Yep, finally. The first thing R & I noted in Buenos Aires was that we were the only ones wearing shorts out and about town, despite the blistering heat. It was over 30degreesC (about 85degreesF), but that did not stop ladies our age from sporting jeans and even long sleeve tops. The only relief that the female crowd in BA showed were skirts, but in the first few days, we were not able to spot many of them. Once I realized that I stood out as a tourist in my khaki shorts, on some days I opted for my uneven skirt + tank ensemble and on others... I went back to shorts. When a 45L pack (plus a small carry on) is all you have for an undefined amount of time travelling through multiple activities (dancing to hiking) and weather conditions (dry+hot to cold+rainy), you don't have the luxury of walk-in closet space. At some point, my list of how/what I packed for a lengthy excursion will be posted to satiate curiosity or help anyone planning a similar trip.
Back to fashion: Buenos Aires was inspirational in terms of indie designers taking the lead in fashion. Big house and luxury names, while available, are not at the tips of people's tongues or sprawled across the city. There was some Zara and some H&M, and with their affordable up-to-date style, who can blame anyone for their widespread access to the female consumer? Anyway, the bag to have is from Prune, the dress to yearn for is Maria Vazquez, and the label to have fun with is AY Not Dead. To see what all the hype was about, I set off to a few malls to see what the fuss was about in these few particular names. Both of these names are local to Argentina and widely available in any shiny mall or shopping strip. Maria is known for her loose, slinky, colorful sundresses, and the collecions do no disappoint. While extreme color is not in my wheelhouse, I can appreciate the indie feel left in the designer's clothes though she is now a household name. The star dress on display, retailing for about $1000USD, however, I found exquisite. The mid-thigh length fabric and the coloring flowed effortlessly, admittedly not enough for me to fork over the dough. I tried to snap a picture but as the items in the store are originals, it is quite difficult to do so without drawing too much attention and getting excorted out of the store.
Next, my stop was Prune: a house that started with basic leather handbags. Still comparitively inexpensive to similar quality US brands despite the price hike due to populatrity, these bags look sturdy and chic at the same time. Made of quality leaher, the designs are basic/classic totes but range in details and size. Their target is clearly a classic, mature audience, particularly a working or sophisticated woman. Colors mostly run in the neutrals (creme, white, black), but they do peak into oranges and blues.
AY Not Ded was the line with the most indie of the three despite its grown popularity. Clothing items here are displayed only one piece per design. The color palette in the store I visited was black mixed with intense colors and strategic cuts of fabric, most of the items pushing the edgein terms of mixing fabrics and textures. The items remind me a bit of Latin American Asos clothing.
One other major thing I noticed in BA was the choice of shoe: a fully platformed sandal. Not elegant in any way, this shoe is clearly designed for the crappy BA sidewalks that are Fall Zone in flat shoes, let alone heels. To get around the fact that the sidewalks are flawed while still boosting height, these sandals offer a compromise: height for style. Personally, I'm not a fan of the clunky shoe, but I was amazed at how it was THE shoe to wear for females, particularly during the day and aged 18-30. Every designer and every store was sporting their own version of this elevated-flat sandal, each of them devastatingly ugly. There was one instant where I saw the shoe attached to an outfit that made me think twice: a young 19 or 20-something, clearly trendy with her own twist, paired the light orange clunky things with a long, cream flower-studded billowy skirt and plain cream tank top. Perhaps if she was older, or older looking, the shoe may not have suited: it still reminded me a bit of yucky maryjanes I was forced to wear in Catholic school. Ick.