There’s nothing that puts a smile on my face faster than landing in a beautiful place with great shops. Retail therapy sounds suspect but I’ve found after 30 years in the business of fashion there’s some truth to it. The weather can suck so loud you hear it, but if the window shopping or actual shopping is good I don’t care if a tornado is on the way. Palma de Mallorca was just that sort of city; an unexpected treat with some world class shops!
Anton found a cute apartment through air b&b because there was no room at the inn, none of them. The apartment on the top floor of a tiny house sat right in the center of the main plaza. We stashed our luggage away which was not as easy as it sounds as we had a pile of it and all heavy. The 4th floor in Europe means the 5th floor here. The staircase was so tight you could barely maneuver with luggage but we got it up somehow.
Down in the square we had a restorative cafe con leche and began our tour. Tons of shops were selling pearls, once the mainstay of this Balearic island. Other shops catered to the tourists with sandals and sneakers galore. The sneaker is clearly the common language spoken in every corner of this planet. Smaller one off shops by local designers were very tempting. A handbag designer whose bags look like beautifully colored leather balls made me wish I carried a purse or had someone to give one to.
Our friends Julio and Justin mentioned a store they’d found that had everything and all of it great. It’s not often that a store can tick off everything in life that I love but Rialto Living did just that and more. They were selling stuff I didn’t even know I wanted. There was the rug department designed like a market stall in a Moroccan Souq with stacks of carpets in the most beautiful colors and designs. The book shop with fantastic art, design and fashion books that were all hot off the press.
One of a kind clothing for men and women by designers we rarely see in NYC were doing very beautiful, functional and unusual clothing and accessories. Between the clothing mini boutiques was a gallery with the work of Ignacio Burgos, a contemporary painter working in an abstract figurative way with paintings of sailors.
There was a fabric department dedicated to the stripe in all of its fabulous iterations; multi colored, bi-color, ikat woven and all on sturdy humble canvas.
There was even a department dedicated to cups, goblets and plates made to look like Murano crystal and fine porcelain but all in plastic for the yachting crowd docked just down the way.
There were antique objects, furnishings and indigenous artifacts from around the world that tempted me to no end. Chinese porcelain dishes and African tribal sculptures and masks were side by side making the argument that wildly different cultures create things that work easily together.
There were vases overflowing with artificial flowers that made me stop and gape. Imagine walking through the woods and collecting branches of pine, rhododendrun branches with blossoms, wild berry vines and late summer blooms, the perfect autumn arrangement and they were all man made. I could care less for artificial flowers but would have taken 2 or 3 vases full if I could find a way to get them back unbroken or flattened.
For the most part the prices were in line with what you’d expect but also surprisingly reasonable for things you’d pay much more for in the US. If only there was one in the States, though they ship all over the world. With a changing show each month in the upstairs gallery made me wish I could visit regularly. The experience was more like walking through a grand old Spanish house whose decorations and all of its contents are for sale. There was nothing slick about it. That’s a retail environment that makes people want to shop. I left without a single purchase but wanting everything I’d seen.