I just got back from a week long vacation to Buenos Aires, a city I've dreamed of visiting for years. While I went with the normal tourist's expectations of drinking many fine Malbecs, eating unending platters of red meat, and squeezing in some time for a football game and a tango lesson in between (all of which I accomplished), I was not sure what to expect in terms of Argentine fashion. Aside from a recent stint as one of Opening Ceremony's featured countries, most of Argentina's independent fashion designers are still relatively off the radar. Most of my friends who had visited before me warned that there wasn't much to shop for, but I'm an insatiable hunter, and after some intense google research, I found a small, but incredibly satisfying selection of independent designers and boutiques scattered around the city. Here are a list of my favorites.
Panorama Republica de la India 2905
Panorama is the best one stop shop for all of Buenos Aires's young and independent designers. The store is run by Maria Lee, who consulted Opening Ceremony on the launch of their Argentine collection, and by Paula Selby Avellaneda of the magical line House of Matching Colors. The girls really know how to make you feel right at home; when I asked to see more items from House of Matching Colors, I was invited up to Paula's apartment above the shop to try on more clothes. I also happened to be around for their grand opening party, which was such an occasion that the cops actually shut down their entire street, and the pavements were scattered with gold glitter. You can really appreciate their dedication and passion, and I was introduced to some fantastic designers I've never heard of before, including Vanesa Krongold, THEM, Talitha, and Sagrada.
Blackmamba Soler 4502
Argentina is known the world over for its fine leather goods, and although the selection of leather products is plentiful, most designs sit on the more traditional end of the spectrum. Blackmamba, a line that is sadly not sold in the U.S., specializes in taking advantage of all the luxurious skins at hand and transforming them into everything from shearling capes to fingerless gloves and tight-fitting gilets, all at relatively affordable prices. A few minutes in the store will be enough to convince you that you should be wearing leather all the time, perhaps head to toe. I ended up walking out with a backless croc-embossed black leather tee and some basic black leather shorts.
This tiny design store has a little of everything: jewelry and accessories from labels like Bellabas, a small selection of leather jackets and clothing from local brands like Domo and Bully, furniture and objects for every gift occasion, and a large library of art and design books.
Eat me! Defensa 1066, Local 12 , San Telmo
Hidden in an arcade off the street in San Telmo, this tiny store has a wild collection of laser printed leggings, dresses and sweatshirts adorned with irresistible motifs, like dinosaurs, pizza, and LOLCATS. Seriously silly stuff, but I had to have the leggings adorned with donuts of every imaginable color and variety.
San Telmo Market
The sprawling Sunday antique and flea market that overtakes Plaza Dorrego and the streets surrounding it is a must. Comparable to Les Puces in Paris, the San Telmo market is much larger and more expansive than our humble Brooklyn Flea in New York, and is the best place to go in Buenos Aires if you're searching for vintage, bric-a-brac, local handy crafts, a free tango show from street buskers, or just a good deal.
Other shops of note:
Fire Walk With Me Arce 941
Them Malabia 1924
Pesqueira Gurruchaga 1750