Just because we were away, doesn't mean I didn't check out some of the shopping while away. While I'm not always shopping, or a huge shopper, I'm one to shop in stages, but the Palermo section in Buenos Aires is renown for its artsy ambiance and independent designer boutiques. A trendy neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city, the district has, over the course of the past few years, become the heart of Buenos Aires style for the trendy and fashionista's our front desk concierge told us. One of the best places we went in was El Ateneo Grand.
Loved the columns up top! They looked like men holding up the balcony. But what was so special about this place? It was just a bookshop.....
El Ateneo Grand Splendid is one of the best known bookshops in Buenos Aires. In 2008, The Guardian placed it as the second most beautiful bookshop in the world. The building was designed by the architects Peró and Torres Armengol for the empresario Max Glücksmann , and opened as a theatre called Teatro Gran Splendid in May 1919. Years later the ornate former theatre was leased by Grupo Ilhsa in February 2000, who owns El Ateneo and Yenny booksellers, as well as the El Ateneo publishing house. The building was subsequently renovated and converted into a book and music shop. The cinema seating was removed and in its place book shelves were installed. Following refurbishment works, El Ateneo Grand Splendid became the group's flagship store, and over a million people walk through its doors annually. Why can we not here in America take a note from their book? I love when buildings can be given new life like this. Chairs are provided throughout the building, including the still-intact theatre boxes, where customers can dip into books before purchase, and there is now a café on what was once the stage. The ceiling, the ornate carvings, the crimson stage curtains, the auditorium lighting and many architectural details remain. Despite the changes, the building still retains the feeling of the grand theatre it once was. It was very cool to see.
Another thing I noticed was the good looking men of Buenos Aires and South America....and are great dressers and quite handsome. Like reader Adrino who was kind of enough to show us around for a few days who hails from Brazil and flew in to meet us. We had been emailing for months before. ME OHHH MY.
What was I saying????
Oh yes...handsome men. Sweats and sneakers won't cut it here. I learned that leather is top notch in Buenos Aires.In a city famous for its steaks, you’ll come across many leather shops and, in particular, family-run businesses and tailors who will measure you up and create bespoke leather goods tailored to your precise specs and style. The top five pieces currently for many men must haves were leather jacket, leather shoes, statement shirts, weekend leather bag, and hats of all kinds. I actually took several hats with me though, but I was in the mood for a short sleeve floral shirt, to no avail finding one before leaving on vacation. I did find a shop that had several, and had two fitted for me in a trim fit.I was so happy to find some patterns I liked and they were ready in two days.
Another weakness of mine is home décor shops. I'm a huge whore when it come to home shops. Even though I knew I wouldn't be bringing any large items home, I wanted to check out some. One in particular I loved... the unmissable boutique Wathemala. Located slightly further out the district, the shop is a destination for all things interior-décor, stocking a line of modern household objects with antique twists. Come here and dig through vases, candleholders, and teapots galore.
Whether you’re coming to Buenos Aires for the very first time or are making a return trip to bolster your wardrobe and redecorate your home, plan on devoting at least a day to wander around Palerm. Not to mention all the open air markets. Another difference I noticed between the States and Buenos Aires was there seemed to be not many chains, but mostly locally and family owned business. Very nice.