On January 25th, thousands of notoriously insatiable Simmers awaited word from Maxis on high. An earlier teaser image, a splash page of colorful confetti, saturated purple, and enthused Sims, promised the Simming audience not only two new vibrant kits but also a game pack that would enhance "romantic parties." Eagle-eyed Simmers noted quickly the wedding cakes, entwined rings, elaborate masks, and tiger imprints hidden in the confetti, and the cycle of Simming speculation began anew.
While many Simmers clamored to uncover what romance game pack could be coming, Maxis whetted the appetites of their salivating Simmer audience with news of a fresh new kit: Carnaval Streetwear Kit.
This Create-a-Sim kit, which will be available February 3rd, is an homage to all things glitter, sequins, neon, and fabulous. The kit not only offers apparel that one might don for the world's biggest party, but it also fits feminine and masculine frames with equal ease. Maxis collaborated with Pabllo Vittar, fresh-faced, enormously talented musician and Drag superstar, to bring this colorful kit to fruition. Each look is inspired by Pabllo herself; they are skin-baring works of mesh, sequins, and glitter. There are fun watermelon imprinted tops, bejeweled crops, rainbow blouses, gold chain belts, hip-hugging purple skirts, sky-colored lowcut halter tops, and more. In a world when we are all redefining norms and encouraging ourselves to be the most authentic we can muster, it is the right kit at the right time.
But what even is Carnaval? Why should Simmers care about it? Why did Maxis choose this celebration to represent now and why?
What is Carnaval?
Though Carnaval is most closely associated with Brazil, it is actually a world-wide event celebrated in 50 countries all over the world. In Brazil, two million people of all shapes and sizes dress in feathers and sequins, glitter and gold, and strut down the Sambadrom alongside enormous floats. These gigantic block parties are an experience of sound, color, and absolute joy. In Italy, people attend masked balls and dress in decadent masquerade costumes. Carnaval is known as Mardi Gras in the United States, is celebrated with fierce abandon in Trinidad, and has become one of Quebec's largest festivals of the year too.
Carnaval began as a pagan festival in ancient Egypt. The Egyptians feasted and made merry in order to usher out winter and celebrate the beginning of spring. Naturally, Alexander the Great adopted the festival for the Greeks, who passed it to Rome, who eventually infused the festival with Christian meaning. "Carne Vale" means "farewell meat" in Latin; that is, the festival became the grand party of indulgence, of meat-eating and wine-drinking, before the fastidious austerity of Lent. This practice spread across Europe and then eventually throughout the world through colonization. In places like Brazil, Salvador, and Trinidad, these European traditions fused with African ones to become the week-long, Afro-Latinx Carnaval we know now.
Who is Pabllo Vittar?
The Carnaval Streetwear kit finds inspiration in the eye-popping fashions of Pabllo Vittar. In fact, the update that prepared players for the incoming kit folded a new radio station into base game, which features Pabllo's hit "Buzina," in Simlish.
But who is Pabllo?
Pabllo is a singing, dancing modeling drag sensation from Brazil. Effortlessly stunning, with chiseled bronzed features, a pouty mouth, and a dancer's curvaceous build, Pabllo is sweeping the world by storm with her heart-pumping Brazilian-infused dance music. Featured by both Vogue and Time Magazine as a future industry leader, Pabllo remains the sort of entertainer one can only call "authentic." Her affect is like that of a comforting sister who, before hitting the clubs for the evening, meticulously applies your concealer for you while singing your gorgeous praises.
"Do you want to show up beautiful, or do you want to be on time?" she often jokes.
This is to say nothing of Pabllo's actual singing ability, which is bursting with full-throated range. Pabllo's music captures the joy and sensuality of being uniquely authentic, a trait she espouses and exudes endlessly. She sometimes recalls growing up in Brazil as an effeminate boy who loved to sing and wear dresses. Pabllo recalls many complicated difficulties that accompanied being so deeply different, describing her experience as hard but transformative. Now, Pabllo performs before enormous crowds, belting out her infectious musical repertoire with undeniable verve.
Why should Simmers care about Carnaval or Pabllo Vittar?
The world is changing. The arc of history is bending toward justice, toward authenticity, toward self-acceptance. People, particularly young people, are questioning the restrictive roles and shame heaped upon them in the past to forge ahead, to live their lives in ways that feel good to them.
The Sims team, through kits like Modern Menswear and Carnaval Streetwear, reflect the changing sensibilities that is their core audience. "You make the Sims," they insist, and they mean this literally. The Sims, almost by definition, strives to reflect what is real, what is inclusive, to represent all people. What can be more inclusive than a world-wide party? What can be more inclusive than a singing session with a drag queen pop-star? The Sims must represent all people, who, collectively, have begun to step more fully into their own authenticity.
While glitz and glam has always been the currency of drag queens, the rest of the world has only just begun to follow their illustrious lead.
Check out the kit February 3rd.