The Balearic Islands of Menorca and Mallorca are known for their leather. Culturally close to business-savvy Catalonia, these are ancient places that have their well-kept secrets. Shoe making is personal there, as so many families have made their mark on the trade. Pons Quintana, Mascaró and Pretty Ballerinas, Homers, Virreina are among my all-time favorites. Today I’m introducing two brands from Inca, Mallorca: Lottusse and Barrats 1890. Lottusse, founded by Antoni Fluxá in 1877, has been going strong for 137 years. Barrats 1890 (Barrats with one “T”, not to confuse with Barratts from the UK) was founded by D. Miquel Llompart a few decades ago.
Being from the same town and the same tradition, the two brands offer two somewhat different visions. Both are on the conservative side, but Lottusse is more so than Barrats. Lottusse targets the executive class, while Barrats 1890 has a broader, more democratic appeal.
Both companies are proud of their highly skilled craftsmen and women. A lot of operations remain manual. Technology is used intelligently. This makes for pretty exclusive footwear, of course, but the prices are quite reasonable, relative to some Italian brands, for example. Barrats is more affordable than Lottusse. Exporting is a big part of the business, but it’s nothing new in those parts. Mediterranean islands have been trading with far corners of the world for a long, long time. Speaking of far corners, Lottusse is huge in China, with dozens and dozens of stores. In the US, on the other hand, it has two stores: in New Jersey and Miami. In Canada none. That said, thankfully Lottusse and Barrats are starting to show up on YOOX.COM (see two pairs of boots currently available on YOOX.COM below). Both brands have online stores, but they only ship within Europe. At least for now.
Here is a sampling of the shoes from the brands’ current collections, as featured on their respective websites, alternating between the two, starting with Lottusse. This way it is easier to appreciate the similarities and the differences between the brands.
This “gondola” bag by Lottusse is woven together from little leather rosettes (sheep leather) and it also comes in two other stunning colors; smooth brown leather wallet by Barrats – beautiful with its pretty leather rose.
Chic tote by Lottusse; moka-colored soft leather gloves by Barrats.
The love affair with the Balearic Islands continues!