Town Tales: Madrid with Clea Stuart
Clea Stuart is a thoroughly Spanish label– from its national manufacturers over its founder and creative director Clea Fitz-James Stuart Calleja towards the label's relaxed, comfortable but at the same time sensual look and feel. The knit-pieces of the Madrid-based brand adapt to the body like a second skin while leaving room for comfort, confidence and croquetas. It's "sprezzatura" allows a chic and sophisticated look while not having to think twice about an outfit. With Clea Stuart, we look great no matter whether we just woke up, are going to an art gallery or having to sit on a plane for a couple of hours. The brand doesn't exclude, it is time- and ageless, addressing a modern woman believing in slow fashion and enjoying the little things in life. The founder of the label, Clea, dives deep into this worldview and takes us along to her favourite Madrid-places. The ultimate guide to exploring Madrid slowly and laid-back like a local.
CERVECERIA SANTA BARBARA
Start your weekend with Clea at a terrace in her neighbourhood, Chueca. Stroll around a little bit for some breakfast or brunch: Here you can find healthy places with fresh juices and good jam toast. Or skip the plan for your diet and get some “churros or porras gon chocolate“ for breakfast – a typical sweet dish from Madrid. If you look for a restaurant-recommendation, Clea has one for you: Go to Cerveceria Santa Barbara. Our guide loves to get orange juice and the not-so-healthy, above-mentioned "porras" – additionally, you can find some great fish dishes and some greens in the 200-year-old institution.
Afterwards, Clea likes to stroll the streets on a quest for art. You can find some nice galleries within the same area, but Clea's favourite is Travesia Cuatro – a gallery showing contemporary art in Chueca. Initially intended to create a bridge between European and Latin American art, the gallery still focuses on a socio- and multicultural exhibition of art.
Lunch on Saturday means family-time and Clea likes to go to La Ancha. The restaurant will convince you with its Spanish soul-food – whether it's "Armando", a fried fish-delicacy, mussels, octopus or beef tartar. It's is not a hip fusion-kitchen spot, but a down-to-earth restaurant with amazing food which will bring you closer to the Spanish cuisine.
TAKE A NAP – it doesn't get more Spanish than this
Since your guide is Spanish and tries to bring you closer to her way of living: An after-lunch-nap is mandatory. You can charge your batteries, escape the summer heat and dream of all the amazing food you already discovered.
EL REAL JARDIN BOTANICO
In the evening – when the sun is a little bit less hard on us, our skin and our hair – Clea likes to take a walk in El Real Jardin Botanico. It is a nature-paradise in the middle of the city. More than 8 hectares, 90.000 plants and 1.500 trees, five greenhouses and a café allow you to experience your best sundowner. You can either get lost, while exploring the park on your own, take a guided tour or relax at one of many fountains. The admission fee costs six euros, but is worth any penny.
MO DI MOVIMIENTO
After the stroll, we find ourselves in one of Madrid's coolest culinary gems and one of Clea's restaurant highlights: Mo di Movimiento. It is a new restaurant concept, that made it into all of Spain's renowned interior magazines. With its open, warm and welcoming atrium, a lot of natural light, its wooden interior, as well as it's factory-charm, the space is sure to enchant you aesthetically. The restaurant is built within the former Espronceda Theatre, which lives on within the new concept. The designer Lucas Muñoz recovered wood and debris from the theatre site to build the chairs, benches and tables. In the middle of the open space, you can find orange trees shielding you from the heavy Madrid'ian sun. Mo's staff is part of a social employment and education plan, helping young workers to shape their future – regardless of origin, age or gender. But if you think, that's already good enough, wait until you taste the food: Mo di Movimento's menu features Neapolitan-style pizza, asparagus with poached egg, and a chocolate tart to die for, with all of this being sourced from independent and local suppliers. The idea is to create a space for responsible consumption, sustainability and social integration, without losing touch of what it should be about: Amazing food.
If you're in for a longer night, you can hit Malasaña! The area boasts of bars and nightclubs – whether you're into indie beats or electro raves, beer or cocktails, you will find a spot where you will strike a bonanza. But the eponymous Club Malasaña, is the place to be for a danced-through night. The club combines an opulent gold-and-velvet aesthetic with an underground vibe. Its extravagant interior is as Instagram-worthy as your Tabi shoes – especially the tile murals featuring explicit erotic acts designed by Ignasi Monreal, who has also worked for Gucci. The two founders wanted to create a hub for Madrid's creative scene's artists, designers and actors. A beautiful place that is not overpriced and foster's a community-thought. Vibe, where Sita Abellan dances to house music!
Who went to Club Malasaña the night before, might have to sleep in on Sunday. For Clea, a Sunday in Madrid is best spend reading newspapers at home and having a slow day. The day is about recovering from an exhausting week: "Not to have a lot of plans, this is how I like my Sunday", says Clea. But her perfect Sunday ends with a good movie at the cinema. Cines Verdi is Clea's favourite since it has "an antique soul".
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