Argentina is most popularly known to have the world’s best of three things: steak, tango, and leather. Before travelling to Argentina it was the same comment every time, “Make sure you buy some leather souvenirs!” and after travelling along the jacket, purse, and boot full stores on Murillo in the neighbourhood of Villa Crespo, it was easy to see why the country is so well known for its leather goods.
Started in the early 1600s, the leather industry has deep roots in the province of Buenos Aires. After Christopher Columbus’s journey to the Americas, Don Pedro de Mendoza established a small settlement, which would later become Buenos Aires. Along with the people of the community came cattle. However, trapped between the uncharted inner Americas and the ocean, the colony was soon abandoned.
Forty-four years later people returned to the site to find that the cattle originally brought over had flourished in the lush grass of the plains. The second wave of settlers hunted the new cattle for their meat and skin and soon the Argentine leather industry was born.
Today there are more than 200 tanneries, which produce 45 million m2 of tanned hides a year in not only cow but also sheep and goat. With so many choices in hides, clothing, and stores we decided to help you out by picking the Top 5 leather stores here in Buenos Aires.
In a list of the top leather stores in Buenos Aires, Silvia Eisele should top it every time. The tiny leather boutique offers one of the most satisfying and personable leather stores that is as much about the experience as it is the jacket. For three generations Enrique Eisele’s family has been selling leather first in England, and now here in Argentina where they have become known for their excellent quality.
“We make it all custom,” said Enrique Eisele, “We inspect all the leather ourselves. Here you are not just a number, it is all about the personal shopping experience.”
Located right on the border of Palermo and Recoletta, the small private apartment is viewable only by booking an appointment in advance. This style of shopping guarantees the friendly and helpful service of most often Enrique and Silvia themselves. The rooms are filled with racks of leather jackets from the floor to the ceiling. A client can either buy a jacket right off the rack or have one custom made.
The designs themselves come in any style from men’s formal dinner jackets, to women’s long winter coats, to short bomber-style jackets. The leather is mainly sheep, goat, and lamb, with lamb the wool from the sheep is kept to create a fuzzy and warm natural lining to the jacket. Cow is sometimes used but with just one feel it is easy to see why the soft sheep skin is preferred, even if it is more expensive. The jackets come in various colours including black, brown, tan, cream, red, yellow, and orange to name a few. Some of the goat skin jackets are even reversible with suede on one side and leather on the other. The store also makes leather pants and fur coats.
As mentioned before a client can walk in and out with a jacket in the same day or they can have one custom made. If someone likes everything but the colour the store can easily change it. Even if it’s something as small as the shape of the collar or one too many buttons Enrique and Silvia will change the jacket to fit the client’s needs. Customers can also come in with a picture of a leather jacket they saw online and the store will imitate it as closely as possible.
The prices at Silvia Eisele are completely dependent on the style of jacket and leather used but run roughly from $1200 pesos to $2000 pesos, or US$266 to US$445. Although it is one of the more expensive leather stores here in Buenos Aires the attention to detail, excellent quality, and experience of the boutique is well worth the money.
For more information about Silvia Eisele click here. Visits by appointment only.
One of the most well known leather stores in Argentina, Murillo 666 offers good quality with a huge variety of leather jackets. For more than 20 years the company has been cutting, sewing, and selling leather. The store is a testament to its rising fame and the years of experience with a higher-end look and racks upon racks of jackets.
Murillo 666 offers men formal leather suit jackets in black and darker shades of brown with good quality leather and endurable stitching. It also offers a more casual and fashion forward bomber-style jacket, the perfect piece for the weekend. It comes in numerous styles, from tighter fitting with a large collar, to baggier with shoulder and sleeve embellishments like snaps or buckles.
Another great thing about Murillo 666 is its size range. At 6’2 with broad shoulders, it took my father every store on Murillo to find a jacket until arriving at Murillo 666. There he was actually able to choose between three well-fitting jackets.
Women are also offered numerous styles. From long, slim fitting jackets in blacks and browns, to short formal suit jackets with buttons and collars, to a mint green suede jacket with white accents, there is a jacket to fit every style.
The only downsides are the sometimes unfriendly staff and the price tags, as Murillo 666 tends to be pricier than most of the leather stores on the street. My father’s casual brown jacket cost US$329 and the mint green women’s jacket is selling for $650 or roughly US$110. However, the price is well worth the purchase because of the endurable good quality.
For more information on Murillo 666, click here.
If it’s the entire leather outfit you are looking for, then Koux has you covered. The tiny company just off Murillo on Malabia offers, not only leather jackets, but also the pants, skirts, and shorts to match in almost every colour imaginable.
The very friendly staff are eager, but not pushy, to help you find the perfect style including any of the formal dinner jackets, work-suited blazers, or casual bomber-style. Koux also offers a bit more imagination when it comes to colour, and patterns in flowered suede, bright yellow, and poppy red are numerous among the racks that completely surround the store.
The small, often one-person factory above the shop guarantees good quality and fashionable designs. As one of the employees said, “We only work with the best leather.”
Once you’ve found the perfect jacket there is often a skirt or pair of pants to match. Long, cream coloured leather pants sit beside a black leather mini-skirt, while neon yellow leather shorts adorn a mannequin in the shop window. Even the flowered jacket has a matching skirt.
The skirts come in varying lengths but usually in the pencil style. Most of the pants are tailored to fit with a slight boot cut or flare around the bottom of the pant. They also tend to fit snug around the hips and thighs.
Prices at Koux for a pair of leather pants start at $950 or US$200 for a basic black pair. Skirts start around $650 or US$145. Koux also tailors any item of clothing to a person’s size or style needs and can often have the purchase ready within one day.
To check out Koux click here.
Casa Lopez is a high-end bag and purse boutique which offers some of the best-looking and exceptionally made designs in all of Buenos Aires. Founded in 1943, Casa Lopez has grown to include two stores in Buenos Aires, one in Martinez, one in Uruguay, and one in South Africa. Located in Galerías Pacífico and the Plaza San Martin, the stores exude poise and grace with huge windows that look into a cream and wood coloured store accentuated by purses in every colour imaginable.
The bags themselves come in numerous styles. Their leather luggage holds everything you need while still keeping you in style at the airport. Large leather bags in the typical brown, cream, and black offer the type of Mary Poppins’ style purse that seems to be able to carry absolutely anything. Medium-size purses, roughly the size of a small toaster, come in varying colours including yellow, pink, green, and the usual brown, black, and cream. These often have small embellishments like a buckle or a few snaps.
Smaller purses offer the perfect accent to a night-on-the-town outfit and come in bolder colours like hot pink, neon yellow, and peacock blue. Their long straps make the purse both fashionable and easy to sling over your shoulder. This style also tends to be more embellished with gold studs or giant bows. Finally, Casa Lopez finishes its collection with adorable clutches and wallets in conservative brown, black, and tan but also golds, silvers, and bright colours with sheen leather for fancier occasions.
The only precaution about visiting the exquisite purse boutique is the price tags. Purses are listed anywhere between $1890-$2990 pesos or roughly US$420-US$660 and wallets start at $369 going up to $599 pesos or roughly US$82-US$133. However, these purses are built to last and designed to stay in fashion, it is an accessory that upon being bought can be used for many years.
For more information on Casa Lopez, click here.
Indígena, another of the Murillo leather boutiques, offers great leather jackets and beautiful, well crafted leather boots and shoes. Located on the corner of Murillo and Malabia, the store is deceivingly small for the large variety. There are the usual bomber jackets in brown, tan and black as well as men’s casual and dinner jackets. The leather is excellent and the stitching is tight and neat. As one store employee put it, all of the leather on Murillo is the same, “the difference is in the details.”
Indígena also has some excellent long leather jackets. From a chocolate knee-length jacket with tarnished silver buttons to a cream coloured hip length jacket with big round buttons.
Besides the usual clothing, however, Indígena also offers an excellent selection of boots and shoes. Tall riding boots offer both comfort and fashion with a rubber heel and endurable leather. They come in tan, brown, and black with an assortment of embellishments including buckles and zippers. The store also has an assortment of low-ankled boots with studs, bows, and wooden heels. Finally, it rounds out its collection with platform and wedged leather heels in numerous colours including tan, brown, and a light rosy pink. It is one of the best stores on Murillo for leather shoes and boots.
The prices at Indígena run on the lower side for Murillo, which makes it an excellent deal for the value. The chocolate knee length jacket was US$200 while a pair of the tall riding boots was selling for $420 or roughly US$70.
For more information about Indígena click here.