It’s the originality people like,” says Victoria Durrer-Gasse of the eclectic boutique she opened in 2009 in an atmospheric 1600s Ibizan finca. “A lot of the things we sell simply can’t be found anywhere else. People often say they feel like they’ve been on a journey when they come in here.” For although the store is located in the off-the-beaten-track village of Santa Gertrudis in the centre of the island, it is filled with treasures from Durrer-Gasse’s frequent globetrotting to places such as Madagascar and Nepal.
Durrer-Gasse sets the scene with a pair of momumental, handcarved wooden doors (€9,800) from a Rajasthani mansion that stand at the entrance, making entering the store feel rather like stepping into Narnia. Once inside, her eye for the extraordinary is instantly apparent, as the gossamer-fine, 19th-century French costumes that have been artfully turned into showstopping lights sway above an array of artisanal homewares, clothing, jewellery and art – much of which has been commissioned for the shop. Be it a brightly beaded beeswax skull (€260) from Mexico or an antique glass dome (€1,200) filled with staring metal eyes created by an artist she met in Paris, the offerings are rich in theatrical flair.
“I’m always on the lookout for unusual details,” says the British-born textile designer, who has called Ibiza home for over 20 years. “It’s important that the objects tell a story.” Her rare vintage finds range from delicate Victorian and Edwardian dresses (from €140) to a 19th-century Native American chieftain feather headdress (€13,500) and precious African tribal masks (€11,500). There are local tales to unravel here, too, such as those by Ibiza-based photographer Jérôme Ferrière, whose huge monochrome images of the island (from €900) are sought after by the boutique’s diverse clientele of holidaymakers and design connoisseurs – not to mention a host of celebrities Durrer-Gasse is too discreet to name.
Another draw is Durrer-Gasse’s own collection of clothing and homewares produced in collaboration with not-for-profits in India and Nepal and marrying traditional hand-loomed fabrics with an elegantly bohemian aesthetic. Standout buys include block-printed silk dresses (€230) made with Key To Freedom, which supports women who have been trafficked or abused, and embroidered cushions (from €45) by the Self-Employed Women’s Association, a trade union that protects female workers in India.
This ethical handcrafted ethos extends to other items: beautiful metallic leather bags (€390) with macramé straps by New Delhi-based Parisian designer Olivia Dar are created in collaboration with Afghani refugees, while the charmingly irregular ceramics (from €27) from South African company Wonki Ware are made by potters from disadvantaged backgrounds. “Because of these organisations, people are leading better lives,” says Durrer-Gasse. Scrupulous this may sound, but overly serious this store certainly is not; with its vibrant pops of colour, this space is the epitome of playful Ibizan eccentricity.