The retail revolution taking hold in Brazil sees its latest luxury play in the Village Mall. The Bal Harbour-like shopping center is located in Rio de Janeiro’s Barra de Tijuca district, which is also set to be the location of the city’s future Olympic Village.
In the last four years, malls in Brasilia and Sao Paulo—namely from developers at the Iguatemi Group—have dominated the luxury talks in Brazil. With the Village Mall, the luxe life has arrived just forty-five minutes from Ipanema Beach and represents the most comfortable shopping experience among the recently opened malls we’ve explored of late.
Beyond slick corridora boasting brands such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Burberry, Rio’s first Apple Store, Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Tory Burch, the Village is replete in sun-drenched, floor-to-ceiling glass, chill-out clusters of Scandinavian furniture and peppered by exotic plant life. It’s the kind of chic, relaxedness you expect of a tropical mall that sports the Tijuca forest as its epic backdrop.
Jewel box boutiques like red-hot local designer Ara Vartanian make for the kind of discoveries that are otherwise hard to come by in Rio. The line is characterized by standouts such as upside-down, cut-studded diamond earrings and motorcycle-inspired cocktail rings that mix both precious and semi-precious stones in fresh symphonies. Elsewhere, Granada’s eye candy boutique sells heritage soaps and beauty products wrapped in its signature neon packaging, while Blue Man and Cia Maritima boutiques represent the best of the bathing suit selection from and national brands. And Carioca heroes Osklen and Lenny also have boutiques tucked on the stunning fourth level of the Antonio Paulo Cordeiro-designed mall.
Casual style rules in Rio, which explains the bold batch of bags the dominate the weeks-old Miu Miu store. At Gucci, meanwhile, logo-branded items comprise more than 70% of the merchandise on offer. For newly moneyed locals, designer party dresses are on offer at Valentino Red and Tory Burch boutique. And for complementary BCBG menswear, there’s also a ground floor Zegna.
Prada and other international brands are set to open this spring, but the true fashion test of this latest venture from the MultiPlan developers will be a key multi-brand store to represent clear fashion identity. The unforgettable Clube Chocolate, which was once open in the nearby competitor complex, Fashion Mall, mixed international brands such as Dries Van Noten with local stars Isabel Capeto and Lenny—certainly a formula worth revisiting.