Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Madrid Fashion & Shopping Guide

I’ve always wanted to do a post on fashion shopping in Madrid and what better time to do it than now, when practically the whole town is painted in ‘REBAJAS’ red! So once again, the post-Christmas sale hits town even before the festive decorations are all taken down.

Rebajas means Reductions in Spanish and it usually appears as huge, red and “in your face” text splashed across every shop front typically twice a year, during January to March (oh yes, most girls magically have a stash of cash reserved for this even though we’re supposed to be broke after Christmas) and again in July to September (hallelujah!).

Shopping in Madrid city is varied and can be really interesting, if you know where to look. Although Madrid is not necessarily the Fashion Capital of the World nor does every girl in the city trot the streets in Jimmy Choos & Ferragamos, one can still be spoilt for choice when it comes to fashion shopping here. (After all, Victoria Beckham used to live here. You can’t expect anything less than a shopping mecca right?)

Here's my guide to shopping in Madrid:

1) High-end fashion boutiques, luxury watches & jewellery shops

These are located in the Salamanca District, mostly concentrated on streets like José Ortega y Gasset and Serrano.

You can probably find any leading international brands you can think of here in Madrid, for example:
Bally, BCBG Max Azria, Bottega Veneta, Bulgari, Burberry, Carolina Herrera, Cartier, Chanel, Christian Dior, Diane Von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Hermes, Hugo Boss, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jimmy Choo, Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Max Mara, Missoni, Miu Miu, Panerai, Pomellato, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Shanghai Tang, Stuart Weitzman, Tiffany & Co., Versace, YSL.

Some of the world-famous home grown Spanish brands and designers include: Adolfo Domínguez, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Alma Aguilar, Amaya Arzuaga, Balenciaga, Custo, Hoss Intropia, Loewe, Manolo Blahnik, Pedro García, Pura López, Purificación García, Suárez and Tous.

2) Trendy & affordable fashion chain stores (clothing & lingerie, accessories, bags and shoes)

There are plenty of Spanish and foreign chain stores which you can easily find almost anywhere in the city, for example in the Salamanca District such as Goya, Velázquez & Claudio Coello, and the Centro area like Puerta Del Sol, Gran Vía, Preciados and Princesa.

This market is undoubtedly largely dominated by the two main Spanish fashion apparel empires: The Inditex Group, which owns brands such as
Zara, Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho, Zara Home and Uterqüe, and The Cortefiel Group who is responsible for brands like Cortefiel, Springfield, Pedro del Hierro and Women’s Secret.

Other popular Spanish chain stores include: Blanco, Bimba y Lola, Camper, Dayaday, Desigual, Fosco, Fun & Basics, Hakei, Hazel, Kukusumusu, Mango, Musgo, Sfera, Salvador Bachiller, etc.

You can also find many other foreign brands such as Benetton, Diesel, Etam, G-Star, Guess, H&M, Pepe Jeans, Topshop, etc.

3) Stylish, one of a kind type or vintage boutiques

There are lots of small, one-off type boutiques that stock really cool and nice stuff. If it drives you nuts to spot someone across the street wearing what you just bought, keep your eyes and options open to small shops along streets like Claudio Coello, Jorge Juan & Villanueva in the Salamanca district.

Also, in the Malasaña, Tribunal and Chueca areas, check out the small streets around Fuencarral, Almirante and Conde de Xiquena for cool, unique or vintage finds. Augusto Figueroa is known as the ‘Shoes Street’, some of which are discount stores.

4) Discounted, past season fashion finds

Check out
Lefties on Gran Vía, a chain store owned by The Inditex Group which basically sells old stocks of some of the group’s brands at a discounted rate. There’s also a Mango Outlet in the city and it's at Fuencarral. The other bigger discount outlets are located outside the city. Go to Factory or Las Rozas Village.

5) Department Stores

The only department store in Madrid (and all of Spain actually) is the omnipresent
El Corte Inglés. They stock everything that you would expect to find in a typical department store and is a good place to go to even if it’s only for convenience as they’re everywhere in the city!

Alternatively, there’s also
ABC Serrano Centro Comercial, a pretty decent 3 storey mall located on Serrano. It houses mostly fashion boutiques, some services, cafes and restaurants.

For books, music and movies, check out FNAC at Callao.
There are a lot more content on this topic, but if I were to go on, this post might just become a guide book. So I’ll add more to this gradually or when I come across anything interesting.

Finally, here's a tip for you shopaholics in Spain. In case you’re wondering how to fit all your new purchases into your ever expanding wardrobe, why not clear out your old stuff and donate them to charitable organisations such as
Humana España. Find out more about them here.

Enough talk. Happy Shopping!!!

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