It so happens that Barcelona has become a place of harmonious cohabitation between various nationalities, who, like it or not, leave their unique mark on its cultural and day-to-day landscape. Your City invites you to go window-shopping around some of the establishments opened by foreigners
Tags with hens and roosters not only show the price of things, but also hint at the real “avian” surname of Franca Ramia Galla. This fragile-looking, energetic and inspiring Italian with her extravagant clothes and short haircut makes one think of Coco Chanel. Just like the famous French designer, she also wants to change the established perception of female beauty and style. She finds open-minded Barcelona an appropriate spot, because at home people used to throw sidelong glances at her. Her interest in high-quality materials was cultivated during childhood by her mother. After learning to sew, she even invented her own unique style of tailoring. So all the clothing and textiles displayed in the shop are handmade by the owner of Blau Trama. For example, the asymmetric, electric-coloured Cinderella dress, which promises its buyer a magical transformation for the price of one hundred euros. Franca has big plans: recently she has started dying her fabrics manually and is already planning to grow plants from which to make fabrics at home. A couple of spinning wheels at the back suggest that this winter Barcelonians can expect warm surprises from Franca.
Where: Mare de Deu del Pilar, 11, metro Urquinaona / frankaramia.tumblr.com
The Russian origin of the shop’s name (translator’s note — Babochka means “butterfly” in Russian) helps us guess where Elena Yerina comes from. Although, personally, she finds the aspects of transformation and rebirth more important. The thing is that in Babochka everything is for sale. Even the divan, where Freud’s patients could once have remembered their childhood dreams, and which now serves as a display for vintage swimsuits. The former Siberian truly believes that things have a right to a second chance. She was encouraged to start her own business by the disappointment she felt at the assortment of Eixample boutiques. If she can get hold of the prototypes of famous brand products, she changes them according to her own taste or her clients’ desires. This is how they become exclusive. Elena defines her project as a “thrift store” (a shop where vintage, secondhand and designer cloths go together). That is why Babochka’s display, for instance, combines Musa Bamba bag-backpacks for 89 euros (literally unique, they are made of patches of fabric found in textile factories in Brazil) and a real vintage treasure — a dressing gown, purchased after the liquidation of an underwear store, for fifty euros. By the way, if you feel inspired by this story and want to give a second chance to a dress you bought on an impulse or you have an idea for something new, you are welcome to come by the workshop located right there, in the shop.
Where: Roger de Flor, 142, metro Tetuan / 699 28 43 03
The name sounds German, but the approach to fashion selection and people is truly cosmopolitan. This is an artspace that combines a fashion shop, a modern art gallery, a bar, café and restaurant and that is absolutely eclectic. The 400 sq.m. used to be occupied by a furniture shop and a parking lot. The French owners of Wer-Haus have clearly put great effort into giving this space a new life. Passing through the gourmet zone, we reach the area with shelves and hangers, in which we are especially interested for this column. Impeccably white walls with stone above, endless ceilings, direct sunlight — all of this creates a sense of being in a temple. This one is a temple of male fashion. One of the local cult objects is an avant-garde Raf Simons cloak: an asymmetric chequered pattern stands out boldly on white fabric. Sure to produce equal reverence in fashion maniacs are the minimalistic sweatshirts with a Gosha Rubchinskiy tag made by a successful young Russian designer who has managed to catch the pulse of youth subcultures. The Wer-Haus fashion pantheon also includes such brands as Marius Petrus, Lemaire and Etudes Studio. Becoming a follower of high fashion is not an easily affordable endeavour: some of the items are priced as high as a 1,000 euros.
Where: Arago, 287, metro Passeig de Gracia / wer-haus.com
A black sleeveless Tapera dress where a fanciful elephant made of exotic plants and flowers covers the bodice and the skirt is hemmed with fern leaves is one of the most minimalistic things on the shelves of Smash. Once this brand specialised in unisex streetwear. Having moved on from adolescence it is now associated with incredibly feminine skirts, dresses and accessories. Bright colours and plenty of tropical flora clearly hint at the native land of Luisa Diabert (head designer of Smash) — Brazil. Her team has already had a chance to work in Amsterdam, Martinique and Ibiza. Their goal is to create beautiful clothes for people who are not afraid to express their individuality. And not to ruin them in the process. Their average prices oscillate between 40 and 70 euros. If you are looking for something for the Indian summer which in Barcelona lasts for almost all of autumn, have a look at the long Tomasa dress from the Summer Symmetry collection: its delicate colours would add a note of softness even to the most independent-minded of beauties. Those of you who are wary of fashion prints could join the cheerful Smash style by buying a pair of traditional Menorcan sandals or a designer bag.
Where: Gran de Gracia, 144, metro Fontana / www.smashwear.com