie and models Julia Menezes and Heloisa Muniz, who wore a few pieces from Miista’s latest collection. From the metallic sheen of the Dagna bag and the subtle sequins of the Eyra trousers, to the sparkle of the Sonia knitted top and theatrical leather laces winding their way up the Andes shoe, Miista’s inspiration is unmistakable: the daring glamour of the 1970s São Paulo scene.

photography Fernada Liberti
models MC Lizzie, Julia Menezes & Heloisa Muniz