One has to wonder how can you put so much soul into a space that many diminutive espresso bar owners would call "too small". But Martina and Jan, the owners of the Kurator shop near the National Theatre and the Bethlehem Square, clearly can. The winner of the 2014 Czech Grand Design “Shop of the Year” award, Kurator does exactly what its title suggests: looks at young, promising or otherwise interesting designers (mostly Czech but also some from abroad), and sets up a (roughly) two-month curated selection of their work. And you can buy it all! Yay! The exhibitions are always wrapped around a theme, be it proms (during the Czech senior prom season), ethical manufacturers, flowers or anything else.
Living in and loving Prague, we must admit that men's shopping is a bit painful here. Therefore we have chosen few of our favorite shops and showrooms to be sure that not only girls will be happy with our secret tips.
OK, here we go! As announced in our previous post, we have left Prague for a month in the US (we write this from Brooklyn) and will be giving our social media to some awesome Prague locals who will share their "tastes of Prague" with our beloved readers.
First to go are Martina and Jan, the couple behind the Kurator shop.
When you meet Mimi, the designer and owner of La Femme Mimi, a popular Czech fashion label, you see a person who is always smiling, a person who just can‘t wait to share her true passions and someone with an interesting story. We sat for an hour to talk about her past, her present and a little bit about the future. But the most important question of course is: “Where do you get the best Vietnamese spring rolls in Prague?”
"Hey, Zuzi and Jan, what is the coolest thing we can buy here in Prague?”
We get that a lot during our Prague food tours. And we do have suggestions that we like: instead of the tacky tchotchkes they sell around the Charles Bridge, we like things that mean something to us as Prague locals and that would normally go unnoticed by foreign visitors.
Our most common suggestion? Easy: the Czech Botas 66 sneakers. Virtually the only brand of sneakers available when we grew up in the 80s (yes, it was so hard being cool at that time), the Botas have now been slowly becoming the local hipster favorite since about five years ago when two design students came up with the idea to brush up the 1966 model and turn it into a street style fashion statement. Today they are one of the most popular sneakers around here.
Now, we have a confession to make: Jan was suggesting them on almost every occasion but did not actually own a pair until about a month ago when he finally opted for the “track” model that is based on the 1980s running model. The model he chose (and which is pictured above) is called “Insane Track” (or “clown shoes”, as the baristas at EMA Espresso Bar dubbed them). They are still hand-made here in the Czech Republic and they allegedly retained all the original suppliers, so it’s still the “Eastern block” sneaker. They are fairly light and very comfortable.
OK, and now for the details:
How much are they?
The prices start at about EUR 50 and never go beyond EUR 75.
Where can I get them?
That’s a tricky one. Botas did close its central concept shop about a year ago and hasn’t found a replacement location since. JB Sport at Dlazdena 3 street in the centre has a small selection. If you want to see the full assortment, you’d have to travel a bit out of the centre to Artis-Botas Praha at Radlicka 11 street (tram 7 or 10 from Andel subway stop to Braunova stop). Finally, they do sell online within the EU (visit their online shop here). If you want to have them delivered to your hotel, why not? (Jan bought them online, too. Their fit is a bit tight so if you are in between regular sizes, he recommends you get the bigger one).
May 2014 update:
Botas 66 finally has a designated store! (And a really cool one at that.) You can find it at Krizkovskeho 18 street on the border of the Vinohrady and Zizkov districts very near the TV Tower. Visit their website for further details.
Klára Krchová of Akari is not only my (Karolina reporting here) childhood friend, but also one of Prague's young fashion designers who makes the difference by persuading girls and women of all ages to wear skirts. "No trousers!" "Show some leg!" This is how she changes lives... for the better ;-).
Klára’s story is really A-class Hollywood material: it all started seven years ago with an innocent reaction to the bare fact that there were simply no cool skirts around. Cornered by the circumstances, Klára got to work with her grandma's sewing machine and a head full of ideas. Fast forward to today: she has her own atelier (Akarier) in the Letná district and hundreds of customers who color the streets up wearing her skirts. On top of managing, designing and modeling for Akari, Klára is also a brand new full-time mom. But guess what? It's a boy - so chances are Klára might actually make some trousers in the future, too (Naaaah... Not really! :-))
Where does such a cool person spend her free time and money in Prague and what are her insider tips? Well, that's what I found out for you in today's episode of our Meet a Local series.
What are the TOP Prague fashion events no one should miss?
Design Market at the National Theatre piazzetta, which is coming up soon. The great thing about this one is that you cannot really miss it. You just bump into it while cruising the town and there's a great choice of fashion to buy. Then there’s the Fashion Market in the Holešovice market where you can find a mix of fashion, accessories and all the nice stuff. This market takes place three or even more times a year as fashion markets are gaining popularity here in Prague.
Where do you shop for clothes yourself?
Hahaha... I'm probably a bit specific here: there are actually only a few people who do something similar for a living to what I do, and so we all know each other. To be very honest, I usually tell my friends I like something from their last collection… and that's how I shop. :-) I stocked up on legginges from Young Primitive recently, after giving birth (an absolute necessity!), and my latest discovery is Piskacie tricka: crazy hooting t-shirts from Slovakia. I don't know these guys personally yet, but I'm really looking forward to meeting them, haha! I also like Mayda or Pattern, which does great clothes for men.
Where do they have the best coffee in Prague?
When I'm at work, it's definitely Pausa 412, which is only two floors above my atelier (in the fantastic Elektricke podniky Orco building full of independent artists and designers) and it's a total hidden jewel! The guys make really excellent coffee there. When I'm off, I go to café Nový svět. It is a tiny family-owned place in the Castle District, but they have a great selection of coffee and the atmosphere is just amazing. They are open only on Fridays to Sundays from 3:00 pm, so it's a bit of a challenge to actually find it open, but when you do, it's absolutely worth it!
What are your favorite places for eating out in Prague?
My favorite place for lunch is Bistro 8 in the Veverkova street. I have also had a long and friendly relationship with the U Parlamentu pub, which is very nice and local despite its location right in the centre of Prague. Recently, we have started visiting Wine & Food Market on Strakonická street, because we just love their live piano evenings on Fridays, and it is also a very "stroller-friendly" place... Sorry if that is not hipster enough for you! :-)
What is your favorite place in Prague and why?
The Břevnov district! I'm originally from the Dejvice district, but I have recently blended into Břevnov: for me, it symbolizes the perfect combination of peace and great accessibility from anywhere. I have everything at hand in there. I come out of my house with a stroller and I get all I need in a half-mile radius, which is great.
Where you can get Akari skirts:
- Akarier atelier, Elektricke podniky Orco building, Bubenská 1, Prague 7 - currently not available for shopping with Klára on maternity leave
- Dara Bags, Lidická 35, Prague 5 - TUTU collection (tulle skirts)
- Kuráž, Benediktská 7, Prague 1
- Pour Pour, Vinohradská 74, Prague 3
- Julius Fashion Shop, Ostrovní 20, Prague 1