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Clóvis Bornay, the master of fantasy in Rio's Carnaval, dies aged 89

In 1937 when working as a costume designer Clóvis Bornay suggested that the grand Municipal Theatre of Rio de Janeiroshould hold a gala ball with prizes for the most creative costumes. He had been inspired by the the Venice carnival and over the years Bornay's outrageous designs took the prize many times and the event became the social talk of the year in a city that at the time was the capital. As the annual Theatre ball faded away in the early seventy's, Bornay began to use his talent in the rapidly developing world of the Rio Carnaval. The carnaval grew from small celebrations in the poorer suburbs of the city to ever more elaborate street parades. By 1965, the fourth centenary of the city the carnaval had become a major event and Clóvis Bornay took the lead with his portrayal of the founder, the Portuguese adventurer Estácio da Sá and he never looked back.An annual run-up to Carnaval was the Fantasia costume competion and it became the focus for even greater creativity with all manner of themes being interpeted. The Fantasia event was watched by television audiences in their millions and occupied many pages of the illustrated magazines of the time. Over the years the Fantasias Bornay created were paraded on floats in the huge procession of the Samba Schools. Clóvis Bornay who was already known for his masterpieces of sequins and ostrich feathers faced plenty of inventive competition but as a father figure he continued with enormous popularity . Here is his portrayal in homage to the Russian ballet dancer Vaclav Nijinsky made in 1983 and presented at the Fantasia competion in The Gloria Hotel, Flamenco, Rio de Janeiro.

Clóvis Bornay, born in Novo Friburgo, Brasil, 1916 died October 9th 2005

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY TONY MORRISON