Looking for something different in Miami boutiques? Wonderful is the only way to describe Upper Buena Vista. It’s described by the architects as a “community driven lifestyle destination where specialty retail, hospitality and wellness coalesce, embracing Miami’s culture and injecting it with global flare”. Picture this: lush vegetation and huge trees including an 80 year old banyan tree, their leafy canopies almost embracing the single story shops ressembling Japanese temples, thatched roof huts , and expansive windows that allow you to look into the fashion and décor finds inside. And finds there are, in 21 tasteful retail shops, including micro and petite boutiques. The concept is to offer affordable space for emerging designers and entrepreneurs. Then there are the complementary services – food, coffee bar, cryotherapy, hair, nails and beauty bar, tattoos and more. Here’s a short rundown of my favorites (and there were plenty), with a short description of each. This is not to be missed.
In a setting with a bamboo wall and colorful jungle printed wallpaper, Amazonica offers up Colombian favorites including choladas, shaved ice topped with natural fruit, and obleas, super thin wafers filled with your choice of everything from Nutella and arequipe to nuts, chocolate, and marshmallows.
It’s the creation of Julian Hoyos, recent winner of Colombia’s version of Master Chef. To further get you in the mood, there’s some serious salsa music.
True Joy is named for the fashion label of its South American owners. The standouts here are the handpainted jeans, jean jackets and platform slip ons, well priced at $120 to $129. Also find a selection of jewelry and tops.There’s design label Seta which has a shop in Doral that I wrote about in an earlier post.
Pure Soul, with shops in Old San Juan and Shelter Island, bills itself as for the “real woman” in warm climates of different ages, curves and body issues. The owner is a graduate of Parsons and uses cotton and linen in her loose fitting, flowing designs. There’s a selection of men’s shirts and pants including Harris cotton from Greece. Favorites were multi strands of beads made from pigment died Acai berries from Ecuador ($50 for five strands); Batik tote bags; hand painted filmy coverups;
and gift items such as a coffee exfoliant made with Puerto Rican coffee, limoncello and mint. Prices range from $60 to $300.
House of Findings is all about vintage – global (a robe from the 1970’s in Afghanistan), upcycle (meaning it’s redone), and handmade. Every era from Victorian thorough the 1990’s is represented. Find everything from clothes and shoes to jewelry and some fabulous beaded and satin turbans (from $99 to $249). The décor alone is worth a visit, with its colorful and whimsical upside umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, the objets and boudoir like ambiance.
Wapas features Venezuelan and Colombian jewelry, shoe and fashion designers including Promesas, Duran y Diego and bathing suit line Agua Bendita. Owner Marian Lopez is a fashion stylist consultant who has dressed famed Latin American celebrities at their first location in Caracas. Prices range from $35 to $300 with most in the $60 to $70 range. Favorites were the statement earrings and adorable day dresses.
Selfish 2 Boutique highlights fashion designers from LA, NY and Miami (accessories). They aim for providing an outfit for less than $100 (“look fab but not break the bank”). My favorites were the handbags and the athleisure wear.
House of V is the work of people of great taste. It reminds me of a much less expensive version of NEST with a smaller but well curated selection. Especially handsome were the throw pillows (starting at $200), woolen throws and poufs which they manufacture themselves from Belgium linen and Italian leather. They also feature their own line of home fragrances, candles made in France and at good prices. Very stylish jewelry too.
Sangre de mi Sangre, collections and custom made jewelry from Mexico. The brand has been featured everywhere from Vogue and Elle to Harper’s Bazaar.
Since you’ll be sure to spend time here, you’ll need a coffee and there’s no better place than Café Crème, from the owners of the former Buena Vista Deli. The chocolate croissant is worth the calories, and the other pastries looked equally good. They also sell fresh juice, sandwiches and salads, or you can go next door to Vista (see my earlier review).