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Paula Cademartori

Milan with charismatic designer

Paula Cademartori, the charismatic Brazilian handbag designer, has become one of the most talked about names in fashion in recent years. Everyone from "it girls" and fashion bloggers to editors and critics — whose scrutiny can make even big-name designers tremble — have fallen in love with her eponymous line of handbags.

Today, Paula Cademartori handbags are sold in leading boutiques worldwide, and the crème de la crème of the fashion industry lines up to get a glimpse of her new collection during Fashion Week. Paula won us over with her determination and liveliness. She recently told us about her favorite places in Milan, a city she's called home for the last nine years.


Milan has become a very international and cosmopolitan city in recent years. It's got something for everybody. I have my favorite haunts; I don't like following the herd. Like a true gourmand, I love delicious food and fine wine. I can talk about them for hours. But don't think for a second that I moved to Milan for the food! (Laughs) The rhythm of life in Italy is different than in Brazil. Everything is peaceful and orderly here, and yes, Italians love good food. What's more, there are so many regions, each with its own speciality. It's amazing! Italians try to be the best in everything, which is something we could all learn from.


I have several favorite breakfast spots, and as a fan of brioche, I know where they make it best. Mind you I don't eat it everyday, but sometimes I treat myself.

Pasticceria Bastianello is legendary — loved by Milanese, celebrities, and fashion industry insiders who come to Milan for Fashion Week. I always order pane, burro e marmellata and brioche with Nutella.

Cova is popular with tourists. It's located right on via Montenapoleone, so of course it's always packed. But I love their brown brioche; it seems "healthy." I often go to St. Ambroeus, which also serves brioche! (Laughs) Pavé is a more unusual place. Think "alternative breakfast." It's in a somewhat strange district, which I explored for the first time last year. The design is unusual. The chairs don't match, and there's a communal table where you can sit with total strangers. But the main thing is the atmosphere, which is very international. And the pastries are unbelievable. I would recommend the apple brioche.

Pasticceria Sissi is great if you're in the right mood. It has an unusual, pink interior. The cappuccino and the brioche with ham and cheese are phenomenal. Pasticceria Cucchi is a favorite weekend place. The serve this spectacular dish — it's like an apple pie that just melts in your mouth!

I love Radetsky during the day, but I never go there at night or for aperitifs. It's a great place for lunch or a late breakfast. It draws an unusual crowd. For example, you might see an elderly woman with a dog sitting beside a group of creative young people. At night it's super crowded and somewhat pretentious, which I don't like.

I go to the cafe at 10 Corso Como on the weekends when I'm looking for a healthy, late breakfast. I order yogurt with fruit and muesli. For lunch, I get the salad with fish and avocado. I often go to Giacomo Bistrot for lunch. It's laid back, but chic. You have to get the meat dishes, but they also serve a delicious squash risotto. The best things to order at Da Giacomo are seafood and fish. I recommend a delicious fish and potato entree called "San Pietro."

Taveggia is a classic restaurant, loved by the Milanese aristocracy and prominent local families. The service is always exceptional. Come for lunch, coffee or breakfast. Everybody's heard of Paper Moon, but few know that they serve a delicious pizza with gorgonzola cheese. I go there just for that.

As far as Japanese restaurants go, I like Finger's and the relatively new Finger's Garden. A no-frills alternative is Temakinho, which serves Japanese-Brazilian cuisine in a cool atmosphere. Everything is simple but extremely tasty. Sushiteca on via San Fermo is one of my favorite Japanese restaurants.

Nearby is a romantic restaurant with a French ambience: Fioraio Bianchi. The interior is decorated with stunning flowers, but the food is average. I go there for the interior and the atmosphere. BeBel's is a restaurant with really mouthwatering pizza and great fish. It's very homey and authentically Italian! Another unpretentious, homestyle restaurant that I love is La Latteria.

And I can't say enough about Trattoria del Carmine, one of the best restaurants in the city that serves local Milanese food.


Antonia in Excelsior is one of my favorite boutiques in Milan. It features an excellent selection of top and up-and-coming designers. Also, Antonia recently opened a big, stand-alone boutique on the same street where they used to have a smaller one.

No30 is another favorite. They have outstanding brands and new and independent designers. It's also one of the few boutiques that carries young designers. The owners have exceptional taste; they find new brands themselves.

You should also check out 10 Corso Como, which carries famous brands, accessories, and has a bookstore on the second floor.

Cavalli e Nastri are vintage boutiques (there are three in Milan) with unique collections and bijouterie by YSL and Lanvin. They're a bit pricey, but they carry many interesting things.

One more vintage store worth visiting is Vintage Delirium by Franco Jacassi. This is where you'll find Chanel's first collection. 


I think Milan has too few art galleries and museums. An exception is the Palazzo Reale, which hosts fantastic seasonal exhibitions of great masters such as Modigliani and Picasso.

Exhibitions of contemporary art at the Black Box are always worth visiting. And the Galleria Carla Sozzani (10 Corso Como) is famous for its photo exhibits, which showcase works by world-famous photographers. 

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