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When it comes to culture, Barcelona might seem to have all bases covered. The city is home to an artistic scene that draws visitors from all over the world; it hosts two of Europe’s biggest music festivals (SONAR and Primavera Sound) each year and has a food scene that is ever evolving. Yet fashion doesn’t quite fit into the picture. Shopping is hit and miss in the city and one local brand in particular (no names mentioned… *ahem* Desigual) flogs a fairly constant uniform of hemp trousers, graffitied jackets and beanie hats.
Blanca Miró Scrimieri is one of the few people who have broken the mould. A stylist, blogger and fashion consultant, she was studying marketing and communication in London when she first started working with international brands. Today she is rarely seen without a pair of oversized sunglasses and has forged partnerships with Linda Farrow, Anya Hindmarch and Gucci (check out her Instagram for the latest on all three).
“I think we are very old fashioned,” says Blanca, explaining her views on the fashion industry in Spain. “We have the producers, all the materials and the production but it doesn’t seem to translate into collections… they’re just not very risky.”
Although Blanca doesn’t have much hope for Spanish fashion, she does count Loewe, Maria Escoté and Delpozo as exciting Spanish brands that she admires. She is currently working on her own luxury line of blazers made in a range of different materials too. And while Barcelona might not be a fashion capital, you won’t see her moving anytime soon. “I love living in Barcelona,” says Blanca, “you don’t get the same quality of life in London, Paris or New York. That’s why I choose to live here and travel as much of possible for work.”
Here Blanca gives SUITCASE her guide to doing Barcelona in style…
In the former headquarters of the city’s cotton guild, neoclassic style meets colonial gentlemen’s club suave. As the name suggests, expect only the finest linens. Come sundown, visit its verdant terrace.
This sun-washed, design-led 1869 mansion in Dreta de l’Eixample pays homage to the real Barcelona, showcasing local talent across its in-house shop, restaurants, juice bar, coffee roaster and book store.
A stone’s throw from Plaça Catalunya, this 91-room boutique hotel is a design lover’s dream. From the Sicilian front desk to its Oriental-style communal areas and buzzing rooftop bar, you’ll find an arty crowd.
This nine-room hotel is every bit as cool as its eponymous Wes Anderson character, Margot Tenenbaum. With airy living areas, kitchen and honesty bar, it’s like a (very stylish) home on Passeig de Gràcia.
Loved by young foodies, this taverna-style restaurant serves Mediterranean sharing plates in an eclectic setting. Can Cisa, it’s bodega-style wine bar sibling, offers over 300 organic, biodynamic varieties.
Using only the most fresh, quality ingredients, Lio de 4 puts a modern spin on classic Mediterranean cuisine. Look out for oyster ceviche, cod fritters with molasses and chai spiced crema Catalana.
Discover authentic Creole cuisine in El Born. Here you can wash down traditional Cuban dishes such as ropa vieja, tostones, and congrí with some equally exotic cocktails.
A tapas bar, but not as you know it. With boundary-stretching bite-sized plates such as manchego airbags, avocado and crab cannelloni and pickled foie gras, it’s an eccentric foodie’s playground.
This gastrobar achieves high-end food without stuffy high-end formality. Catalan dishes are given cosmopolitan twists from lobster ravioli and seaweed tempura to Cantonese-style suckling pig terrine.
El Laberinto de Horta
Dating back to the 18th century, this neoclassical garden is Barcelona’s oldest of its kind. It’s centrepiece is a 750 metre maze of neatly trimmed cypress trees with a statue of Eros at the centre.
Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera
Named after the great Mallorcan poet Miquel Costa i Llobera, this six-hectare garden across the Montjuïc hillside specialises in native tropical and desert plants including over 800 species of cacti.
Formerly a factory on in Sant Just Desvern, today this minimalist, concrete home and studio of architect Richard Bofill is world-famous among design buffs.
This old warehouse in the city centre displays contemporary art, architecture and 20th-century design from established and emerging artists such as Iván Franco Fraga and Júlia Mariscal.
In the trendy area of El Born, this vintage-clothing boutique is full of quality and often rare vintage attire from across the 20th century. Like this? Visit nearby sister store Blow.
This vintage megastore is a one-stop-shop for all your second hand needs from leather jackets to denim cut offs and summer dresses. And, if there’s space in your suitcase, it stocks retro furniture too.
This luxury-label store on Passeig de Gràcia has been dressing well-heeled Barcelonins since 1843, with brands such as Chanel, Céline, Tom Ford and Acne. Take a break at the top-floor cafe.
This distinctive concept store gives shopping an unconventional spin with its commitment to bold, inspirational style. Expect restored furniture rubbing shoulders luxe labels, books, jewellery and tech.
With over 20 years in the business, this cosy yet chic eyewear specialist offers frames from established brands such as Linda Farrow to cutting-edge designers including Face à Face and Mykita.
What began as a humanities specialist in 1996 is today a benchmark bookshop for readers, authors and publishers with titles spanning from anthropology to art. There’s a selection of foreign-language books.
This iconic bar in Eixample is a shrine to its famous namesake cocktail, with martini-related artwork and hundreds of twists on the classic drink. It’s a regular on the World’s 50 Best Bars chart.
This restaurant’s rich green walls and palm-shaped mirrors transport diners back to Barcelona’s glitziest age. It’s the perfect place to while away the evening with friends serenaded by live piano.
This metro-tiled, dimly lit venue is a favourite among Barcelona’s cool, cosmopolitan crowd. Prices are high as is the old-world glamour. Don’t miss the bathroom complete with a photo booth and DJ station.
This charmingly secret cocktail bar has been ranked among Europe’s finest. Built into a small apartment next door to Bar Mut, it’s like stumbling upon a very glamorous, very exclusive speakeasy.
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