Barcelona is a shopaholic’s paradise. There are dozens of fashion and design shops, all with that unique Barcelona twist. And if you’re into shoes or bags, this is your town…
My favourite area for shopping is El Born, with its dozens of small, independent shops, artisans and jewellery designers. Just walking around the narrow streets is probably the best way to explore the area, and even though I’m a regular visitor to the area, there is always something new to discover.
This is by no means a comprehensive listing of shops, just some of my personal favourites.
Both Le Swing (Rec 16) and its sister shop Blow (Bonaire 6) offer an impressive selection of vintage designer clothes, accessories and jewellery, all in excellent condition. Both shops are stylish, well-organised, and staffed by very friendly and knowledgeable people.
Blow focuses on big-name designer labels, and it is a veritable treasure trove of fashion. Le Swing also has a selection of vintage designer labels, as well as less-known labels. The real draw, however, is its well-curated selection of vintage costume jewellery, sunglasses, bags and shoes. If you’re interested in more recent designer fashion, say from the 80s up to today, head to Blow; if you’re looking for something from the 30s or the 60s, Le Swing is your destination.
If you are not planning to visit Barcelona any time soon, you can visit their online store here.
LOOKING FOR SOME UNIQUE SOUVENIRS?
Taller Antic (C/ Princesa 14) is every little girl’s dream shop (and some big girls like it, too), with silver and pewter trinket boxes, miniature perfume bottles, compact mirrors, art nouveau and art deco style brooches, necklaces, earrings etc. There is also a nice selection of cufflinks.
Now, how about a miniature perfume bottle pendant? I think I have two of those, picked up during previous visits…
Arlequín Máscaras (Carrer de la Princesa 7) is one of those must-see shops. A whole room full of Venetian style masks… and if you find that you have no use for a decorative mask, how about a brooch in the shape of a mask instead?
Guantería y Complementos Alonso (Santa Ana 27, Barri Gótic)
This old-fashioned little shop is located on a small street between La Rambla and Portal de l’ Ángel, almost directly opposite Hotel Nouvel. It is worth visiting not just because of the fabulous accessories on display, but because it is probably one of the most beautiful shops you have ever seen. The shop is in a modernist building, and both the storefront and the antique display cabinets showcase the decorative motifs and style of the period.
The service you get here is excellent, too: the shop assistant is happy to show you beautiful gloves, evening bags and fans. And if your idea of a fan is the tacky plastic fans in souvenir shops, these hand painted silk fans will make sure that you never enter another tacky souvenir shop again. Just ask to be shown more items, as some of the nicest fans are tucked away in drawers and are only displayed to serious buyers.
But what about the High Street?
Fashion, cladrags and handbags, something a bit less ‘souvenir’ like and more wearable? OK, here we go , Amateur Fashionista’s High Street picks:
trendy, practical, excellent quality and affordable. What more do you want?
EL CORTE INGLÉS (Plaça de Catalunya):
Yes, it’s a department store, so what? If you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, right? Well, it is a department store (a bit like John Lewis in London or Macy’s in New York) that has something for everyone: designer labels next to high street fashion, both costume and fine jewellery, furniture and electronics…
But this department store also caters to men who have, how shall I put this in politically correct terms (read: approved by Professor M)… a bit more generous proportions.
|Gloria Ortiz bags|
CUSTO BARCELONA (just about everywhere, including one shop in El Born and one at the airport):
The must-see shop in Barcelona, with its unique take on trendy, urban streetwear.
UTERQÜE (Portal de l’Angel 15-17, several other locations, too):
Clothes, accessories, bags and shoes; better quality than Zara, only marginally higher prices.
UNO DE 50 (several stores, including La Rambla, El Born, and a concession in El Corte Ingles)
Modern silver jewellery. If chunky rings and necklaces are your style, this is your label.
Oh, and don’t forget chocolate… there are fantastic chocolate shops everywhere, so this is a no-brainer. (You can read more about pastry and chocolate here)
I hope you enjoyed our shopping spree in Barcelona. Next time we should meet for lunch, maybe?