São Paulo Work-Shop

August 11, 2009

Yesterday was my São Paulo high fashion day.  Scott’s fashonista cousin took me on a whirl wind tour of the city’s poshest spots.  We began with Daslu, a kind of palace for fancy clothes and luxurious things.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it–it takes Barneys and Bendels and Bergdorfs to the next level (and the next price point, since all of the clothes, which are expensive to begin with, are marked up to astronomical levels).  Customers arrive by car or helicopter, and I counted at least three or four different coffee bars throughout, where the attractive guests and salespeople stand and sip espressos while looking beautiful.  Clothes are arranged as much by color as collection or designer.  I didn’t see this, but apparently wealthy women (presumably with perfect Brazilian bodies) can stroll from one plush clothing salon to the next in their underwear (no men allowed) trying on things as they please, while maids in uniform clean up behind them.

Right now they were embracing a jungle/safari theme, with a fleet of leopard print Range Rovers by the valet.  This New York Times article does a good job describing the crazy excess.  The picture to the right is of the floor in the hip men’s department.  There are toy cars in sand underneath a glass floor.

This other picture is of the terrace, where they hold events (the cousins have been to bar mitzvahs there.)  I couldn’t find any good pictures of the salons.  The mansion also had a few of São Paulo’s most upscale restaurants, a Laudere look-alike pastry shop, and the list goes on…

My work-shop day continued (Scott worked, I shopped–but didn’t buy anything), as Elen and I went to Shopping Iguatemi–a slightly more pedestrian, but still really upscale mall. After running a few of her errands we went to Rua Oscar Freire– São Paulo’s Rodeo Drive or Madison Avenue. We had lunch, and then strolled.

It’s sort of a 14-year-old girl move to talk about the Havaiana shop, especially with so many other great Brazilian designer boutiques, but there was something so appealing about it (and it was the only place I could afford anything).  IMG_0113

I also learned today that the brand new store won a design award for it’s masterful job in fitting in with all of the upscale shops, while staying true to its quintessentially Brazilian feel and selling $4 rubber flip flops.


From our stroll we ducked into the Fasano hotel.  It’s the best hotel in Rio, and one of the best in São Paulo, but it’s more exclusive than outright fancy.  It’s decadent and gorgeous in a clubby sort of way, filled with chocolate colored wood and soft leather chairs in coffee and cordovan.  It’s all so understated and classy.   Their security is also incredibly tight.  Elen began talking to the concierge, and she whispered to me that we were just waiting for their events person to show us around.  They brought us a coffee while she filled me in that she had told them that we were planning an event and wanted to check out the Fasano to see if it was suitable.

We were able to see all of the different spaces around the hotel–the more informal bar, the restaurant, the spa, while their event planner kept asking us questions about what kind of event we wanted to have, how many people, whether we wanted cocktails and dinner, or just a more informal party.  The whole hotel was like falling into a meticulously cared for cigar box filled with the most loved baseball glove, an old Hemingway novel, maybe some single malt scotch, tempered by fresh white linen and lavender by the pool.


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