São Paulo is a shopper’s paradise. In a country that takes great pride in its malls—affectionately known as shoppings—Sampa’s are by far the biggest and glitziest—and a very far cry from suburban strip malls in America. Meanwhile, unlike many other Brazilian cities, São Paulo also has a large selection of boutiques, particularly concentrated in Jardins (a Brazilian version of Rodeo Drive) and Vila Madalena (more funky, alternative fare and lots of art).
Twice a year, the Pavilhão da Bienal das Artes in Parque do Ibirapuera hosts São Paulo Fashion Week (www.spfw.com.br), an increasingly important industry event that showcases the latest trends from consecrated national designers and lures international media, buyers, and screaming fashion groupies hoping to catch sight of Gisele Bündchen.
As Brazilian fashion has taken off, Sampa has come into its own as a capital da moda, where home-grown and international designers display and sell their wares in glitzy showrooms and flagship stores. Meanwhile, if cheap buys are what you’re after, secondhand stores and the vibrant bazaar-like atmospheres of Bom Retiro and Rua 25 de Maio are full of surprising bargains.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition