Postcards From… São Paulo
“When I’m not in Paris for fashion week or meeting with designers and clients at Des Kohan in L.A., you’ll find me in São Paulo and traveling within Brazil,” says Desiree Kohan, owner of the Miracle Mile clothing boutique that bares her name. Kohan has an office and design space in São Paulo and splits her time between L.A. and Brazil’s largest city. This summer she’s launching a pressed juice company in São Paulo and continuing to explore the Amazon, Bahia and the area beaches. Here are her favorite spots in São Paulo.
By Elizabeth Varnell
HOTEL FASANO SÃO PAULO This boutique hotel is a classic São Paulo destination, with great architecture and atmosphere. I recommend the Fasano restaurant for formal Italian dinners. Most São Paulo fashion week dinners take place here. I also recommend the hotel’s Bar Baretto for the perfect Caipirinha and live music in a chic and cozy atmosphere.
HOTEL UNIQUE The restaurant has superb Mediterranean food coupled with breathtaking rooftop views so its perfect for alfresco dining. The rooftop pool is also breathtaking and you can really soak in the city’s skyline. There is always a nice art crowd, great spot for hosting my L.A. friends that come to visit.
MANI My favorite restaurant in town; and former model and entrepreneurial chef Helena Rizzo is a culinary genius! The menu is a mix of South American flavors—incorporating indigenous organic produce—mixed in with contemporary macrobiotic dishes. One standout is a pasta dish made entirely from hearts of palm. All very creatively healthy for the Californian in me.
SAL GASTRONOMIA This is a super chic, hidden, local, under-the-radar spot. Although the facade is black and unassuming, the inside courtyard takes your breath away with a beautiful wall of glass guests to see the chef. Well-prepared Brazilian classics have a modern, experimental flare. The spot shares a space with the Galeria Vermelho. Three converted houses make up this inspirational space used for art installations and video projections.
A BELA CINTRA One of the best Portuguese restaurants here, it’s a culinary treat.
NAGA The city has such a strong Japanese community and this spot has award-winning chefs, great atmosphere and I’m always bumping into new and old friends. Also try KOSUSHI for an authentic Japanese experience with a great local crowd.
MR. BAKER I adore this bakery and cafe because it is in Itaim, one of only 2 walking neighborhoods in the city. The organic bakery is around the corner from my office so I walk here for organic coffee, fresh local baked goods, and a great selection of super foods for lunch.
NK STORE There is a selection of brands here including Celine, Marant, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, and even a Veuve Clicquot bar!
MARES Stop in for lines including Balmain, Valentino, Dolce, Alaia, and Antony Vaccarello.
CIDADE JARDIM and JK IGUATEMI I don’t normally shop in malls in L.A., but in São Paulo it’s simply a way of life and I often find myself inside them. Mainly because of the traffic and safety issues locals choose to do most of their shopping, lunching and living within these contemporary architectural masses. There is everything from Hermes, Bottega Veneta and Daslu to luxury fitness centers, hair salons, spas and rooftop dining. Each mall even has helicopter and yacht retail stores—it’s a quintessential cultural experience not to be missed.
MUSEU DE ARTE MODERNA (MAM) A very impressive modern museum housing over 4,000 works by revolving artists. The museum structure itself is a work of art by my architect idol Oscar Niemeyer. On my last visit, I was most impressed with the installation: Art In Fabric + Textiles, by a Brazilian designer on par with Dries Van Noten.
PARQUE DO IBIRAPUERA MAM is located in a Burle Marx-designed park that’s also the perfect place to watch locals playing soccer and basketball or go blading, running, or a on Sunday stroll to grab fresh coconut water.
PARQUE BURLE MARX One of my greatest inspirations is Burle Marx, the Brazilian landscape architect. He introduced modernist landscape architecture to Brazil and this park mixes botany with hiking trails—a rainforest in the middle of a city with over 11-million people—and plenty of lush gardens.
RACHEL ARNAUD GALLERY Rachel is a family friend and is legendary in the art world. Her beautiful centrally-located gallery space is inviting yet fiercely inspiring and the works inside range from South American Geometric Abstract art to European paintings to under-the-radar artists who work with materials such as glass, copper, mirror, mercury, bronze, silk, etc.
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