There are various activities in life that I would consider myself holding the title “Semi Professional”, wine drinking, packing and travelling to name a few. However, ask anyone who truly knows me and there’s one pass time that shines above all others on my “Semi Pro” status, where at times, I can even quite possibly cross that line into “Pro.” What would that activity be, you ask? SHOPPING!!!!
After once again spending a little time in one of my favorite cities in the world, Barcelona, I find that the shopping scene there very much mirrors so many aspects of my life. Although I’ve never been considered a two faced person, I definitely am a woman of double facades…trendy / downtown hip and laid back by day and uptown / fast paced chic by night. This juxtaposition is very much what I find with the Barcelona shopping scene and it’s two hottest shopping districts, Avinyo in the Gothic Quarter and Passieg de Gracia in the L’Eixample neighborhood.
When shopping in these two neighborhoods, the first thing to remember is to look the part. They are distinctly different vibes where the incorrect attire could land you with a stolen handbag in the former or a few upturned noses in the latter.
Downtown hipster crossed with backpacker hippie types fill the narrow streets of Avinyo and it’s surroundings. In laymans terms, rock the old school basketball kicks and jeans maybe with a trendy scarf and hat on these cobblestone streets and leave any designer handbag back in your room. This tiny street totaling about 4 blocks in length, between Carrer de Ferran and Carrer Ample is a wealth of indepent label boutiques, unique one offs and a few vintage haunts. In general you’ll find fantastic and affordable clothing and accessories where you’re guaranteed to be the only one wearing them at any event that you attend.
Right around the corner from Avinyo, on C/Escudellers, is one of the oldest restaurants in Barcelona, Los Caracoles, and a great place to go for a bite while in the area. It was here that I met up with friend and London based designer Juliette Caputto of Vivo FelizMente to dine and then hunt for fashion treasures on this narrow Gothic street. She was straight off a stint in Barcelona, where she had come to shoot her current campaign and stayed for a few months afterwards. Here are some finds that we came across on Avinyo not to be missed:
A great selection or urban footwear for men and women as well as a trendy clothing selection in the back.
Address: C/ Avinyo, 19 Phone: 34 933 012 330
Probably the largest boutique along Avinyo with a phenominal denim selection amongst other unique tops and dresses.
Address: C/ Cervantes, 2 (corner of Cervantes and Avinyo) Phone: 34 933 021 173
Where crazy prints meet mod lines in almost every piece in the store.
Address: C/ Avinyo, 46 Phone: 34 932 690 920
An urban male and female joint where you can find anything from unique hats and accessories to cute jackets and dresses, specializing in affordable yet cutting edge Scandinavian designs.
Address: C/ Avinyo, 12 Phone: 34 931 824 519
Another day and another look later, spare no expenses on your appearance when heading over to Passieg de Gracia as it’s quite the place to see and be seen. Amongst the many international luxury fashion and fine jewelry brands that line this district there are a few lesser known brands, that I find to often be a bit more fashion forward than their neighboring siblings. I’ve probably found my past three New Years Eve ensembles in this area, not to mention some of my favorite and most compliment worthy cocktail dresses of recent years. In the Passieg de Gracia shopping district, you’ll certainly find success in coming across that high end / memory creating piece at one of these designer boutiques, and remember, after shopping up an appetite it’s an absolute must to stop at one of the most chic restaurants in this zone, Boca Grande, which is on the tiny pedestrian street, Passatge de Concepcio, between Passieg de Gracia and Rambla Catalunya.
Their unique use of feathers, luxe materials and exotic prints make their flattering designs cutting edge musts for evenings out on the town.
Address:RamblaCatalunya, 89 Phone: 34 934 872 419
Although the label is French, I first fell in love with this designer in Barcelona at their boutique off of Gracia. Chic everyday wear that has uniqueness in the details.
Address: C/ Consell de Cent, 349 Phone: 34 934 881 577
Feminine cutting edge pieces where every seasons collection gathers inspiration from a different strong and creative female icon.
Gracia, 44 Phone: 34 932 726 594
Casual but chic daytime wear that can easily be worn transformed into laid back evening wear with the quick change of accessories. The leather goods from belts to jackets to handbags are not to be missed.
On the worlds scale, Barcelona would be considered a great shopping city, able to compete on the same level as the All Stars of the Fashion world, yet not quite earning the elite reputation, almost, shall I say, “Semi Pro”.