What? This isn’t the traditional way to christen a new retail space?  

Growing up in Missouri, not too many luxury brands found their way to my conscious at Affton High school. Even now, with the powers of fashion blogs and a plethora of magazines, some of the girls I went to class with don’t know the difference between Altuzarra and Aldo. Which is no insult. While I lose sleep over best dressed list and deadlines and shoes, they’re raising families and joining book clubs and mowing lawns that I’m very, very jealous of. (Fun fact: My first ever designer purchase was a pair of orange mirrored Gucci sunglasses, which I had guilt tripped my Uncle Bert to buying me as a reward for good behavior when we were in Venice one summer.) But one brand that did work it’s way into the center of the county was Louis Vuitton. I can remember my Environmental Science teacher had a monogram bucket bag, the kind that tied at the top, and I would stare longingly it at when she would draw diagrams on the overhead projector. That reminds me: Do schools still use overhead projectors? I digress.

Perhaps it’s this subconscious appreciation for the French fashion house that has made me such a sucker for the brand. Or maybe it’s Marc Jacobs, a man I admire greatly as an artist and the sort of constantly inspired creative sponge that can only be created in New York City. Whatever the reasons, I rarely turn down and Vuitton invitation. (Need proof? In just the last year I’ve followed Marc to Shanghai and the Pope himself to Rome for spectacular events surrounding LV.) My most recent adventure? São Paulo. Now, I have been to Rio de Janierio a few times. (Most recently, I was there in January for fashion week.) But this was the first time I was in the metropolis that is São Paulo. When I got there, someone described it as this: São Paulo is to New York as Rio is to LA. The only difference, of course, is that it’s only a 50 minute flight between each, so going to the beach for the weekend isn’t as big a deal.

I’ll be honest, I missed the beach. I’ve come to associate Brazil with the bodies, and like I Twittered earlier today, it’s completely common for butch, straight dudes to rollerblade down the street in their sungas. (I dare someone to pull that in New York!) But what São Paulo lacked in beach it made up for in galleries, clubs, museums and nightlife. All of which, I’m happy to say I dabbled in.

With two of Brazil’s best exports: Donata Meirelles, the hostess with the mostest, and Ronaldo, no last name needed. A took a picture of me and Ronaldo together too, which I sent my brother. Despite all the models and pretty ladies I hang around with, this was one of the few times he actually knew the person in the picture

It fills me with great pleasure to be able to quote Anna Dello Russo in this post. As she sings in her song, Fashion Shower, “Somebody wearing your same outfit? Wonderful, you made a right choice.” Such was the case when my friend Lissy showed up in the same dress as local Brazilian celebrity Mariana Ximenes. They glared at each other a few times, and then finally met and became good friends. They’re meeting up in Rio to check out the favelas together as we Tweet

Matching your Louis Vuitton ensemble to the tiles? Now, that’s chic. Well done, Elisa Sednaoui

Astrid Munoz was born in Puerto Rico, then spent some time in Europe and London, then married an Argentine polo player, and now winters in Palm Beach. Some girls have all the luck

Team LV: Faye, Julien, Yves, Lissy, Alexia and my Taurian sister Molly Laub at a dinner at Donata’s house

Isaac Ferry on the decks at a discotheque appropriately named Disco

Elisa and Alex at the store in new Vuitton store at the super luxe Cidade Jardim mall

At the end of the dinner at Donata’s house, there was a very entertaining but also very strange finale: A Woman called Ivete Sanglo took the stage. I had been told she was the Brazilian Madonna and also the “Queen of Carnivale,” so I was expecting something hip-thrusting and vulgar. But she got up there and sang very sweet, very sensitive and very lovely love songs. (Well, that’s how they sounded. I don’t speak Portugeuse, so I don’t know for sure.) And then she never got off. In fact, she invited more people to come up and sing with her. It turned into Brazilian karaoke, which I can’t say ever happened in New York

On our last night, we ended up at a place called Love Story. But something tells me the place is full of more stories than love. (Particularly because, umm, you have to go through a metal detector to get in)

This trip wasn’t all fun and fashion and fine dining. Oscar Niemeyer, who is 104 years old and still working, has always been one of my favorite architects, so we stopped by a museum he designed, the Oca. And, as luck would have it, the São Paulo Bienale was on too. Because I love an amusing, piss-taking art work, this was one of my favorites: invisible sculptures and blank canvases. 

Something else I liked? These dioramas of women’s handbags. I’ve always said you can tell a lot about a woman by the state of her handbag, and this work perfectly summed that up. For example, the woman who’s bag was full of loose tobacco, loose change and a broken brush? Not so chic

But ultimately, in Brazil it will always be about Niemeyer. This ramp, in the middle of the Bienale, was my favorite piece.

SPEAKING OF ART IN BRAZIL: CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR MY DIARY FROM MY TRIP TO INHOTIM, A GREAT OASIS OF MODERN WORKS AND PALM TREES AND BOTANICAL GARDENS IN THE UNTOUCHED NATURAL HEART OF THE BRAZILIAN WILDERNESS.