Sometimes haberdashers do not simply create a physical garment, but also invent them. Bel y Cia in Barcelona is one of those few.
Since 1842, when it was founded by French immigrant, Viuda de Federico Bel, the widow of Frederick Bel, this shop has been anything but an ostentatious institution in the world of fine men’s clothing. A perfect example of discreetness: the labels inside bespoke shirts are barely noticeable, being the size of a tiny stamp. With such understatement, it comes as hardly a surprise that King Juan Carlos I is one of Bel y Cia’s customers.
Another famous patron was the Count of Teba. One day in 1946, he came to Bel and requested a roomy garment for shooting. Apparently, he got his inspiration for the resulting cardigan from King Alfonso XIII. He wore an interesting hybrid between a shirt and a jacket, paired with a very unique kind of plus fours while hunting with the Duke of Sutherland. Interestingly, the ladies with their party wore knickbockers for this event. King George V, who was known for his conservative taste, supposedly remarked with regard to this group: “Three women dressed as men, and one man like a woman in petticoats”. Undeterred by this statement, Teba and Bel created a dartless jersey jacket without canvas that featured four buttons in the front, a patch chest pocket, two patch pockets with flaps, an inside pocket, and square quarters. Today, it is best known as the Teba jacket, although it is often made from softer fabrics such as cashmere-wool blends, and is worn as a
cardigan substitute on casual occasions. Nevertheless, it can still be ordered made-to-measure with the original stretchy jersey fabric, which is ideal for shooting purposes. Alternatively, for summer wear, there are lightweight wool/silk/linen blends or fine Tasmanian wool available. In addition to the original shape with rounded quarters and front darts, one can now order the Teba jacket with front darts and rounded quarters. It only comes as made to measure, and costs 745 EUR with tax.
In addition to the Teba jacket, Bel y Cia offers several other products of equal note, such as simple but elegant cuff links that feature mother of pearl buttons linked by a gold or silver chain. Bal is also famous for their guayabera, a casual linen shirt which is perfect for warmer days. Custom dressing gowns are available in innumerable varieties of fabrics with all imaginable details.
Altogether, Bel y Cia is one of the few haberdasheries in Barcelona, and you should definitely stop by when in town. Meanwhile, you might want to visit Sleevehead’s blog for more information about the Teba Jacket.
20 Paseo de Gracia<
08007 Barcelona, Spain
Tel: +34 93 301 5347
Fax:+34 93 318 9045