Pure Picks: Maria Saias

The founder and creative director of Portuguese seaside concept store Côté Sud talks with Purist about resort living and a pop-up coming to Southampton at the Ornare Showroom on July 26-29.


“Bringing a touch of European seaside style to the Hamptons, Comporta lifestyle is utterly private, understated and yet incredibly sophisticated. The untouched endless coastline is the source of inspiration, perfectly translated at Côté Sud,” says Maria Saias, Photo courtesy of Maria Saias

PURIST: How long have you had your boutiques in Quinta do Lago and Comporta, Portugal?

Maria Saias: Our first boutique opened its doors in the spring of 1999 in Quinta do Lago, following many trips to Rio and becoming a true admirer of the beautiful catwalks that were Ipanema beaches in the ’80s, with Lenny Niemeyer bikinis and cover-ups. Ten years later, in the summer of 2010, the Comporta store opened as a spot for friends, their guests and the very few connoisseurs that spent summer weeks in the estate. This year will be the very first we’re open all year round.

Do you find synergies between the resort vibe of Europe and the Hamptons?

MS: Although European resorts can be pretty diverse, there is a harmony between the Hamptons and such European destinations: a casual, understated elegance or quiet sophistication, which I find incredibly charming and always a source of inspiration.

What kind of products do you sell in Portugal, and what will you bring to Southampton at the end of July?

MS: Although we mainly focus on beach and resort wear, a curated selection of products from all over the world complements our offerings—ranging from eyewear to accessories, jewelry, perfumes, home scents, beauty products and more. For the pop-up, we are trying to bring an assortment of products and styles that one cannot find in the Hamptons and a little accent of Portugal.

As a woman in business, what advice would you give your younger self?

MS: As a businesswomen now, to my younger self I would not follow the advice, as I would do it exactly the same all over again…family first!

Since you travel often, what are the must-haves that you pack for a summer getaway?

MS: My travel essentials for a summer destination always include plenty of linen and cotton pieces such as djellabas from Ambas Italy, caftans from Pippa Holt, poplin shirts from Giuliva Heritage, a blazer from Giuliva Heritage to wear over a summer dress from Thierry Colson, flat Hermès sandals, ballet flats from Manolo Blahnik, extra-large cashmere shawls from Hermès, a merino wool poncho from Wehve, a pair of big earrings from Pippa Small, and a statement necklace from Lilo Benecke to elevate any dress to a more formal look. Must not forget a cozy cashmere jumper from Loro Piana!

What are your favorite summer destinations?

MS: Living in the south of Europe in Quinta do Lago, within walking distance from the beach and at the edge of a natural reserve lagoon, Ria Formosa Nature Park, that stretches for over 25 miles along the Atlantic Coast, summer destinations tend to be planned in the opposite direction, and often include a city escape or a quiet destination away from the summer crowds. St. Moritz, located in the Engadin Valley in the Swiss Alps, is a wonderful option for unwinding and relaxing. The amazing scenery of the valley, starting with the Glacier Express railway trip, to the breathtaking views of the lakes laying 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) above sea level, combined with plenty of palaces, galleries and state-of-the-art spas, make it a dream summer route. You can end your trip in Northern Italy close to the Alps, Lombardia, and its lakes: Lago Como and Lago Maggiore. Only one downside: One cannot travel light!  IG @cotesudquintadolago

“From our beloved Brazil, Lapima Eyewear is the essence of attitude and luxury, with frames sculpted by hand and available in the most beautiful array of hues and shapes.” Carlota amber gradient sunglasses, $541, lapima.com


“There is nothing quite like adding a statement piece to a simple white linen caftan, or a crisp white poplin shirt for a summer party look.” Ebony wood and sterling silver choker, $1,500, lilobenecke.com
“Our love for the tropics, wicker and the Bossa Nova Nation is well represented in our selection each season. Here we have the cutest wicker handbag, The Tucano.” Tina Toucan wicker cross-body bag, $195, neimanmarcus.com
“For a jet-setting lifestyle, the limited-edition caftans from Pippa Holt are holiday heroes and collector’s pieces. I love every single piece and wear them all season round, with or without a belt, day or evening, as a statement piece at a party.” Kaftan No.333, $822, pippaholt.com
“K. Jacques, artisan creator of beauty: the traditional craftsmanship and curated design are a perfect balance between simplicity and refinement.” Zenobie sandal, $223, available online
“Nature is our main source of inspiration, and Carthusia evokes all there is to seaside life: simplicity, elegance and sobriety, all elements of the island of Capri.” Fiori di Capri Eau de parfum, $97, carthusia.it
“A collection of pure, luxurious hand-loomed organic cotton gauze. The understated, elegant feel of each piece translates into the perfect swimwear cover-up, whether at the beach, boat or simply at home around the pool.” Djellaba Sonoko, $188, ambas.it