Maria calls it “a restless spirit.” She did communication studies and specialised in public relations, marketing and advertising, working in the banking sector, the Internet and carved out a career at Estée Lauder Companies, where she represented Clinique, La Mer, Lab Series, Donna Karan, Michael Kors. In 2016, she revamped the Portuguese Claus Porto brand, which currently has four shops in Lisbon, Porto and New York, before moving to Grupo Lúcia Piloto (hairdresser, beauty), which has just opened a concept store on Avenida da Liberdade in the Portuguese capital.
Maria feels at home in New York. She loves Central Park because it’s “the perfect mix of nature and civilization”, the NoLita neighbourhood – “where I was privileged to open a Claus Porto store” – and the Brooklyn Bridge. When it comes to culture, she’s a fan of the Cooper Hewitt Museum, “a paradise for fans of design history”, MoMA, the New York Public Library and Radio City Music Hall. The best place for shopping is at Bergdorf Goodman, “department stores are epicentres of luxury and a must for those working in this sector”. For something to eat, there’s Balthazar, Pastis and Augustine: “Even on the other side of the world, there’s no cuisine like the French”.
She likes getting lost on Rue des Martyrs, “where we can see everything that makes Paris special: the boulangeries, traditional grocer’s shops, florists, bookshops, vintage places”. Other incredible places include Merci – “my favourite concept store in the city (I still haven’t recovered from Colette closing down)” -, Le Bon Marché in the Rose Market Boutique for “incredible vintage clothing”, and Maison Plisson, “restaurant and épicerie, where you can eat good, healthy food and buy delicious treats”. Maria also likes the historic Café de Flore because “it’s an icon, but hasn’t sold its soul to tourism”. She loves the classics: the “incredible” Chagall ceiling at the Opera House, the Louvre Museum (“where I dream of spending an entire week”) and the majestic Crillon Hotel.
Maria likes the Notting Hill neighbourhood “for its bohemian vibe”, Portobello market and the street food. She also enjoys Camden market and the Liberty department store. Her hotel choice is Claridge’s in Mayfair, “heaven for any art deco lover”. When it comes to the arts, it’s the Tate Modern for both its interior and exterior, not forgetting “the irresistible shops and city vista”. A culinary recommendation is Chiltren Firehouse, which is “gorgeous, cosy and has the magic touch of [Portuguese chef] Nuno Mendes”, followed by a drink at The Hoxton hotel bar.
Venice has an “almost surreal” beauty. On the Rialto Bridge, Maria can “spend hours watching the gondolas passing”. In the past, she visited one of the best exhibitions of one of her favourite photographers, Irving Penn, at the Palazzo Grassi. She loves “the smell of books (mostly old ones) and the way they’re stacked in unusual spots” at Libreria Acqua Alta. Maria stays at Gritti Palace because she prefers “hotels with history, soul and patina”. Other Venetian classics include Harry’s Bar, where she drank “the best Bellinis”, and Cantina do Mori, “one of the oldest wine bars, where you can still see a little of the history, tradition and authenticity of Venice for locals”.
Maria has lived in the Catalan capital. Shopping is at Continuarà Comics, the Catalan version of Stuart’s shop in The Big Bang Theory series – “Whenever I go, I always leave with new figures for my son and brother (the ‘geeks’ of the family)”. And La Nostra Ciutat sells design objects “and incredible prints”. Green Spot is “one of the best and coolest places for vegetarian food”.
South & North
“The more I travel, the more I love Portugal.” She chooses Avenida da Liberdade, “for shopping in Lisbon”, which is where the Valverde Hotel is located, a veritable “a refuge in the city centre”. In Porto, she loves Rua das Flores in Porto, and Café Vitória, “one of the city’s best kept secrets”.
Lisboa \\\ valverdehotel.com
Porto \\\ cafevitoria.com
by Patrícia Barnabé
web design & development 262media.com