Forget the castanets and the shawls. For something truly original from Madrid, get a hat by Candela Cort. One-of-a-kind and made-to-measure, Cort's headpieces are like abstract sculptures, and indeed have been exhibited in numerous art galleries. She crafts them from feathers, buttons, gold-painted cardboard, wire mesh, X-ray film, even doctors' tongue depressors. One is made from a Spanish fan, spread open and decorated with a single leaf; another is a delicate bird's nest of wire with silver paper cutouts. What they all have in common is their weightlessness. "To wear a hat properly, you have to forget you have it on," says Cort, who studied fine arts and worked as a photographer before turning her hatmaking hobby into a full-time business ten years ago. She has no plans to open a boutique—that would be too commercial, she says—so for the time being Spain's aristocrats, actresses, and fashionistas continue to make the pilgrimage to her apartment on the outskirts of the city. Prices for the hats (primarily for women, but Cort occasionally makes them for children) range from $215 to $425. $ By appointment; tel/fax 34-91-741-73-57.
$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.