Gisele retires from the catwalk
Published 16/04/2015 | 06:01
Gisele Bundchen bid adieu to the catwalk, strutting her stuff at an emotionally charged show in Sao Paulo.
She said it will be her last stroll down a runway in a 20-year career that has made her a fashion superstar.
The 34-year-old Brazilian mother of two, who is married to US sportsman Tom Brady, has said she wants to spend more time with her family but has also vowed to continue working in the industry.
As the world's highest-paid model, according to a 2014 ranking by Forbes magazine, Bundchen is the face of Chanel, Carolina Herrera, Pantene and other famous brands. She also designs her own line of flip flops and lingerie.
A household name the world over, Bundchen rivals soccer legend Pele for the status of Brazil's most internationally famous citizen, after her meteoric rise from a middle-class family in a small, rural town to superstar.
In a posting on her Instagram account, Bundchen wrote: "Today after 20 years in the industry, it is a privilege to be doing my last fashion show by choice and yet still be working in other facets of the business.
"I am grateful that at 14, I was given the opportunity to start this journey."
In an interview broadcast on the Globo television network yesterday, she compared her life to a cup of water filled to the brim.
She said: "If your cup is full, how are you going to put more into it? I'm emptying my cup so I can put more things into it."
Bundchen made her final catwalk appearance during Sao Paulo Fashion Week for Colcci, the Brazilian streetwear label she has represented since 2005.
She made three appearances, opening the show in an A-line dress in white lace and lacey, knee-high black boots and closing it in a sundress with a full skirt in ivory and salmon stripes.
For the final bow, a bevy of models emerged in jeans and T-shirts printed with Bundchen's image, and Bundchen herself wove her way through the pack, sporting painted-on jeans and a top depicting her in a yoga pose.
Fighting back tears, she flashed her trademark broad smile and a thumbs-up.
In an interview earlier this week with the newspaper Estado de S Paulo, Bundchen was quoted as saying she wanted her last runway experience to be in her native Brazil "where it all started".
She was born and raised along with five sisters, including a fraternal twin, in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, a centre of German immigration to Brazil.
Bundchen was discovered by a modelling agency at age 14 and she came in second place in a nationwide contest, before moving to New York to work the fashion runways there.
By the age of 20, she had become a fashion sensation, her freckled face and flowing dirty blond locks gracing the cover of fashion magazines worldwide and her unique combination of legginess and curves causing a sensation during her runway appearances.
Bundchen's success with her healthy good looks was heralded as marking the end of the sickly skinny and bedraggled "heroin chic" look that had dominated runways for years.
Her romantic life was regularly splashed across gossip magazines, as she was romantically linked to a series of A-listers, from surfer Kelly Slater to actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
In 2009, she married New England Patriots quarterback Brady. The couple have two small children.
Last year, she out-earned Brady, netting an estimated 47 million US dollars (£31.6 million) in contracts, according to Forbes.
The next highest-earning models on the Forbes celebrity list, Doutzen Kroes of the Netherlands and fellow Brazilian Adriana Lima, earned 8 million US dollars (£5.4 million) each, according to the magazine.