Sunday, November 16, 2008

STYLE GUIDE No1. My Guide to Getting the Good Stuff in Buenos Aires

Note* For those of you have been keeping up with the blog, you know that this is my second attempt at a Where-To-Shop Buenos Aires Guide. On my original visit I had a tragic mishap with my camera's memory card and lost all of my photos, hence the style guide was placed on hold. This time I went back and BA is even more amazing at second glance. My love affair with this place plunged me deeper into the under belly of the city and what I found was a vitalizing spirit that was hard to ignore. In short...I love this place, its infectious energy speaks directly to my heart.

Barrio: San Telmo

If you have read anything that I have written in the past two weeks then you are somewhat familiar with the BA neighborhood, San Telmo. It is home to my favorite market, Mercado de San Pedro Telmo and one of the deepest anchors that ties my heart to this city. Full of life, artisans, and music, Sunday is the best day to experience this area. The excitement of this weekly feria begins around 10am and goes until night fall. For the best route start at Defensa & Av. Belgrano and follow Defensa down until Plaza Dorrego. Lined with street artisans and vintage dealers these cobbled streets are also the entrances to grand paseos that are filled with antique and vintage stalls. It is almost like a new world is hidden inside every corner that you turn. A few new and second-hand stores that are also on this path are definitely worth checking out. Make sure that you visit the actual Mercado de San Telmo, a grand indoor market located on Bolivar & Carlos Calvo. Filled with everything from meats and vegetables to expensive jewelry, this market is nothing short of overwhelming. Because the indoor market is open daily, I recommend revisiting during the week to really get a closer look at the stalls (on week days stalls open in the late afternoon).
*See and read more about my San Telmo finds at my flea market blog NiLeAP FLeA

A few addresses of surrounding shops that are a must see:
El Rufián Melancólico ♥
Bolivar 857

A dramatically exciting used bookstore complete with life-size ghouls, goblins, and characters of all sorts. Piled high with stacks, heaps, and rows of old books, vintage records, post cards, movie posters and even some risqué media, this shop is worth checking out. The shopkeepers are pleasant and quite charming. They will even put on some bossa nova and twirl around the store with you...if you are lucky.

Sistema "Luis" ♥♥
Carlos Calvo 487

This man is a shoe legend who has been fabricating shoes and boots for as long as he can remember. He is quite a character and his shoes are equally as interesting. Do not be fooled by the dusty shoes that line the shelves and window as this gem can easily be missed. Normally it takes about 15 days to complete so try to visit him early on in your trip. He also keeps very weird hours. Monday through Saturday, he opens from 7am-1:30pm. He then goes home to lunch and nap and returns from 4pm to 9pm. On Sundays he is open from 10am to 2pm.

La Fundemental Sombreros ♥♥
Dr. J. M. Guiffra 370

Handmade hats from every era. Toppers, bowlers, fedoras, feathered discs, and much much more. Some are made to order and others you can take right off the rack. The owner has a weekly stall outside in Plaza Dorrego on Sundays but he definitely saves his best inventory for his shop. I found a amazing velvet number that I will put on ice until warranted by the proper event...New Years perhaps.

Silvia Papagno ♥♥♥
Defensa 950-Local 89

One of the nicest vendors that I ever encountered, Silva Papagno was one of my favorite stalls in the entire market. I ended up revisiting her during the week because I was too overwhelmed by the time I arrived to her booth on Sunday. She has rows of little knick-nacs, jewelry, and handbags. I visited her booth a total of three times before I was finally able to see everything and make a decision. The score.. A large leather handbag, filigree silver bow tie pin, two pairs of earrings and a brooch. I love them all!

El Buen Orden ♥♥♥
Defensa 894

A indescribable vintage utophia...impeccabbly done. You have to see this one for yourself!

Antiquedades (Pablo) ♥
Bolivar 929
Mainly antiques with a splash of clothes. He has tons of vintage cameras, glassware, and curios filled with old jewelry that are fun to dig through. Surprisingly this is the only place that I purchased vintage clothing from. Crammed in a suitcase that was hidden in a corner, five pesos for all clothing in the case....score!

Barrio: Palermo

Any proper shopping guide to Buenos Aires will tell you to make a stop in Palermo where people come to see and be seen. Slightly cheesy, it reminds me a bit of Florida South Beach style shopping but there are a few shops that are definitely a cut above the rest.

A Y Not Dead ♥
Soler 4193

With a "NY East Village-esque" vibe, this is were the young rich and spoiled crowd comes to get a slice of punk and euro-trash. The sales kids are all up on the latest music and club scene (techno is huge here). They all wear brightly colored sneakers and tight jeans. It was like a scene out of a movie to watch the girl behind the counter smack her gum and twirl her hair with a image of Vincent Gallo screen printed on her tee... I absolutely loved it! $200 pesos later I was outta there with a black deep-v frock that I almost stopped traffic in when I wore it in NY.

Mishka ♥♥♥
El Salvador 4673 y Armenia

These shoes here are really special. The fabrics and the cuts are extremely feminine and oh so enticing. It is hard to leave with just one pair. Some styles come in both a high heel and a lower version...these people really know what they are doing!

Vickiotero ♥♥
El Salvador 4719

Be careful not to blink or you may miss this tiny little sliver of a boutique. Small and clean, this boutique is packed with looks that are smart and sharp. If there is any type of Swedish community in Buenos Aires, this is their place. A little on the expensive side the pieces are well tailored and timeless. Consider it an investment.

Lara Bernasconi ♥
Malabia 1753

A lovely selection of shoes and handbags. This shop is a bit of work to enter as you must climb a steep flight of stairs, ring a buzzer, and wait to let in, only to climb another flight of stairs into the shop. Whew! I am not sure if the shoes or the flight that was breathtaking but I was surprised at the selection of delicacies that filled the showroom floor. Definitely worth the trip. Certain styles can be ordered to make if the shop if out of stock.

Sabater Hermanos♥♥♥♥
Gurruchaga 1821

A friend turned me on to this store before I left for my first visit to BA. Its like a brightly colored candy store filled with flavored soaps all made on the premises. On my first visit I bought about 6 bars just to test it out. This time I lost count of how many bars I had to jam into my suitcase, several for me and a couple for mom. The soaps come in fun little shapes and confetti style as well. They do not have a online store set up but maybe I can email when I run out...fingers crossed.

Barrio: Recoletta

I must admit that I did not spend much time in this area. I stopped in a few shops as I was passing through and quickly picked up on a Rodeo Drive sort of vibe. This is typically not my scene as I tend to be a little less frilly with my shopping. I was however tempted by a few stores that really had great things to offer. Here are a few addresses if you are ever feeling a little "Julia Roberts" in Pretty Woman and want to see what is on this side of town.

Josefina Ferroni
Armenia 1471

A fun collection of exotic shoes that a stunning and wearable all at once. It is the perfect mix of function meets outer space. The prices are as expected in this neighborhood but the quality completely warrants it.

Walton & Walton
Arenales 1409
Stuffy as hell and the clothing was not much to look at but they had a bag in there that was to die for. But that was about it. If you a passing by maybe it will still be there or an even better one. Definitely not worth making a special trip for.

Sofi Martire
Uruguay 1250
They actually stock some very nice shoes but the presentation is disappointing and takes away from the quality. If you approach this store with this in mind then you can really identify some great peices. Take a deep breath and cleanse your mental style palette before entering.

Barrio: Plaza de Mayo & Neighboring areas

Paseo de La Resistencia ♥♥♥♥♥
Av. de Mayo 649

This place is particularly close to my heart for so many reasons and is another thing that ties my heart to Buenos Aires. In terms of shopping I think that it offers some of the most amazing crafts that I have ever seen. All hand made by the local artists within the space, the craftsmanship is impeccable and prices are reasonable considering the amount of work that goes into this art. The artists here love what they do and survive on this skill. I do not recommend leaving BA without visiting this paseo.
I also want to mention that this is the place that finally after two years of searching for the perfect leather bag black bag, I finally found it here. Artist, Soledad Ferreyra handcrafted this tooled leather bag to my specifications. Three days later I had this beautiful bag that quickly became my staple winter piece. This bag is dark and romantic and a total representation of how I feel at this moment. Soledad Ferreyra can be reached at

Argentinan Shoes♥♥
Av. Corrientes 805
Colorful, amazing, leather shoes. It can seem a little "Golden Girls" in the beginning...but give it a second look. I left with two pairs.

Arandu ♥♥♥
Paraguay 1259
Totally ranch style, this authentic riding store stocks boots and classic ranch wear on all three floors. The prices are super high but the quality is topnotch. I got a pair of riding boots that fit my calf like a dream. These boots are timeless and I will love them forever.

El Talero♥
Florida 362 -Local 14
In the same vein as Arandu, this gaucho style shop stocks authentic accessories with hardware details that are stunning. The belts are my favorite thing in this shop.

Gloria the best♥♥♥
Getting a manicure and a pedicure in this tiny beauty shop is an all day affair..especially if you ask for Carmen. Its like I took a time machine back to the 80's and ended up at this shop. Recommended to me by an frequent BA visitor, this was my most relaxing manicure ever. Not to be rushed this woman takes her time and does it old school style. Note* If you would like more than three colors of Revlon polish (circa 1980) to choose from then I suggest bringing your own. 30 pesos for a mani & pedi.

1 comment:

Lactose Intoler-Art said...

Hey! I enjoyed skimming your blog...I found it from . This makes me want to visit there...I love old flea markets that are actually cool. seem real cool...good luck with the line! Check out my blog or myspace sometime..I'm a graphic design student but I mainly do illustrations inspired by Tokyo street fashion.

Keep it Dairy free! -Brandon from Lactose Intoler-Art