Angel began selling the Barcelona brand four years ago. It was love at first sight when store owner Jackie Haliburton first encountered a few Desigual pieces in a small clothing store while on a trip to Rome.
Days later, when she visited Barcelona, she realized this was the city where Desigual clothing was based — she visited every Desigual store and bought a bagful of clothing to bring home to sell at Angel.
“It reminded me of my own Angel hand-painted clothing,” explains Haliburton. “It had the same bright colours and bold design that I put into my own work.”
In the intervening years, Angel now offers the largest selection of the latest Desigual collections on Canada’s west coast.
Haliburton was invited to Desigual headquarters last year to discuss giving her Gastown store more of a Desigual look. She agreed to let Desigual do a makeover of her store, which is on the corner of Carrall and Powell, across from the Gassy Jack statue in Maple Tree Square.
For the past week, a crew of Spanish speaking workers has transformed Angel, which will re-open Thursday.
“I’m hoping customers will go ‘Wow’ when they see the new look,” Haliburton said.
Angel Vancouver was started by Haliburton in 1978 as a hand-painted clothing store on Fourth Avenue in Kitsilano, later moving to Robson Street for 18 years and then to Gastown in 1998.
She still does custom hand-painted shirts for customers and for kids. Angel also carries three other Barcelona brands — Smash!, Paramita and Compania Fantastica — but Desigual remains the dominant brand in the store.
Angel also specializes in Desigual clothing designed by Paris couturier Christian Lacroix, who designs about 10 per cent of the Desigual line.
I was awestruck by the first girl dressed by Desigual that I saw in Paris. As I watched her, I could recognize in her a member of my own tribe. It was an explosion of colours and patchwork under the elegant, discreet and always monotonous French sky. It was fantastic, truly love at first sight, a breath of fresh air, all multicoloured, scorching, revitalizing, radiating Mediterranean colours and flavours and creeping into this global and colourless magma inhabited by zombies and clones.”