Vila Madalena, São Paulo's coolest neighbourhood

Luciane Oliveira | Live the World

November 23, 2022

If you ask any “Paulistano,” -people born in São Paulo- which is the coolest neighborhood to hang out in the city, I am sure they will all agree that Vila Madalena is the place to be. Vila Madalena is a neighborhood that attracts musicians, writers, photographers, painters, and other artists and brings forward a genuinely bohemian vibe. Over the years, "Vila," as locals warmly call it, concentrated boutiques and art galleries from new designers and artists that identified themselves with style. Therefore, the area transformed into the most hipster place in the metropolis. What is interesting to observe is how a place can be "trendy" without losing its authentic style. The frenetic pace of evolution affects Vila Madalena and transform it, but in reaction, Vila seems to be absorbing the novelty, shaping that way its own "avant-garde."

Shops and galleries out of the ordinary

Many Brazilian designers decided to establish their galleries and shops exclusively in the neighborhood to emphasize their authentic style. One example is Flavia Aranha with her "natural look" clothes store. Her brand proposes to “embrace your body” with naturally dyed in beautiful delicate colors fabrics. The vision of the company has a poetic approach, and the manufacture follows an eco-friendly transparent process. This approach translates a lot the spirit of Vila Madalena

Another designer that chose Vila Madalena as hometown was Luiza Perea. Her handcraft shoe shop was initially a small atelier in the back of a house in Vila. Its originality is attracting not only locals who seek for out-of-the standard options, but also called the attention of the international American brand Anthropologie, who is now selling some of her items abroad. 

Mother and daughter, "Satiko + Isabel," propose a fashion style that reflects their architectural background in simple lines styled through “moulage.” Their Japanese heritage also inspires the light and their charming handmade prints and enhances the exclusive appeal of the brand. It’s worth checking it out. 

There’s more and more style and authenticity in Vila. If you appreciate the handcrafted design that applies recycled material, eco-friendly production, and support local suppliers, you will probably fall in love with the area. You will be amazed by how those items also incorporate sophistication and modernity.

Art Galleries and the unusual "House of Xiclet"

Vila Madalena is also famous for the contemporary art galleries it holds, most of which are particularly successful and well respected for their artistic quality. If you walk down “Rua Fradique Coutinho” you will find several renowned contemporary art galleries and several eye-catching pieces. 

However, there is this place called "House of Xiclet" (in Portuguese "Casa da Xiclet") that stands out due to its uniqueness. Indeed, it is a house: there is a room, a bathroom, a kitchen with utensils, etc. but it is also a gallery! “The gallery is different because of the house and the house is different because of the gallery.” This hybrid space does not impose any pre-selection of art: what is art is defined by the artists themselves. Therefore, there is a wide variety of quality and quantity. While a conventional gallery works with between 15 or 20 artists per year, House of Xiclet works with that amount per month. It is definitely an unusual place to visit and soak up its alternative vibe. This is so Vila!

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