Guarnicioneria Lopez is one of those rare places where the distinction between the words “artisan” and “artist” seems to fade away. Here you’ll find a level of craftsmanship that’s simply astounding, truly the stuff of royalty (and we mean that literally – read on to see what we mean).
Like most high-end artisan workshops, the story of Guarnicioneria Lopez spans several generations, three in this case. It all started in 1952 in the city of Villalba del Alcor, when Francisco López Galán, a master leather craftsman, opened the Guarnicioneria to specialize on custom shoes and boots for both dress and equestrian riding.
Over the years Guarnicioneria Lopez continually expanded its area of specialty, until eventually the shop centered its production around four main areas:
- Leather goods for hunting, ranch work, field work, equipment cases etc.
- Leather goods for horse training, riding, equestrian competition, etc.
- Custom shoes and boots for dress, daily use, camping, field hiking, etc
- Fine leather handbags, belts, accessories, carrying cases, creative open-work items, etc
However one thing has always remained constant: at Guarnicioneria Lopez everything was, and to this day still is, made to order.
In 1980 Guarnicioneria Lopez transitioned to the next generation of the Lopez family. They also moved the workshop to its current location in the heart of Seville, just a few blocks over the bridge from the Triana neighborhood.
Today Guranicioneria Lopez is owned and managed by Paco (Francisco) Lopez, but to call him owner is a formality that doesn’t adequately portray the man. More properly, Mr. Lopez is the widely revered master craftsman and artistic soul of Guarnicioneria Lopez.
When you acquire one of his high-end creations, you are not just acquiring a sumptuous leather item that’s superbly built and flawlessly finished. You’re actually acquiring, in essence, a Lopez Original Creation – with the final touch of your own insignia if you choose.
This is because while Guarnicioneria Lopez’s high-end creative work is made-to-order, it’s also imagined, designed and executed entirely by Mr. Lopez himself using the purest methods, materials and equipment from generations past. Mr. Lopez is one of only a handful of leather artisans remaining in Spain today with the prodigious skills, tradition and imagination to produce these kinds of world-class items.
And, he is one of the very few that can include the Royal Family of Spain, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, as valued clients and proud owners of his work.
Mr. Lopez tells the story of how that came to be:
The King of Spain Don Juan Carlos had a photograph of his grandfather, King Alfonso XIII, dressed in full riding gear including his favorite pair of equestrian boots from that period. He commissioned us to make those same boots for himself, true to the style from that period. I personally visited him at the Zarzuela Palace to take his measurements, and I also researched extensively to make sure we had all the details right to include the essence of that period into these very special boots for Don Juan Carlos. Later The King himself came to the Feria del Toro in Sevilla and he personally thanked me for his new boots. And as you know, a few years later we also made a pair of custom shotgun cases for the King and a very special purse for Queen Sofia, also in a style reminiscent of the days of his grandfather King Alfonso XIII.
That great story happened about 20 years go, and those items, the King’s shotgun cases and the Queen’s purse, are now well-known masterpieces that merit their own write-up.
If you ever happen to be in Seville, we highly encourage you to visit Guarnicioneria Lopez. You will be amazed by their work and you will thoroughly enjoy meeting Mr. and Mrs. Paco Lopez.
(A little trivia: did you notice King Juan Carlos of Spain and Mr. Lopez framed in the picture above?)