SAO PAULO, Brazil — Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen sashayed down the catwalk at Sao Paulo Fashion Week on Wednesday night in an emotional farewell to the runway.
Bundchen announced over the weekend that she would be retiring from the catwalk, though not the fashion industry.
The 34-year-old, who is married to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and has two children, has said she wants to spend more time with her family.
On Wednesday night, Brady had a front-row seat at what was hailed as a historic moment in Brazil’s fashion world.
Bundchen wrote about her fashion career on her Instagram account: “I am grateful that at 14, I was given the opportunity to start this journey. 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.”
Bundchen made her final appearance for Brazilian label Colcci, walking the runway three times.
For her final bow, she walked down the catwalk with a group of models all wearing jeans and t-shirts with different drawings of the world-famous model. She appeared close to tears as she gave a thumbs-up. Many of the other models were also trying to hold back to tears.
Bundchen told the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, “I want to be with my family more and focus on special projects.”
Bundchen was the highest-paid model in 2014, according to Forbes magazine, with a total $47 million in contracts. She is the face of Chanel and Carolina Herrera and has her own line of lingerie.
The final runway show was also an emotional moment for the supermodel’s mother, Vania Bundchen, who watched the final appearance.
“She did her part, and it’s a choice people have to respect,” she told Globo TV as she wiped away tears.
Bundchen was discovered by a modeling agency when she was just 14. She was born in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul and has inspired a generation of young Brazilian women to seek their fortunes on the runway.