Isa Giallorenzo, São Paulo–born fashion blogger
Flight time:11 hours on United
When to go:Christmastime
Locals head out of town and this megacity chills out.
Where to stay:Guest Urban Hotel
Minimalist-mod rooms a short walk from the Jardins district. From $59; Rua Lisboa, 493; guesturbansp.com.br
São Paulo is a vast and sometimes bewildering city of 20 million people, and its retail gems are not always easy to find. First rule: Get out of the shopping malls and onto the street. My favorite place to shop is Jardins, a leafy low-rise neighborhood close to the central business district that’s home to some of the city’s best boutiques.
Start on Paulista Avenue, which is São Paulo’s most famous thoroughfare, kind of like our Michigan Avenue. The whole avenue is beautiful, but I like to begin at the antiques market underneath the striking raised building housing the São Paulo Museum of Art. The market consists of dozens of tented stalls and sells an interesting mix of traditional Portuguese and Brazilian antiques and decor objects. Across the street is another little market that sells handicrafts.
Next turn southwest onto Augusta Street and head to B.Luxo, a vintage-clothing boutique with everything from rare T-shirts to smart accessories and jackets. Just a block or so off of Augusta is Cris Barros, a shop all about luxury women’s wear. If you buy just a single thing here, make it one of Barros’s belts—they’re perfectly modern and delicate. After that, turn right onto Oscar Freire Street, which is like our Oak Street, with fancy, high-end shops. At Osklen, you’ll see beautiful contemporary garments with a tropical twist, and at Melissa, a branch of the international shoe company, they sell these flip-flops I’m coveting by my favorite Brazilian designer of the moment, Vitorino Campos. Melissa does all kinds of collaborations, some with international designers, such as Vivienne Westwood, Jeremy Scott, and Jason Wu. The fun thing is, all the store’s shoes are plastic, yet they’re brilliantly designed.