Lolo Gasparini was the only interesting Argentinian left in Buenos Aires after Christmas. The rest of the It-pack had migrated across the Rio de la Plata to the South of Uruguay, where every single family, be it somewhat affluent, vacations for the summer holidays. I had done extensive research before I arrived, posting messages on facebook and contacting every single person I suspected had any kind of ties with Argentina, to find the city running empty, except for Lolo, a 34-year old DJ/musician with cool hair, groovy style and a peppy attitude.
We meet in the morning at Farinelli’s, a small coffee place in Palermo which is by many considered the Balthazar of Buenos Aires. The air is crisp and dry, the sky crystal clear, azure blue, the temperature agreeably warm and we are about to embark on a grand tour of the city, flagged with stops at every vintage store I had been told to visit. We are accompanied by our dutiful guide/driver/photographer Gonzalo Romero (of the Ay Not Dead family) and his girlfriend Josefina (who designs the collections with Gonzalo’s sister Noel). They whisk us through the vast city landscape with ease and a brief history of every monument or building I point at. (Did you know the White House here is pink? According to the folk tale the white paint was mixed with cow’s blood to prevent damage from humidity….) But I digress.
Gil Antiguidades in San Telmo was the one vintage store EVERYone had recommended. But all we find are closed doors, drawn curtains and the sound of hammers banging inside. I bet the owners have also left for Puntal! Much to the grief of my companions I console myself with a soy latte from Starbucks – there is a Havanna coffee place just next door – oops! – and a visit to a small thrift store just down the street. Lolo tells me she likes “timeless clothes and good fabrics” and that she feels most “comfortable in classic pieces combined with some trend, accessory or vintage”, though not too feminine. “I love a masculine touch in my outfits”, she goes on, “a nice shirt with colorful legging and moccasins is typical Lolo or a jumpsuit.” I love watching Lolo pose for the camera – she’s seemed shy at first but she’s actually really funny!
Juan Perez is an abundant vintage feast! The window screams for the resurrection of Gianni Versace and the store runs like a well-oiled machine, complete with lockers, security cameras and personal shoppers. They have consigned designer pieces as well as vintage from the 50’s to the 80’s. We must have spent two hours in there because don’t get to the next place until sunset!
Tremendo is Lolo’s favorite. It’s a vintage retail and rental store situated on the 5th floor of a residential building in Belgrano, where the rooms are converted into separate sales areas – funny seeing racks of clothing in a kitchen! Tremendo stocks mainly 80’s clothing, which is not my thing, but gets Lolo in a state of purring excitement. It’s pretty clear: “I love the 80’s!” she exclaims. “Perhaps because all the best looks in music exploded in that decade and it just comes natural to me. Grace Jones, Blondie, Siouxie… Anyway I don´t like to wear any disguise of any era; I like to wear reminiscence.”
Vintage hopping really is a great way to explore a new city. I can’t say I saw everything but we criss-crossed and zig-zagged to all corners until my eye sight went blurry. I love the warm energy of the city, the European influences and the kindness of the people. “Buenos Aires is an enormous city,” agrees Lolo, “you never finish to know completely. That’s what I love, and the people, and the night. What I don’t like is also the people,” she laughs, “when they have no respect. I hate the chaos in the streets, and the insecurity. You have to walk with four eyes and be cautious; that can be stressful.” Her New Year’s resolution is to pretty much continue to play music and “be thankful for what I got and be happy – I know it’s so cliché but it’s not always easy – to continue living in a creative way and being the owner of my time.”