Jan 4, 2009
São Paulo’s rich and famous live, eat, get their hair done and shop in the Jardins district. Its glizziest street is Oscar Freire, which runs West and cuts right through the heart of this microcosm of luxury. Many high-end boutiques have set up shop here in the last few years, including the artsy Melissa flagship shoestore (pictured above), where different artists regularly re-do the façade-cum-art-installation.
Start a stroll at Clube Chocolate — a hot megastore opened in 2004 —where luxe fashions share the spolight with the décor. The modern and light-drenched space (designed by Brazil’s architect-of-the-moment Isay Weinfeld) is decked out with white sand, palms and wavy mosaics. Style-conscious clients flock here for jeans by Citizens of Humanity and other designer duds.
You can have a dressed-up lunch at the boutique’s restaurant, or, for an authentic (and very casual) paulistano experience, head East to Frevo, the city’s most famous diner. Its sundaes, fries and beiruths - delicious roast beef, melted cheese and tomato on pita sandwiches - are legendary. It’s only a few doors down from the huge H.Stern store (the famous Brazilian jeweler favoured by Hollywood starlets, whose spokesperson is actress Ashley Judd).
But the hippest part of Oscar Freire is the Western edge, which is where some of São Paulo’s new generation of fashion designers – all, coincidentally, gorgeous and stylish girls - have opened boutiques.
Newly coined the Baixo Jardins (or Lower Jardins), this area is becoming the city’s fashion hotbed. That’s where, for example, brunette stunner and ex-model Cris Barros, for example, has her eponymous boutique. She designs gowns often spotted on hot Brazilian soap stars, like Malu Mader, when they walk the red carpet.
Only steps away, you can browse glamorous beachwear at Jo de Mer, which has a loyal following thanks to its flattering fit. Owner and designer Amália Spinardi, a doe-eyed blonde and previous fashion editor at Elle Brazil, sends regular shipments of her glam bikinis to boutiques in Manhattan and East Hampton.
A third must-see is Pollignanno al Mare, opened by well-heeled sisters Juliana and Fernanda Piva de Alburquerque. The beauties sell sexy shoes and sandals of their own design, as well as accessories.
Clube Chocolate: Rua Oscar Freire, 913, tel. (11) 3084-1500
Cris Barros : rua Oscar Freire, 295, tel. (55) 11 3082-3621
Frevo: Rua Oscar Freire, 603, tel. (55) 11 3082-3434
H. Stern: Rua Oscar Freire, 652, tel. (55) 113068-8082
Jo de Mer: Rua Oscar Freire, 329A, tel. (55) 11 3081-4232
Pollignanno al Mare: Rua Oscar Freire, 154, tel. (55) 11 3062-5046