Barcelona is a great city for design, but in terms of fashion there are a number of exciting young local designers I want to highlight,” says Alex Molner, proprietor of bijou boutique Boo. “I showcase them alongside the independent brands I discovered when travelling but couldn’t find in my hometown.” With this focus on smaller-scale labels, Molner set up shop 13 years ago, taking over a former printer’s just off the chic Passeig de Gràcia and transforming it with contemporary Catalan flair. Named after the To Kill a Mockingbird character Boo Radley because “he hides a lot of mystery and surprises”, it has become the city’s go-to for classic yet cool clothes and accessories, for both men and women, attracting a loyal clientele of creatives, as well as curious out-of-towners – including Susan Sarandon.
The inviting space has been reimagined to resemble a London tailor’s atelier, says Molner. Dark-pine floors and slate-grey walls are offset with a stately fireplace flanked by a regal, life-size porcelain hound, shelves of vintage knick-knackery and a 1940s phone booth-turned-dressing room. If the interior conveys Molner’s love of traditional and modern craftsmanship, so does his mix of emerging Spanish designers and European heritage brands – many of which Boo has carried since its inception.
One such is Saint James, whose iconic Breton-fisherman sweaters (from €140) “are timeless, practical and made in limited quantities”, says Molner. Equally classic are retro-inspired pieces by Porto-based La Paz, from pastel-hued Oxford shirts (from €128) to slim-cut pleated trousers (€160) in navy and sand. Other menswear standouts include rugged rainproof jackets (€425) by Denmark’s Norse Projects, and ultra-soft T-shirts (€80) by Merz B Schwanen – “a German maker who has resurrected styles from the 1920s and 1930s and made them modern.” Finishing flourishes come in the form of vibrant jacquard socks (€16) emblazoned with carnival characters, flowers and full moons by Lyon’s Bonne Maison, and the woody, mossy Musgo Real eau de cologne (€60 for 100ml), first conceived by iconic Portuguese beauty brand Claus Porto in the 1930s.
The women’s offerings are no less eclectic – from streamlined separates (lightweight merino sweaters in bright red and navy, €150; knee-length 1950s-esque pale- blue linen skirt, €169) by century-old brand Le Mont St Michel to T-shirts (€55) by Paris’s Maison Labiche, hand-embroidered with 1980s film titles such as Working Girl. Accessories range from canvas tote bags (€155) by Madrid maker Steve Mono to leather wallets (from €40) by The Nope, a Spanish duo based in Melbourne, and faux-tortoiseshell sunglasses (€170) and bold acetate earrings (from €35) by local brand Après Ski. “It’s a very personal collection,” says Molner, whose final addition to the Boo experience is his engaging playlists, which journey from Simon & Garfunkel to on-trend Spanish singer-songwriter Rosalía. “The clothes, the accessories, the music… it’s whatever I’m feeling at the moment.”