Culture Costume and Dress

5-7th May 2021 Birmingham UK

“The symbologies of the typical costumes of the ‘Rainha Das Rosas’ competition in Barbacena, Minas Gerais, Brazil “ (Glauber Soares junior, Isadora F Oliveira, Fabiano E A Batista and Ítalo J M Dantas)

July 13th, 2021

Report by Robyn Westcott

The ‘Festa Das Rosas’ festival began in the city or Barbacena, Brazil in 1968. A flower festival, that honours the city’s culture and history with the title event being the ‘Rainha Das Rosas’ a pageant that crowns the queen of roses.

Isadora described that herself and fellow researchers were looking into symbols used in beauty contests and the evolutionary process of the costumes, whilst identifying how they reflect the time and place. She explained that they were to use the study of material culture, observational video graphic review as well as interviews to obtain information on the subject, specifically focusing on the case study of contestants in the ‘Rainha Das Rosas’ competition.

Rainha Das Rosas

When immigrants from Germany and Italy came to the city of Barbacena, to escape the European economic crisis following WW2, they began to grow flowers as a source of income. This became a key part of the economy of which the city still relies on today, as a major supplier to states such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Since the 1970’s, the city has become nationally-known as ‘the city of roses’.

In 1968 the ‘Festa Das Rosas’ festival began, honouring the important position that flowers have within the community. The event has many different activities and is has become a bustling and important practice since its conception. The main event is the ‘Rainha Das Rosas’ where women in the community dress up in beautiful, lavish costumes. Inspired by their heritage of European medieval peasants, they are adorned with roses to compete for the title of the ‘queen of roses’ – a symbol of tradition, beauty, glamour and status.

The competition over time has evolved, becoming more lavish, professional and glamourous as sponsors have become involved and the competition has become more prestigious. However, artifacts passed down through generations are still used and families tend to have major involvement in helping to choose the wearer’s costume, thus helping to retain its traditional and cultural roots. But, although our clothing is embedded within our culture, it still evolves and adapts over time, becoming diluted and the original heritage begins to slowly fade.

The research undertaken hopes to delve deeper into why certain symbologies are used and to better understand the influence culture has on costume used in pageantry and how these change over time to evolve to their social climate. I look forward to seeing the findings of this paper and learning more about the intricacies and influences involved in such costumes.

Watch the paper here: CCD2021 | » Symbolic Dress