Once home to Shakira’s dodgy leather pants-and-bikini combo, perhaps Colombia isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you hear the word ‘fashionista’. But things are changing, particularly around the urban metropolis and city of Eternal Spring, Medellin.
The country is rapidly transforming into one of Latin America’s most vibrant and creative destinations, with Medellin claiming the crown of the style set’s spiritual home. Each July, the city plays host to Latin America’s biggest fashion event: a three-day whirlwind of cocktails and catwalks, artistry and air kisses; Colombia Moda draws crowds of fashion lovers from across the globe.
Sound like your glass of bubbles? Then read on: based in Medellin, the team behind boutique Colombian tour operator Amakuna has scoured the city for the hottest hangouts during Colombia Moda. Giant sunglasses at the ready…
If you’re seeking retail therapy, then your first stop must be vibrant Via Primavera, a hub for Medellin’s up and coming designers. Browse the rails at boutiques such as Andrés Pajón or stock up on swimmers at supermodel-approved Agua Bendita. Time to refuel? Get your caffeine fix in the laid back living room-style surroundings of Velvet Café.
When your tummy starts to rumble, rejoice: you’re in for a treat. Head to swanky El Cielo for a modern Colombian feast inspired by ancestral recipes and indigenous cooking techniques; or edgy and architectural Ocio, favourite of the fashion set, for a regularly changing seasonal menu is funky, architectural surroundings. All booked up? Seek out seek out little-known Alambique, hidden away on an upstairs terrace and accessed via an unmarked staircase.
As the sun sets, Medellin comes into its own with a plethora of funky watering holes. Fashion crowd favourites include Envy, a sky-high bar serving up cocktails as good as the view and shabby-chic Burdo, a hip hangout with exposed brick walls and a jungle of foliage.
Amakuna’s ultimate insider tip? Stay on in Medellin once Colombia Moda ends. The Feria de las Flores sees the city come alive with colourful parades, fireworks, open-air concerts and installations crafted from over half a million flowers, creating the perfect backdrop for that fashionista Instagram shot.
To book: Amakuna (www.amakuna.com / 020 7193 7582) offers a 10-night trip to Colombia from £2,975 per person, including 10 nights’ boutique hotel accommodation with daily breakfast (three nights in Medellin, three nights in Cartagena and four nights in Providencia), all domestic flights and private transfers, a Medellin City Tour, access to ColombiaModa, a historical tour of Cartagena and a Providencia Island scuba diving induction course. International flights from London to Medellin from £650 return per person.