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São Paulo - trends and fashions

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The information below is adapated from a guide compiled by the Tourism Board of the City of São Paulo. Most visitors come to São Paulo for business purposes, and many do not stay longer than the time necessary to finish their affairs. The article below is part of a series called "Stay Another Day"; this one provides suggestions for peope interested in fashion and trends. About São Paulo enhanced the article with links and supplementary information.

Only a city that has no fear of the future and is always reconstructing itself with no preconceptions can be a laboratory for trends; and São Paulo offers varied experiences, from fashion to gastronomy, not to mention design and style.
A stroll around the Vila Madalena and the Jardins neighborhood reveals the unusual colors, tastes and sounds that make São Paulo a real feast for the senses of the most demanding, tuned-in people.

Morning

A trendy day begins at the tables of the charming Deli Paris on the sidewalk of Vila Madalena (Madeleine Village; Madalena is a popular Brazilian name, and is usually shortened to Mada); the traditional recipes of this French boulangerie range from simple crois­sants to genuine French bread with butter. If your late night partying made you wake up late, opt for the brunch; at the buffet, in addition to brioches and mini puff-pas­tries, there are delicacies such as ratatouille (a preserve made from zucchini, peppers, eggplant and hearts of palm) and banana jelly with chocolate or cheese with herbs.
A stroll along Vila Madá — as the neigh­borhood is affectionately called — will help your digestion. Browse through the shops on Harmonia and Aspicuelta streets, where there are clothing, furniture and creative ac­cessories.
Afterwards, head for the Instituto Tomie Ohtake, installed in one of the most daring and controversial buildings in the city (Tomie Ohtake is a respected artist, born in Japan and immigrated soon to Brazil). Check out the exhibitions on display and have lunch right there at the institute's res­taurant. The minced meat with rice, banana farofa), fried quail eggs and little turnovers is one of the favorite dishes of custom­ers, many of them artists.
If you prefer a snack, go to the excellent Ritz in the neighborhood adjacent to Jardins (Jardins, which translates as Gardens, is one of the richest neighborhoods in São Paulo). Reminis­cent of the American luncheonettes of the 1950s, it's worth it to go through its revolv­ing door just to settle into one of its numer­ous red sofas. The Ritz Burger, a hamburger with cheddar or gorgonzola cheese, bacon and salad, is the favorite of the "in" crowd that fills the place (believe it or not, eating hamburger in an American style cafeteria is viewed as "cool"; even McDonalds restaurants are frequented mostly by the middle class in Brazil).

Afternoon

The Galeria Ouro Fino is one of the shrines for alternative fashion and electronic music lovers. There, from the soles of their platform shoes to the tips of their dyed hair, the hipster crowd does their bargain hunting at the 100 shops featuring a mix of old tailors, alternative fashion and tattoo parlors; the Thaís Gusmão panty-briefs are a hit. Also at Ouro Fino, nostalgists travel back in time at the shop Passado e Presente, which sells clothing from the 1920s, 30s and 40s.
A block from there is Rua Oscar Freire. Along with the super chic window displays of the best brands in the world (such as Armani, Bulgari, Dior, Versace, Louis Vuitton), visitors can watch the live fashion show passing by on the sidewalks.
You can continue your tour through the Alameda Lorena. There, Cafe Suplicy is a strategic point to take a break; special coffees are made there by experienced bar­ists in a modern ambience (Brazil is the biggest producer of coffee in the World, but the best selections are used channeled to exportation; recently, in 2006, Starbucks opened their first branches in São Paulo, and they quickly ranked amongst the most sucessful of the chain in the entire world). If you'd rather have some good ice cream, walk over to Sottozero on Rua Augusta (European style ice-cream).
When night falls, check out the programming at Cinesesc; this official bastion of São Paulo cinephiles was inaugurated in 1979 and still has its original classy decor. It's a delight to watch films outside the commercial circuit from the fumoir — an inside the screening room — while you languidly smoke a ciga­rette in a nouvelle-vague pose.

Evening and Night

The contemporary cuisine of Spot is an­other of the city's "in" icons; the orien­tal penne with chicken strips, vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, ginger and peanuts is a good choice (added by aboutsaopaulo: DOM Restaurant was appointed one of the 50 best restaurants in the world and - see here, and, of course, one of the best restaurants in São Paulo).
Extend your night at Skye, a bar on the top floor of the bold hotel Unique, one of the best hotels in São Paulo; on the deck of its swimming pool, you can tase a glass of wine while you ad­mire the view of the Parque do Ibirapuera.
You can count on your fingers the places in the world that have night life as cool as São Paulo's. You'll find a creative and "with it" young crowd at Vegas Club and at LovE Club, for example.

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