Designer of WYMANN.
THE CITY TALK
YOU'VE BEEN LIVING IN RIO DE JANEIRO FOR THE LAST 7 YEARS. WHAT IS RIO’S PHILOSOPHY ?
Go with the flow! Because it is extremely difficult to plan something here.
In Switzerland, on January 1st we know when and where we are going to take vacation in the coming year. In Brazil, especially in Rio, it is a different story. But I think it is great because it helps you loosen up. Like you can have planned to go to the beach and then you meet a friend on the way and finally end up spending the whole day with that person doing other things. This is really great, this “go with the flow” vibe. As a matter of fact, every time some friends come and visit me in Rio I always tell them not to plan every day so much and just let themselves go with the flow.
WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL AT HOME HERE ?
For sure my new family that I gained from my husband. I never feel nostalgic of a place, but it is always nice to know that you can go somewhere when you really need it where people will always welcome you with open arms. Of course home is my husband who is the family I chose, and also my friends. They are amazing. I think it is also the feeling of being used to a place that makes it feel home to you. Like last time I came back from Switzerland, when I landed in Rio I thought : “it’s good to be home”.
THE PLACE WHERE YOU FEEL THE BEST AT IN RIO ?
It’s always in the morning when it is not too crowded and I like to sit on a street corner or I love going to the Parque Lage which to me is also mystical and dark and wild because of all the plants. It is very beautiful. And the beach of course at the end of the day.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT LIVING IN RIO ?
After all these years I still feel like I am on vacation. When I wake up in the morning and see all this beautiful nature, and the fact that I live next to the beach, it still surprises me to live in such a beautiful place.
YOUR SECRET PLACE IN RIO ?
I really love downtown: the “Centro”! A lot of Cariocas don’t even go there because yes it’s very crowded, it’s very chaotic… but it has so many beautiful spots. And so very authentic with the real people from Rio whereas in Zona Sul (south zone of Rio) it is not always very representative of the Cariocas… In the Centro you have these old buildings, you have the new ones, and there is this bar that I love to go to, which is on the street corner of my old atelier, which is called Casa Paladino. It is more than a 100 years old and is like one of those old European bars where they expose all their bottles and the food… I love it there. Another spot that I love there is Livraria da Travessa, you can just go there and read their books… Oh and this really old Portuguese library: it is beautiful and quiet, you feel shut out from the world. Whenever I’m walking in front I have to enter.
WHAT IS THE TOURISTIC THING THAT YOU LOVE TO DO ?
I really love to go to Santa Teresa and have a traditional feijoada at Bar do Mineiro. And when I’m too lazy to go all the way up there, I eat it at Academia da Cachaça which is close to my home, outdoors and really easy for me to go there. I also love caïpirinha, which is very touristic as well.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DO ON A FRIDAY NIGHT ?
It depends… of course I like to go out but nowadays a bit less than before. Mostly I like going to bars and have drinks and talk with my friends. If you ask me to join for that kind of plans, I always come. Parties, I like but it has to be great parties in general and play the music I like and bring the people I like.
THE BEACHES HERE ARE SUCH A STRONG PART OF THE CULTURE OF THE CITY… WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BEACH ? AND TELL US ABOUT THE BEACH DO’S AND DONT’S HERE ?
I don’t mind when it’s crowded as long as I manage to get a place close to the sea, we call it “varanda” here, because it is less hot than closer to the street. I usually just go in front of my house in Leblon because it is just so convenient, but my favorite beach would be Joatinga. It has that old school beach vibe, there are dogs playing around, people playing football… And I also like a lot the beach of Grumari. It is further away so you go there as a day trip but it’s worth it!
I HEARD YOU ARE A VEGETARIAN, ISN’T IT COMPLICATED TO FIND PRODUCTS AND RESTAURANTS WITH VEGETARIAN CHOICES IN A COUNTRY KNOWN FOR ITS MEAT CULTURE ?
Funny indeed, one of the best restaurants for vegetarians is actually a restaurant famous for its meat. It is called CT Brasserie and they have the best “à discretion” side order choices: they have gratin, they have rice, they have veggies… Really good food and lots of options. I can just go with meat eaters and I’m completely happy.
BEST PLACE TO SIT AND WATCH THE PEOPLE PASS BY?
It is horrible and uncool to say but I like sitting at the Starbucks next to my house. To me, happiness is like - this is my trash side speaking- reading Spanish gossip magazines like Hola! which brings me back to my childhood as I grew up with those gossip stories, and drink a chai latte with soja milk (of course!) in the morning.
There is another place in Centro called Amarelinho which is just in front of the Teatro Municipal : a place where a lot of business people go to and where all the street demonstrations pass by, so I like to sit there and watch people.
FAVORITE CULTURAL PLACE ?
Teatro Municipal for sure, because in the afternoon they have tickets for R$5! You can see operas, ballets,… for that price! And I also really love the Instituto Moreira Salles in Gavea because the house is beautiful and there are always interesting exhibitions of photography about Brazil, Rio…
WHERE DO YOU SHOP? IS THERE A COOL FASHION ITEM YOU CAN BUY ONLY IN RIO ?
Since I own my own label, I don’t shop a lot anymore as I only wear my clothes. But if there is one thing to buy here in Brazil, it would be bikinis of course! They are very strong in bikinis! I love Lenny Niemayer, also there is this new brand called Haight and sometimes you can even find very nice basics in the tacky shops of downtown Rio, like the classic black bathing suit.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO GIFT FROM RIO TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHEN YOU GO BACK TO EUROPE ?
Cliché : Havaianas flip flops! Actually I have to say “Ipanema” flip flops as I did a collaboration with the brand: Ipanema x Wymann. This always makes them happy. And then also beauty products from Granado with their amazing packaging. Another thing I like to bring back is “oleo de boi”, it looks like a nut but I think it is more of a big seed. You have to put two of them, one male and one female, in a glass of water next to the entrance of your home and it absorbs the bad energies: if they rot, then you see there was a lot of bad energy. I like giving those because it is an approach to this fantastic world of esoteric and mystical things we have in Brazil.
ANY TIPS FOR GETTING THE TRUE LOCAL ART EXPERIENCE – IS THERE ANY ART SCENE IN RIO?
There is actually a big art scene: we have a very strong movement of street art which isn’t really my thing but it is really important here, with artists like Os Gemios for example, who are worldwide known… For Contemporary Fine Arts I think you have to go to the less mainstream galleries like Mercedes Viegas in Gavea or Gentil Carioca in Downtown Rio.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVORITE SPOT TO GET SOME QUIET, PEACEFUL MOMENTS?
It is called “mesa do imperador” and is located in the Florest of Tijuca a bit further up from the more touristic spot called “Vista Chinesa”. It is an old terrace, very quiet, but not frightening at all because close to the main street…
BEST STAYCATION PLACE ? WHERE DO YOU SUGGEST YOUR FRIENDS TO STAY WHEN THEY COME TO VISIT YOU ?
It is always a bit tricky because I’m a very big fan of AirBnB! Otherwise, there is the hotel of a friend called Hotel Arpoador, located in one of the best spots in Rio. The hotel was always really bad, so my friend’s family took it and started renovating it, and now it is the best place to stay at.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY IN RAQUEL’S LIFE HERE IN RIO?
I wake up very early around 6am, and then I need a long time to get ready to go out. Actually there is "good Raquel" and "bad Raquel". "Good Raquel" wakes up and listens to meditation music and then starts her routine: drinks lemon juice, reads her tarot cards, takes her shower, sometimes calls her mom in Spain, etc… "Bad Raquel" wakes up, browses Instagram and looses her time.
I usually get out of my house at 8am but if I have to take care of administrative things, I do it from home. As I also have a lot of clients in the "Zona Sul" of Rio, I receive them at home as well.
When I don’t have any appointments, I head out to my office downtown and work with my seamstresses, I always get very inspired there.
I normally arrive around 9am, my team is already there since 8am, so when I get there I get a coffee with them.
At 9.30am I start looking at the work they did so far, if there is a new thing I try it on with my pattern maker and fix it until I’m pleased with it. Then I move on to the buying parts : zippers, fabric, etc…
I usually head out to my little vegan buffet for lunch, very fast, very functional.
And then in the afternoon, I play with fabric and wrap it around me and start creating and drawing new items. If I’m not too busy nor on a deadline I get out at 5pm in order to be at home by 6pm and work again from home until 8pm and by 9pm I’m already in bed and watching a Netflix series and chill… That’s it ;)
THANK YOU RAQUEL! x