Borgo De Nor Founders Carmen Borgonovo and Joana de Noronha’s Guides to Their Home Countries of Portugal and El Salvador

By Shayna Seid

Soon after Carmen Borgonovo, a former Vogue fashion editor, and Joana de Noronha, who worked in sales for Diane von Furstenberg, met in London at a dinner party, they began collaborating creatively and saw a niche in the market for joyous print dresses—referred to as “dream dresses.” In 2017, their eponymous fashion womenswear label, Borgo de Nor, was born—and the latest collection is now available on Over The Moon!

“We have a mutual desire for feel-good dresses reminiscent of our eclectic backgrounds,” Borgonovo shares. “I am a native of El Salvador, grew up in Miami, started my career in New York, and have been based in London since 2006.” Joana grew up in Portugal and lived in New York and Rio de Janeiro prior to settling across the pond. “We are inspired by artists such as Leonora Carrington and Frida Kahlo, who expressed their creativity and wild spirit through their powerful art and looked at the surrealist movement in particular for print inspiration.” The pair particularly hold onto Kahlo’s quote: “I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to better.”

“When we design, our backgrounds naturally inspire us—our love of being in nature, under the sun, and feeling carefree is inherent to how we both grew up,” Borgonovo explains. “Borgo de Nor transcends dress codes and destinations by redefining art-inspired glamour, bringing a sense of joyfulness into wardrobes all year round. The brand combines bold hues and whimsical prints with a poetic lyricism offered in an array of versatile and vibrant silhouettes.” To celebrate this free-spirited ethos, we’re sharing the founders’ guides to their favorite spots in their home countries:

de Noronha sets the table in Portugal.

When To Go

Portugal is best visited from May to July or September to November, when the weather is more guaranteed to be warm. “Portugal is very relaxed but has become more popular and international in the past few years,” de Noronha says. “Lisbon still has the flair of a Southern city, with lots of little ceramic and tile shops that I could spend hours in.”

If you’re looking into booking a trip to El Salvador, aim for the dry season from around December to March, when the weather is nice and the chance of downpours is lower. “It’s never too hot, and for me that period during the year is a tropical paradise,” Borgonovo shares.

Where To Stay

Traveling to Lisbon, check in to The Ivens, Autograph Collection—home to the first luxury warehouse in the city in the nineteenth century. The entrance was mapped to resemble the journey of Ivens and Capelo, two famous Portuguese explorers. That’s not de Noronha’s only rec, she also likes Valverde Hotel, which is reminiscent of New York and London townhouses, if you’re missing home. Hotel das Amoreiras is also a gem in Lisbon’s exclusive garden square, Jardim das Amoreiras.

de Noronha enjoys a day under the Portuguese sun.

“I also love Quinta da Comporta,” de Noronha say of the wellness boutique resort in Comporta’s nature reserve—about an hour-and-a-half outside of Lisbon by car. “The service is great, and the pools are the place to be in the summer.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Hilliary (@hilliaryb)

Also just a little more than an hour away from Lisbon to Melides, you can stay at Christian Louboutin’s first-ever hotel, Vermelho. “It is a unique experience with the frescoes, art collections, and antique furniture all bursting with stories waiting to be told to guests,” de Noronha shares. 

In Chiltiupan, El Salvador, Borgonovo recommends staying at Puro Surf Hotel. Take advantage of their inclusive packages that range from yoga, relaxation, surfing, and more. If you want something more exclusive, rent a beautiful private home in Xanadu on a private beach. One of Borgonovo’s favorites is called Las Mañanitas—it features four bedrooms and overlooks the Pacific Ocean with great sunrise views.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Rocco (

Where To Eat

In Lisbon, de Noronha recommends all the José de Avillez restaurants; he is the first Portuguese chef to be awarded two Michelin stars for Belcanto, which is also number 25 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. For those looking for something new and off the beaten path, the co-founder directs us to Palácio do Grilo, a restaurant in the middle of a theater, where every member of the staff is an actor or performer, ready to surprise you. “I also love Sea Me, Pap’Açôrda, Rocco, Taberna do Calhau, Taberna das Flores, Praia no Parque—there are so many great options,” the co-founder shares.

If you’re looking for fresh seafood and “the best ceviche,” Borgonovo points us in the direction of Beto’s in Tamanique, El Salvador. The views of the deep blue waters do not disappoint. In the capital of San Salvador, Borgonovo loves the taste of Italy at Il Bongustaio. And you can’t leave without trying a pupusa, the national dish of El Savador. It’s a delicious tortilla stuffed with either cheese, pork, or beans and served with spicy coleslaw and can be found on practically every street corner.

What To Do

Going on a romantic getaway? We got you! Walking in the oldest, most traditional neighborhood in Lisbon, Alfama, is where de Noronha will be. “It is also worth visiting Castelo de São Jorge for panoramic views of the city,” she shares.

Borgonovo in the Phoenix crepe midi dress on a beach in La Libertad.

Borgonovo says there’s nothing more beautiful than watching the sunrise or sunset by the water. The beaches in La Libertad or Playa Costa del Sol are spectacular. If you’re into surfing, Borgonovo suggests a trip to Surf City on the Pacific Coast—suitable for beginners or pros. And if you’re more inland, Borgonovo recommends Lake Coatepeque in western El Salvador. “You can also hike up the Volcano de Santa Ana for the most spectacular views and visit lovely colonial towns such as Ataco and Suchitoto,” she shares.

What To Pack

“The style in both El Salvador and Portugal is generally relaxed, comfortable, and effortless,” Borgonovo says. “In the summer, I can’t get enough of our free-flowing, colorful dresses. They are an instant mood changer and a vibrant print always makes me happy.”

“I personally wear our dresses with knits and boots in the winter and with flat sandals in the summer,” de Noronha. “I love our pajamas too, which I wear all year round either for a dressier look with heels or with trainers during the day.”

Shop Borgo de Nor on Over The Moon!