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Wednesday’s Wise Woman … Zuzu Angel

December 5, 2012

Zuzu Angel

Zuzu Angel 

Zuzu Angel otherwise known as Zuleika Angel Jones (1921-1976) was a Brazilian/American fashion designer; who became famous for opposing the Brazilian military dictatorship after the forced disappearance of her son Stuart.
Zuzu as a child lived in Belo Horizonte and later moved to Bahia where the culture and colour influenced her early creations.  She moved to Rio, Brazil’s cultural capital in 1947; where she worked as a dressmaker, making clothes for friends and family.
During the next 20 years she developed her style and opened a shop in Ipanema and was soon exhibiting her work on the American catwalks.  While she made full use of the rich colour of Brazil she was able to become a name in the fashion world of her time.
Meanwhile in the 1970s her son Stuart who had become an activist against the military regime, was imprisoned and killed by the Military Agents (DOI-CODI).  For the next 5 years until her untimely death in 1976 Zuzu waged war against the dictatorship for the recovery of her son’s body.  The American Embassy were involved as her husband was an American.  It was discovered later that the Brazilian State were responsible for her death. The tunnel that links Gavea and Sao Conrado where Zuzu’s car crashed was named after her.
In homage to Zuzu Angel and many other mothers who were unable to bury their sons, Chico Buarque wrote a song called Angelica in 1977.

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