Lilian Pacce’s São Paulo

One Of Brazil's Top Fashion Influencers Uncovers Her City's Stylish Side
Lilian Pacce is known for her global fashion reporting. Photo courtesy of Leo Faria.
Lilian Pacce
Fashion Commentator, GNT Fashion; Editor & Publisher,

When Lilian Pacce was considering a career in journalism, her goal was to shed light on the world’s injustices. But a freelance gig at daily newspaper, Folha de S. Paulo, where Pacce was assigned stories for the fashion and arts sections changed her path. When the newspaper sent her to London, Paris, and Milan in 1987 to cover the runway shows during Fashion Week, it felt like a dream come true. She scored one-on-one interviews with designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Vivien Westwood, and her career as a fashion journalist was born.

Lilian Pacce has become a sought-after conference speaker. In 2017 she spoke at Iguatemi Talks (pictured above), a conference hosted by JK Iguatemi Shopping Mall in São Paulo.
London Calling

A few years later, she was presented with the opportunity to move to England with her husband, Leão Serva, also a journalist, who was being transferred abroad to serve as Folha de S. Paulo’s London correspondent.

Pacce used her time there to study fashion, which would help her approach reviewing collections from a different point of view. In 1992 she took courses at the London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins, the latter of which is known for shaping the careers of illustrious designers like Stella McCartney, Riccardo Tisci, and the late Alexander McQueen. And while she continued covering runway shows for Folha from London, she was also making a name for herself in Paris, Milan, and New York City’s fashion circles.

Lilian Pacce with Brazilian model and actress, Adriana Lima, at New York Fashion Week. Photo courtesy of GNT Fashion.
Digital Migration

While Pacce admits that São Paulo isn’t thought to be as elegant as Paris or Milan, she is energized by her city’s diversity and personality.

Born and raised in São Paulo, and, after a year spent in London, Pacce’s return to her native city in 1993 gave her the opportunity to become a bold voice in the world of Brazilian fashion. Ten years ago, she launched her own fashion blog, In doing so, she created a place where news could be shared instantaneously, with the aim of changing her reader's perception of the fashion industry. "My goal as a fashion journalist has always been to communicate in a way that helps inform readers and viewers to become better consumers."

Pacce has written about fashion for newspapers and magazines like Vogue Brazil, Elle, and Icarus, and is the author of five books.
Developing Her Voice

In keeping with her desire to use writing as an agent of change, in 2007 Pacce was invited by Eduardo Jorge, Secretary of The Environment for the City of São Paulo, to curate an exhibition for the launch of Eu Nao Sou de Plastico (I'm Not A Plastic Bag). She led a campaign that gathered 120 high-end brands and stylists to create special eco-friendly carry-alls to raise awareness about the negative environmental impacts of using plastic bags. The campaign was a hit, and generated a book, which she authored.

Pacce’s curatorial and writing skills were a resounding success again ten years later with Yes! Nos Temos Biquini (Yes! We Have Bikinis) an exhibition on display at the Centro Cultural do Banco de Brasil in Rio de Janeiro, which also generated a book, The Bikini Made In Brazil, now available in English.

Local Recommendations

Explore São Paulo With Lilian Pacce

From art galleries and cultural centers, to locally-minded boutiques, buzzing nightlife, and the best pizza in town, read on for the native Paulistana's favorite hometown hangouts.

At The Center Of It All

The Avenue Where Culture Thrives

Like many large metropolises, Brazil's biggest city is great for walking tours, if not not only to avoid São Paulo’s notorious gridlock. On weekends, you'll find Pacce strolling Avenida Paulista, a pedestrian-only thoroughfare closed to cars every Sunday. "This is the street to revel in São Paulo's fantastic diversity of ethnicities, ages, styles, and tribes. It’s also full of different cultural centers from the beginning of the avenue to the end." Take in the eclectic architecture of Japan House (52 Avenida Paulista; +55-11-3090-8900), the first of a trio of Japanese cultural centers spread across São Paulo, London, and Los Angeles. Opened in May 2017 by the Japanese embassy of Brazil, Japan House is meant to serve as a platform to celebrate Japanese culture around the world. The building's striking façade, made with interlocking cypress wood slats welcomes visitors into a three-story, 2,400 square-foot space featuring a variety of rotating exhibitions, and superstar Brazilian sushi chef, Jun Sakamoto's restaurant, Junji Sakamoto, for full service meals on the second floor. Downstairs, Imi Café serves a variety of teas and delectable pastries.

Two miles away is Instituto Moreira Salles (2424 Avenida Paulista; +55-11-2842-9120), also known as IMS, which opened in September 2017. A must-see for photography lovers, the museum's collection includes more than 2 million photographs, cataloging the works of some of Brazil’s best photographers, including portraits by Otto Stupakoff, and Chichico Alkmim, whose work is of great importance for research on clothing and fashion from early 20th century Brazil. Casa das Rosas (37 Avenida Paulista; +55-11-3285-6986), a national landmark situated between some of the city's most contemporary buildings, stands as a symbol of a bygone era. The former home of architect Francisco de Paula Ramos de Azevedo, the 1935 mansion is now a cultural attraction with a writers' training center named for Haroldo de Campos, a defining figure of Brazilian poetry. It also has a library, which contains 20,000 volumes of books and papers that were part of the poet's private collection. Check the foundation’s active events calendar before you go to catch a poetry reading or creative workshop.

Moreira Salles Institute. Photo courtesy of Pedro Vannucchi/ Instituto Moreira Salles.

Boutique Finds

Where To Go Shopping In São Paulo

In her spare time, Pacce enjoys browsing the city’s independent boutiques, like Cartel 011 (517 Rua Artur de Azedo; +55-11-3081-4171), the source for apparel designed by up-and-coming Brazilian talents. Located in Pinheiros, it is known for its art gallery, casual eatery, and hair salon. Along the same lines is VOID General Store SP (56 Rua Martim Carrasco; +55-11-3031-0088), which attracts a clientele looking for small, homegrown brands, or a detour into their convenience store, bar, and restaurant. For handmade goods and sustainable fashion, Flavia Aranha (224 Rua Aspicuelta; +55-11-3031-1703) features an original collection handmade in Vila Madalena. Clothing is created by local artisans, and products are dyed with natural pigments extracted from tree barks, fruit, leaves, and roots. Buy one of their dyeing kits and create your own hand-dyed scarf or T-shirt. Pacce procures her natural beauty supplies and locally-made perfumes at 100 percent organic grocery, Casa Orgânica (346 Rua Fidalga; +55-11-3813-0800) in Vila Madalena.

Casa Orgânica. Photo courtesy of Naíla Delalana.

Art In The City

São Paulo Is The Place To Discover Brazilian Visionaries

Pacce never stops exploring Sampa’s dynamic art scene and the Pinacoteca (2 Praça da Luz; +55-11-3324-1000), whose collection features Brazilian artistry spanning the 19th century to today, is one of the city’s most important visual arts museums. To discover new and emerging creators, head to the undulating COPAN building to Pivô (200 Avenida Ipiranga; +55-11-3255- 8703). "They promote a stable of young talents and have artists in residence," says Pacce.

Galeria Vermelho (350 Rua Minas Gerais; +55-11-3138-1520) is one of Pacce’s favorite destinations for new contemporary works. Artists represented by Vermelho include photographer Claudia Andujar who dedicated her life to capturing on film the Yanomami, an Amazonian community at the border of Brazil and Venezeula, and, Rosãngela Rennó, who creates new images out of anonymous found photographs and film negatives.

Galeria Vermelho façade - Project by Jonathas de Andrade. Photo courtesy of Edouard Fraipont.

Fashion Plates

Where To DIne Like A Local

To catch a glimpse of the city’s chicest denizens, make your way to Spot (72 Alameda Min. Rocha Azevedo; +55-11-3283-0946), where you won’t be disappointed by the people watching or the food. Enter the main dining room, built around a long bar at the center, and tuck into dishes like penne oriental with mixed vegetables, shitake mushrooms, and toasted almonds, or the terrine of goat cheese with fresh vegetables.

Years spent traveling to Paris often makes Pacce nostalgic for classic French cooking, and when the feeling strikes, she makes her way to the Belle Époque inspired La Casserole (346 Largo do Arouche; +55-11-3331-6283). Opened in 1954 behind the Arouche flower market, its picturesque location creates a romantic Parisian atmosphere.

On Sundays, pizza is a Paulistano tradition, and Pacce recommends a few different pizzerias in her neighborhood, Higienópolis. Try the zucchini pizza with buffalo mozzarella and black olives at Vica Pota (549 Rua Alagoas; +55-11-3825-5512), or the Paulistana at Bráz Pizzaria (125 Rua Grauna; +55-11-5561-0905): a mix of mozzarella, smoked cheese, tomatoes, and slivers black olives on top of perfectly chewy whole wheat dough.

Vibrant Nightlife

Party Like A Paulistano

Fashionistas party with celebrities at Club Jérome (398 Rua Matto Grosso; +55-11-2614-6526), where the social set stays out until the wee hours. On Friday nights, the club’s Avec Élégance party is commanded by DJ and producer Zé Pedro, who spins a mix of Brazilian music and disco classics. For a quieter evening, Pacce settles in at Jazz nos Fundos (742 Rua Cardeal Arcoverde; +55-11-3083-5975). A converted former shoe factory, today the venue welcomes local musicians to its jazz jam sessions every Tuesday through Saturday, and gives listeners a chance to savor a glass of wine or cool drink while taking in smooth live music.

Inside Club Jerome. Photo courtesy of João Sal.