Soares, also known as Tales Cotta, was employed by the prestigious Brazilian modelling agency Base MGT, which issued a statement denying that drugs had played any part in his death.
«We emphasise that the model always had exemplary behaviour,» a Base MGT spokesman said. «He was not a newcomer; he has already paraded in other editions of both SPFW and other important fashion events.
«Tales never presented or complained about health problems. He had a healthy diet (he was a vegetarian), did not use illegal substances and was in full condition to participate.
«We ask for respect at this moment of deep sadness.»
Brazilian news websites have been rife with speculation as to what might have caused the young model to collapse. One outlet alleges that vegetarian food was unavailable at Saturday night’s event and that Soares had therefore not eaten for a long time.
However, Sao Paulo Fashion Week organisers deny this and say that catering was available. It was also speculated that Soares tripped over one of the straps on his sandals, causing him to fall but the cause of death will not be confirmed until investigators carry out a post-mortem.
Faelo Ribeiro, a friend of the model, said Soares died doing what he loved.
Sao Paulo Fashion Week paid tribute to Soares in an Instagram post, which read: «May God welcome you with open arms. Life is definitely a catwalk; we’re just passing through. Very sad.»
It is not the first time a model has died during a fashion show. In 2017, Vlada Dzyuba, a 14-year-old Russian, collapsed during a gruelling 12-hour fashion show in Shanghai. It was later claimed she had been working on what was described as a «slave labour» contract, although her death has since been variously attributed to exhaustion, meningitis, or septicaemia.