Oskar and Gisele
Arvamus 07 Aug 2012  EWR
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Sounds like this could be the title of a romantic operetta written by an obscure Austrian composer. But no, this is a summer sandal story, featuring a world famous supermodel and a much less known Estonian physician.

Pulchritude has long been used as an advertising gambit – one is more likely to purchase something if a bodacious babe shills it. And Brazilian Gisele Bündchen has long been lusted after by advertisers as well as those sport fans that care not a whit that she has long been Tom Brady’s favourite catch (I wonder what kind of a pass he threw her…?)

The products in question are Ipanema beach sandals; the product name associated with one of the world’s best-known beaches. Gisele is touting the 2012 line, part of which includes an interesting sandal designed by an Estonian, Oskar Metsavaht.

Who? Well Metsavaht is a lesser-known Brazilian on the world stage. But he is a medical doctor who has his own brand Osklen. He applied his knowledge of anatomy to the creative process of the Ipanema RJ, the star of this year’s sandal line. Apparently his medical skills incorporated an anatomically shaped beach sandal, developed with an exclusive technology that makes it lighter, softer, softer and more comfortable. For those who have suffered in the summer wearing flip-flops just to protect the soles of their feet from the burning sand, this sounds intriguing indeed.

Ipanema’s promotional material notes that not only are the sandals made entirely of recyclable material (surely they meant recycled? Don’t know if my old Goodyear – or was it Canadian Tire - flip-flops could be recycled, wouldn’t want any recycler to have to deal with summer foot fungus residue. But I digress.)

The flowery prose created by the copywriter for Ipanema notes that the beauty of the Ipanema RJ is in its details. (“The new collection takes its inspiration from delicateness, feminity and the beauty of flowers….”) And indeed, they seem very attractive on the company’s website link to the product, www.ipanemagiselebundchen.com.... As an added bonus you get to ogle Gisele in all her Brazilian bombshell beauty, not just what she is wearing on her feet! But again, I digress.

The Ipanema RJ summer sandals are a complimentary amenity for guests at Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo, should you be headed that way soon. Otherwise check out the Osklen store worldwide; also at Colette in Paris. But you need not do personal shopping: I get the distinct impression that these sandals are available online from Montréal, read below.

But what about Metsavaht? Well, he created and founded Instituto-e, an organization whose main mission is to promote Brazil as a country focused on sustainable development. Ipanema’s promotional material adds that education, biodiversity and making people aware of their environmental responsibilities are always present in the company’s initiatives and projects. Thus dovetailing very nicely with Metsavaht’s goals and beliefs.

As Gisele Bündchen is a prominent supporter of many environmental causes, having linked her name not only to Ipanema but also now to a sandal designed by an Estonian, this is a match made in heaven. Or at least on the beaches of Rio…

In Canada, Montréal’s www.ponyride.ca will provide information about these lovely sandals that alas, are meant for beauties like Gisele, not grumpy old farts like the undersigned. Oh well, I’ve gotten used to these Birkenstocks, and there is always Mark’s Work Wearhouse for a sandal source when the old faithfuls finally wear out.

So there you have your summer sandal operetta – an ethical Estonian doctor living in Brazil designs a gorgeous new beach flip-flop that has no similarity at all to what you can buy at Wal-Mart for 5 bucks, and also gets the added boon of a Brazilian supermodel to tell you, this is the sandal of the season.

Nowhere do I get the translation of Oskar’s last name in the promotional material. Perhaps the association of the job of a solitary grumpy old bachelor, communing only with the wild boars, bears, and other sundry forest denizens with one of the world’s most beautiful women does not suit Ipanema’s corporate image. But an interesting juxtaposition, all the same.
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