After two decades in the business, Gisele Bündchen sure knows how to create a runway moment. Having posted a sentimental Instagram on Wednesday announcing her official retirement from the catwalk, the 34-year-old supermodel took her final turn on the runway for Brazilian brand Colcci at Sao Paulo Fashion Week later that evening, joined by a swarm of models wearing white t-shirts and tanks with various renderings of her face printed on them.
Bündchen, who skipped the flat-ironed hairstyle the other models wore in favor of her signature waves, gave a little curtsy at the end of the runway before being wrestled into a hug and a beaming group photo.
Models aren't really known for putting on finale shows like this — if anything, the super's goodbye had a lot more in common with the productions that designers like Jean Paul Gaultier or Marc Jacobs have put on to mark their departures from a fashion house. In fact, her sendoff extravaganza seemed to be the focal point of the Colcci show, rather than the actual collection.
Of course, Bündchen's retirement is more symbolic than anything else, and we would be really shocked if she didn't make some special runway appearances in the coming years. But working in a youth-obsessed industry like modeling, ending a particular phase of one's career on one's own terms must feel empowering. It's not like Gisele's going anywhere. She's just making it clear that she calls the shots.
As the back of her own shirt promised — and as her husband Tom Brady wrote in a sweet note on Facebook — "the best is yet to come."