“Attractive, multi-faceted, cultural”. This is how illustrator and guest editor Carolina Altavilla describes her home city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. As one of the Latin America’s largest cities, the bustling cosmopolitan has quickly become known as the national centre for politics, culture and technology. Thus, it has rightly become a source of inspiration for the local creative and continues to draw in people from around the globe.
“Since I was a child, I was always struck by the cultural offering in this city of both music and art.”
“I was born in this city and I enjoy my stay in it. I found the places where I feel inspired to create and I usually visit them often,” Altalvilla tells GRAZIA. “I think this city is full of stimuli that keep you motivated and creative.”
For visitors, Altavilla suggests a simple 24-hour itinerary throughout the city. “Breakfast in some remarkable bar and relic of the city: Cafe de los Angelitos, El Gato Negro or Cafe Tortoni. Lunch in a downtown restaurant overlooking the river in Puerto Madero. [In the afternoon] visit a contemporary art gallery and [do] a tour of the Museum of Fine Arts en Recoleta. [In the evening experience] a wine tasting and typical dinner. Following a tango show – enjoy!”
While international travel is halted for the near future, the designer instead represents her world virtually, yet no-less colourful than if we were standing in the city-centre.
“I passed the quarantine in Buenos Aires,” she reflects. “My perspective of the city changed during the confinement, since seeing it from the outside, so calm and still was strange. The concept of my illustration focuses on everything that makes up the spirit of Buenos Aires: its melancholic streets full of history that have art nouveau and modern architecture, how tango marked the city forever and how the colours show the audacity to be in constant change.”
Experience the guest editor’s Beunos Aires here.
THE CHARACTERS OF BUENOS AIRES
Born from German immigrants in 1900, Argentine writer, journalist and playwright, Roberto Arlt, felt largely alienated from the people of Buenos Aires. His distance from Argentinian society led the creative to record a world of grotesque, slightly insane characters who revolt against social order – insight into Arlt’s own fascinations. While the writer’s resumé includes several novels, “Aguafuertes porteñas” (translated as “Portenas Etchings”) is his most famous. The 1933 book complies a range of articles published by the local press and features observations of life and society within the cosmopolitan. You’ll instantly be transported to a ’30s era in Buenos Aires.
A LOCAL HERO
For Altavilla, 24 hours spent in Buenos Aires should include a wine tasting and meal. And what Vermouth is to the Spaniards, Malbec is to the South American country. The grapes are known for an inky, dark appearance which result in tasting notes of leather, tobacco, cocoa or violet flower – a common property due to the mountainous terrain in which they are grown in. Malbec originally hails from the south of France, however, Argentine varieties are widely celebrated as an alternative to an expensive Cabernet Sauvignon. May we suggest, this drop of vino.
The daily ritual
It isn’t a virtual discovery of Buenos Aires without stopping for a glass of Yerba Mate. Available in speciality tea stores around the world, share a moment with family or friends while reaping the many benefits of the herbal drink.
The term Gaucho refers to the nomadic people of Argentina and Uruguay. These people are known to be noble, brave and generous and embodying this cultural spirit into clothing is the luxury brand of the same name. Gaucho Buenos Aires is a local destination for ready-to-wear and leather goods, born from the minds of local emerging designers. In a renewed take on ‘logomania’, this wool hat is a wintery must-have for travels throughout the city.
As Altavilla describes, “In Buenos Aires there are many styles; the spectrum within fashion is quite broad, focusing on the aspect of comfort.” Founders of Àcheval Pampa, Sofia Achaval and Lucila Sperber, instil this notion of comfort through pieces designed around a seasonless concept, focussed on quality and taste. Their Argentinian heritage is represented throughout key styles as inspired by an equestrian background, with a high-end twist. We’ll have one of everything.
Looking for your next piece of arm candy, albeit with a difference? FACHA should be your first virtual shopping destination. Utilising recycled material from leather discards, these bags are sustainable and durable. As the brand name translates – considered slang for “cool” or “trendy” – we suggest jumping on this brand before the rest of the globe does too.
Hailing from Buenos Aires, Colecion Zero edits the very best in contemporary, 100% Argentine design. The e-tailer specifically supports small and local artisans, artists, couturiers and small family workshops. And by ordering small quantities, creates less waste. So you can be rest assured you’re not only buying local, you’re buying limited, like this unique statement ring.
Bronze Fire Ring Via Colecion Zero SHOP NOW
The vibrancy we’ve come to love about Argentina has been immortalised into the work of Fruto Estudio. As the brainchild of Paz González Morero and Florencia Pereira Da Luz, the dynamic design duo are creating jewellery, homewares and stationery created by hand and with functionality in mind. In a bid to revalue manual work, there is love injected into every unique style from the small label.
Like emerging labels from around the globe, Mila Kartei was born in 2012 with the intention of breaking into the national market with functional, timeless, yet inherently unique pieces. And that, she did. By combining its brand DNA of feminine pieces made for the contemporary woman, the Argentine label invites customers to shop with longevity in mind. Our first purchase has to be this ’70s redux of the Cowboy boot. Yeehaw…
FOR THE HOME: PAMPA
In a perfect example of design symbiosis, Argentinian craftsmanship combines with an Australian outpost. Operating from Byron Bay, Pampa works with remote South American artisans to deliver coveted rugs and homewares around the world.
When Altavillo looks to dress her home – much-needed during these times of lockdown – the artist looks to handmade minimalist decor to complement plants or pieces that can inject a dose of colour to the space. Fruto Estudio returns once again, using the same sunshine yellow but in vase form.
The ethos of Manto Abrigos states, “Each textile mantle carries the soul of its weaver, its fibres convey warmth and nature.” To own a piece is to truly experience the meaning. Deeply rooted in the history of Argentine weaving, founders Clara De La Torre and Diana Dai Chee Chau are fascinated by the ancient technique and look to revive the practice for a modern day audience. And by purchasing the works, you’re ensuring its future for decades to come.
Llean into comfortable style, sip a glass of Malbec and lose yourself in the sounds of Buenos Aires.