Behind a neo-classical façade on Lisbon’s fashionable Rua do Carmo is a tiny gem of a shop with a specific purpose – the manufacture of made-to-order leather gloves. Taking its name from Greek mythology, Luvaria Ulisses was established in 1925 and still occupies its original four sq m space. “We haven’t changed anything,” says current owner Carlos Carvalho. “Not the structure of the shop, not the manufacturing, not the marketing of our unique gloves.”
Each personalised pair of gloves (from €49) has been cut and sewn in the same way for the past 91 years in an atelier just 700m from the store. “We are the last glove shop in Portugal and we attract all kinds of customers – from third-generation Portuguese family members who have been coming for years, to tourists who visit us mostly in the summer,” says Carvalho. “The latter group not only likes the finished article, but also the whole ritual of the fitting process.”
For a perfectly fitted pair of gloves (ready-made gloves are also available), a visit to the bijou shop is a must. Customers start the ordering process by trying on a pair of gloves in a choice of 11 sizes, with up to 1.27cm difference in length and width. Styles, meanwhile, range from formal to sporty in a selection of soft skins: sheep, deer, peccary pig and nubuck calfskin. The fun part is picking a hue – there’s basic black and navy, of course, but also a brilliant spectrum of aqua, coral, fuchsia and canary yellow. Contrasting colours are another option, with graphic red or orange and black pairings among the most popular requests.
What really sets these practical yet stylish gloves apart is the details, such as leather-covered buttons at the wrists and folded cuffs, with some elements hand sewn. Most pairs are unlined for a sleek, lightweight silhouette, but silk, cashmere and rabbit-fur can be added for those in search of more warmth. What’s more, the turnaround for a specific pair of gloves is, impressively, around 24 hours.