A pair of wine red booties from Madrid

I’ve learned, over the years, that you become acclimatised to the fashion you see around you every day. Boredom can push many of us fashion-hungry individuals across borders to find stand-out pieces to reignite our passion for all things fashion.

After 3 years in London, where summer weather was sparse and people would run after the sun whenever it showed itself, I felt the needed to recharge. I needed sun, I wanted to wear my sandals confidently without turning purple from the cold. It seemed to be a no-brainer to go to Spain. Hot sun, hotter fashion.

The timing couldn’t have been better. My tenancy was ending, so I could start looking for suitable AirBnB flats and create my travel schedule. As a remote worker, apart from internet connection, I didn’t have to worry about too much else. In fact, renting Spanish AirBnBs was saving me half of my rent costs (note: that was 4 years ago, before the AirBnB went nuts). I eventually set up a couple of months in Tenerife and Madrid.

I found a lot of creative gems and fashion pieces along my journey, but my absolute favourite is from Madrid. In general, the fashion scene was very vibrant in the city, just very hidden. I needed a local stylist to direct me to the best contemporary designer shops as I wouldn’t have found them just by roaming the streets. And that is how I bumped into the Margo Cardona shop. A little shoemaker shop with a handful of carefully crafted leather shoes. Nothing crazy in the design, just a bit of spice alongside timeless elegance that combined into something irresistible.

As they introduce themselves:

‘Magro Cardona is a women’s shoe brand founded in 2014 by Irene Magro and Ana Cardona. The duo hopes to rescue the artisanal “Made in Spain” tradition, while lending a more avant-garde image. In each collection they fuse sophistication, tradition and modernity. Irene and Ana live and work in Madrid and collaborate with two artisans — one based in Alicante and one in Toledo.’

They welcomed us with warmth and openness and shared a little bit of the story behind the current collection. It was an amazing experience hearing these things from the designers themselves. We had plenty of time to look around to get to know the pieces. One of the heels was particularly calling my name. It was a style I had never owned before, the cone heel not usually being my style, but these ones were sleek and feminine. The colour also was more muted than I usually wear, yet when I put it on, I looked grounded and refined. I tried a couple of pieces on from the collection, but found my way back to that particular heel, the ones that told me that I’m gonna be someone new and improved in them.

There was only one issue. This pair was the last one, and one of the heels was a bit misaligned. Nothing too bad, but those who have had a heel break while walking know how embarrassing it can be. I was hesitating a lot, the shop owner even offered me a discount, but I wanted to wear it proudly without constantly worrying if the heal was able to bear me.

I had to leave this piece behind, but I took the shop’s business card with me and promised to check back later. When I got back to London, the first thing I did was checking their website for my chosen shoe, but the only piece available was the one I’d tried on in-store. I saved the link for myself and moved on.

Almost 3 years later, when I was organising my travel memories, I’ve found the business card of the shop again. I immediately recalled the heels I had to leave behind and ran to my laptop to check if the new collection had anything similar. It did! An even hotter, sleeker new piece that was the same style but in a bolder colour and with extra laces. I wasn’t thinking, didn’t have to, I knew the size was right, I knew the style would look awesome on me, I knew they’re trustworthy and quality designers. I placed my order with confidence and within two weeks, I had my new masterpiece in my wardrobe.

I was very happy with the shoes, the leather quality and the packaging altogether. Up until today, whenever I decide on a dramatic look, these shoes are my ultimate statement pieces. They are one of the best finds of my travel experiences, even if they actually showed up with 3 years late. Completely worth the wait.