Tastemakers who know Victoria Fernandez well see her as someone who never follows fashion, but rather inspires it. “When I moved from London to Paris several years ago, I sold all my brightly colored clothes at auction at Christie’s, in what was referred to in the press as ‘the sale of the decade,’” says Fernandez of her legendary reputation for style. Since then, the peripatetic event organizer and design devotee wears only black as a counterpoint to her effervescent nature. “My spirit is colorful enough,” claims Fernandez, whose unique design sensibilities are evidenced in the residences she owns, notably her newest home in Lisbon, a two-bedroom apartment in an eighteenth-century building overlooking the Tagus River.
Known for her innate panache, Fernandez has influenced the work of high-profile designers, such as Missoni, Patrick Cox, Stella McCartney, and Tom Ford, and is often tapped by the crème de la crème of the art, design, and fashion worlds to host parties and events, including the 60th birthday bash of architect Zaha Hadid a few years before her unexpected death. “I’m very eclectic,” says the Columbian-born Fernandez, who has designed all of her own homes, as well as those of many of her friends. “But I’m also an art historian, so the sense of place is very important to me in a home.” As such, the interior decor she developed within the elegant two-story dwelling also extends a respectful nod to its rich historic context.
Situated in the Alfama district of Lisbon in the city’s historic center, the apartment occupies the piano nobile and first floor of what was once the large freestanding home of a noble family. Later converted into six separate apartments, the house was built in the Portuguese Pombaline style, named after Marqués de Pombal, a minister of King Joseph I who took charge of rebuilding Lisbon after a devastating earthquake and fire had destroyed many of its structures in 1755. The apartment brims with original character and natural light, both of which served as the starting points for Fernandez’s design. “It has very high ceilings and two wonderful balconies that overlook an amazing piazza,” she says. “Lisbon is a city with the most beautiful light in Europe.”
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INTERIOR DESIGN BY VICTORIA FERNANDEZ
PRODUCED BY CAROLINA IRVING
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIGUEL FORES-VIANNA
WRITTEN BY JEAN NAYAR
This story appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of MILIEU.