Oskar Metsavaht of Osklen has the inside track in Brazilian cool. He’s one of the best designers in the country but also a consummate tastemaker, always interested in pulling together the most forward looking shows and hip parties. To celebrate the launch of New Order, a diffusion line that he doesn’t design but endorses, his team scouted out a kiosk on Copacabana beach to hold the launch party. Part of the event was at beach level, the other downstairs in the basement. The guest list was tight including Brazilian hipsters and a shortlist of international journalists. Oskar insisted that I come, as it would be very special and intimate. Including the locals, no one had ever seen a nightclub-like setting beneath a beach kiosk. The novel concept had everyone abuzz and we danced the night away, feeling smug that we experienced this first in Rio. That was on the last night of Fashion Rio.
Recognizing that I had a couple days before the shows ended, I thought it would be a great to plan a getaway to recharge and to see a different region o the country that I fall more in love with on every visit. I first thought to go to Trancuso in the north or Buzios, a couple hours outside of Rio was also tossed around, but I had already been there a couple years ago. Paraty was recommended, as it is halfway between Rio and Sao Paolo and relatively facile to get to. I was first going to take the bus, an easy ride, everyone says, in the end though I hired a car to make the trip as comfortable as possible. I had visions of arriving in the town square with my huge bags rolling around in search of a pousada. Not a good look.
I booked myself in at Pousada Imperial, right in the middle of town behind the famous church. I was warned that Paraty is a lover’s paradise, super romantic, quaint and so forth. I wasn’t worried that I didn’t have a lover in tow, I’m usually good in any environment. On arrival I immediately began to walk around town checking out the charming old buildings and the colorful boats beckoning tourists to take a ride. The next day, I heeded the calls of one of these boats and hired Fabiano to take me for 4 hour ride around different islands and coves on is boat called Amor Eterno or Eternal Love (I saw the name only when I returned). No wonder the other captains were snickering when we sailed off into the day together. The trip was sublime until I started to torrential downpour—a scene I had not imagined. I made the best of the situation and asked Fabiano to take me to Kontiki Restaurant, the only structure on a small island for lunch to wait out the rain. I capped the day with dinner at Banana de Terra, one of the best fish restaurants in town and it was delicious.
On the second day, I prayed for sunshine and my prayers were answered by a picture perfect day. Aimlessly, I hopped on one of the schooners that take a mix of passengers to a couple islands and beaches for a 4-hour sail. It was one of the better-uninformed decisions ive made. The schooner was alive with music from a resident musician playing everything from samba sounds to American pop music. It was filled with families, lovers, and me. Within half hour, curious, everyone started talking to me inquiring where I was from, what I do, etc and by the end of the trip, I had several new friends.
I literally dashed from the boat to make my bus to Sao Paolo. Yes, I decided to take the bus this time and didn’t regret it. The Green Coast (the region between Sao Paolo and Rio) is some of the lushest landscape ive ever seen and I sat mesmerized by the dense foliage, gorgeous waterfalls cascading from high up in the mountains and the few little homes tucked in at the base of the gorgeous awe inspiring hillside. There were still signs of the recent flooding in the region that had huge boulders and mud tumbling into the road, destroying some areas of it, a hazard of living in this mountainous rainforest like setting. Nonetheless, it’s a place I hope to return to in the not so distant future. I’m now in Sao Paolo and the shows are off to a promising start here. More on that later.