When it comes to finding unique gifts for your friends and family, Barcelona offers a cornucopia of stylish options that show off the best of Catalan craftsmanship, ingenuity and design. Instead of frequenting the kitschy bazaars along La Rambla, which are all filled with the same mass-produced souvenirs, or large chains such as El Corte Inglés and Zara, shop local this Christmas at these small, independent boutiques throughout the city.
Koetania. Goya 8.
A ‘green’ jewellery store in Gràcia, Koetania has garnered a fine reputation for the integration of eco-friendly elements in its dazzling pieces. Its handmade jewellery follows sustainable practices, recycling disused jewels and gold as well as offering a repair service for damaged jewellery. It also supports Fairmined, a label that assures the practice of responsible jewel extraction using strict traceability controls and mining communities that enforce labor rights. The store opened in 2011 and has since won various local awards including the Catalan National Artisanal Prize in 2015. If you don’t find what you’re looking for in the case, you can mix and match materials and designs to create a personalised item, or craft the perfect gift.
Lydia Delgado. Sèneca 28.
Another sophisticated boutique in the Gràcia neighbourhood, Lydia Delgado is the brainchild of its namesake, the veteran fashion designer whose style has been notably present on catwalks in Barcelona and Madrid for more than 15 years. Delgado has created a brand with an elegant, feminine essence, and proudly displays the fashion line she shares with her daughter, Miranda Makaroff, in the shop on Carrer de Sèneca. Playful sweaters, finely-knit jackets, pleated skirts and sleeveless dresses all hark back to the free expression of the Sixties, while transparent tops and delicate gowns appeal to women who aren’t afraid to make a statement with their wardrobe. The garments are all made in Barcelona and stand out for their luxurious designs, which incorporate painstaking details, such as applied embroidery, and colours carefully coordinated to match the brand image. Delgado’s pieces reflect diverse influences, from architecture and Picasso to Parisian and British styles. Her trips to India and the Caribbean frequently influence her work as well, inspiring even more exotic takes on classic garments.
Ivori. Mirallers 7.
Located in the Born between Carrer Princesa and the imposing Gothic church Santa Maria del Mar, Ivori (the Catalan word for the primary colour of the store) is stocked with exclusively local items. The cosy 19th-century premises have a clean, minimalistic interior and high ceiling lined with wooden beams imported from Cuba. Founder Carola Alexandre offers high-end clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories, including pieces from her own brand, which shares the name of the store and puts quality, originality and attractiveness above all else.
Other brands at Ivori include American-style but Mediterranean-based Rita Row, the 100% organic CUS, designed with recycled materials, and Paloma Wool, a multi-media brand that encompasses day-to-day-clothing, fashion and photography. The selection of jewellery includes Pena Jewels, which originated in Lisbon but is now based in Madrid, and Srta Bolita, whose handcrafted pieces are designed in a small Barcelona studio. Other locally produced accessories include Naguisa shoes, wallets by Sila, Carner perfume, scarves from Shawls and trendy sunglasses from HYPS Eyewear.
Pinza’t. Grunyí 7.
Pinza’t sells hand-painted shoulder bags and backpacks in three different sizes. Founders, and trained sculptors, Samuel Nualart and Dolça Teruel draw inspiration from the New York graffiti scene of the Seventies, presenting a unique motif that references a time when trains and subway stations were often the only canvas available for street artists to develop their voice. Accordingly, the goods sold in their store exhibit incredible imagery painted by local street artists using a dye the duo concocted that never fades. The bags are sturdy and waterproof—they come with double stitching and sealed zips—and feature materials from lorries, such as old seat belts and buckles. The brains behind the shop are also enthusiastic cyclists, and all the bags are adaptable for bike use, boasting pockets just the right size for a bike lock and straps where you can attach lights for night riding.
Galeria Esther Montoriol. Diputació 339.
In what is fast becoming a winter tradition amongst art lovers in Barcelona, Galeria Esther Montoriol will host the 16th edition of DelicARTessen, on until January 19th. This small gallery in the Eixample is dedicated to promoting contemporary art through a careful selection of works by both established and emerging local artists. Its most popular exhibition, DelicARTessen, brings together some 300 works by approximately 90 artists associated with the gallery. The only stipulation is that the art be of a small scale, pieces that visitors can easily buy and take home. All the artwork for sale can be viewed in the online gallery catalogue. This event provides a special opportunity to buy singular gifts for the more cultured in your clan.
Any local products you take home from Barcelona will surely impress those you gift them to, and promise to spread that extra bit of festive cheer.