My style icon is Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. She has an amazing natural style: always modest, always in long sleeves and a turban or hijab.
The beauty staples I’m never without are Guerlain’s kohl eyeliner that I buy at Sephora in Brazil, and Serge Lutens’ Ambre Sultan perfume – I stock up at his store in Paris at the Palais-Royal. From €27; sephora.com. Ambre Sultan, €120 for 50ml EDP; Serge Lutens, 142 Galerie de Valois, 75001 Paris (sergelutens.com).
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose New York’s West Village. Cap Beauty is a very special natural skincare boutique: I love its Neroli-infused marula oil from a brand called African Botanics. And I love The Meadow, a store specialising in all kinds of salt, including Himalayan pink salt, and the best chocolates in the world. They have a “library” of chocolate from places like Madagascar, Vietnam and Grenada. I love one called Marou Ben Tre from Vietnam. African Botanics Pure Marula Oil, $100 for 30ml; africanbotanics.com. Marou Ben Tre dark chocolate, $9.50; themeadow.com.
The best gift I’ve received recently was a telephone call from my grandson, aged seven, sharing his thoughts and telling me about his life. He lives in Rio de Janeiro.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Hilma af Klint, a Swedish pioneer of abstract art who was also a mystic. I discovered her work at the Pinacoteca do Estado in São Paulo and fell in love; I felt an instant connection. She recently had a major retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York. CFHill Art Space, Stockholm (cfhill.com).
Things I would never part with are the essential oils I keep in my handbag – lavender, frankincense, rose, ylang ylang… I get them from John Steele, a highly knowledgeable and specialised aromatic consultant and archeologist based in Los Angeles, who searches for rare essences all over the world. John Steele, Lifetree Aromatix, 3949 Longridge, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 (+1818-986 0594). From $8.50; available from shop.perfumersapprentice.com.
If I didn’t live in São Paulo, I would live in Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali. I felt connected with it in a very strong way the first time I set foot in the place – it was as if I had always lived there. I stayed for a month and loved the simple life, the graciousness, the flowers that are always on the doors; it’s very beautiful. I was at the Amandari, an Aman hotel, one of the most beautiful hotels ever, cascading over rice paddies and jungles. I love the store created by Jean-François Fichot, the late French designer who I knew very well but who tragically died in a car accident in Cuba. He was exceptionally talented. His family still maintain his boutique of exquisite homewares, a lot of Balinese silver, vases, sculptures in wood and silver. At the back of the store there is beautiful jewellery – we were going to work together on a collection. I also adore the Habitat café at the entrance to the Ubud Monkey Forest: the coffee is wonderful, the setting sensational. Amandari, Banjar, Jl. Raya Kedewatan, Kedewatan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571 (+62361-975 333; aman.com). habitatubud.com. Jean-François Fichot, Jl Raya Pengosekan No 7, Ubud, Bali 80571 (+6236-974 652; jf-f.com).
The last meal that truly impressed me was lunch at Baekyangsa Temple in the mountains of South Korea with masterchef Jeong Kwan, a Zen Buddhist monk. She prepares the most exquisite fermented food –sometimes it has been buried in the earth for three years. It was vegan, so mostly vegetables, wonderfully flavoured rice, tofu and a spiced pumpkin that I’ll never forget. I also recently had the best meal at ABCV, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s vegetarian restaurant in ABC Carpet & Home in New York. I love the fresh tofu, spicy Szechuan pepper oil, peanuts, grilled and pickled cucumber or the market carrots with stoneground nut and seed butter with chillies and lime. ABC Carpet & Home, 8 East 19th Street, New York, NY 10003 (+1212-475 5829; abchome.com/dine).
The best gifts I’ve given recently were two exquisite pieces of sandstone from the Utah desert, resembling intricately detailed landscapes. I saw a man selling them by the roadside and brought them back for people in my office.
In my fridge you’ll always find fresh juice. I go through phases, and right now I’m pressing it myself from the organic celery I buy from Health & Harmony in New York. I’ll also have dates and dried apricots, which are good for energy. We have a very good gourmet supermarket in Brazil, Santa Luzia – I buy them there. You’ll also find my turmeric face mask: I use a lot of turmeric from Banyan Botanicals, mixing it with honey and other ingredients to create a divine face mask that calms the skin and reduces inflammation. And finally, pure rose water from the market in Bahrain, to spray on my face. Banyanbotanicals.com. Health & Harmony, 470 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 (+1212-691 3036). Supermarket Santa Luzia, Rua Padre João de Castro e Costa 5, Vila Bauab, São Paulo (+5511-2280 5422).
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a perfumer, making customised scents. I think I would work particularly with patchouli, which I love as it reminds me so much of the ’70s. Scents stay in the mind.