Filipa de Abreu is living in the house of her dreams. Located in Lisbon’s Lapa neighborhood, the impeccably restored century-old home brings forth a burst of vibrant color amid 12-foot ceilings and expansive ocean views. The senior design director and influential brand ambassador for Tory Burch jets through the world’s most bustling cities, but there are few things she enjoys more than returning home.
Speaking on her career trajectory, which has fueled her non-stop movement, “I have worked with Tory for six years now, the first five as a design director for all things kaftans and embroideries, and last year, I moved to marketing, private events, and sales as a brand ambassador,” starts de Abreu. “I am very fond of Tory the woman as well as the brand — they both represent life values and design aesthetics that I hold to great esteem.” She is an impassioned lover of all things interior design, experimenting with styles and aspirational aesthetics, and often lending a helping hand to those in search of interior inspiration. “If people like what I do and want my help in designing their own homes, I might consider. Though my line of work is fashion, my passion is undoubtedly interiors. I am inspired by other interior designers like Marco Scarani, Remy Renzullo, Billy Baldwin, and Mongiardino, among so many others. Though I only dabble in it as a hobby, who knows where this will take me,” she adds.
This passion is evident in her home, meticulously designed to her sartorial tastes and maximalist expressions. The building, an early 19th century structure, had been refurbished by the owner with the ceiling restored by a leading Portuguese artist who specializes in churches and old buildings. “I was incredibly lucky to not have to do anything in terms of refurbishment since the owner had already restored this magical family home to its former glory before we moved in,” de Abreu explains. With four bedrooms — one for each of her three children and a master — the space that stands out most is the dining room. Hand-painted canvases featuring tigers and giraffes decorate the walls. The room is a stark contrast with the rest of the house, which is adorned in blue and white. These murals of painted panels, conceived as a birthday gift from Dutch designer and friend Marie-Anne Oudejans, were executed by artist Vikas Soni and his team from Jaipur. They were made to be easily relocated should de Abreu ever move homes. Throughout the space, art pieces by acclaimed artist and friend Grillo Demo, whose falling jasmine works are delicate, soft, and elegant, which she avowals are “just like him,” bring a gentle refinement to the overall aesthetic.
Along with the dining room, the pastel living room emits tranquility. “My favorite color combination is in this room. It’s an ode to Greece — the color of the ocean, the sky, and the houses. I am a fan of the sea and island living, so wherever I am, I always bring references of my beloved Greece,” she explains. Furnished with pieces brought back from her travels, including throws from India, books can be found stacked on the original hardwood floors — the apartment’s walls are too old and fragile to support shelving. “Like any house, it is not completed and never will be. A house is always a work in progress,” she considers.
The home also boasts a spacious terrace that features outdoor ceramic tiles that imitate wood, complementing the original floors found throughout the home.
The same can be said for what is found in her closet, an eclectic assortment of diverse pieces from local artisan markets and vintage to designer collections. “I love clothes,” comments de Abreu. “I don’t like fashion; I don’t follow trends nor labels. I do not adhere to the notion that the name of the brand on your clothing should define your status, nor that the money spent on them has any direct correlation on where you stand in society. The most elegant people I know are those that make the simplest sartorial choices.”
The brands that de Abreu does choose to wear are those that represent the values that are inherent to her, while often including design ideas she finds inspiring. “While clothes do not make a woman, it is unquestionable that they are your visiting card,” she says. “On that note, please feel free to judge me based on the clothes that I wear. They speak on my behalf before I do, and I’m very proud of what they say. It took me a long time to define this dialogue.”
As for her current projects, de Abreu has started bi-annual pop-up sales events in Lisbon, which have begun to gather a lot of interest, as they are a successful platform for international brands that have no local presence to reach a new audience. “As a result of the positive response, I am going to take these events on the road by the end of the year,” she adds. “Slowly, we are expanding from Lisbon to Madrid, and Qatar, next. Let’s see how other cities welcome us — it’s very exciting.”
Originally published in the July/August 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia