luxe shopping - Barefoot, Colombo
Written by Emma Boyle
Successfully combining shop, gallery, café, and bar, Barefoot is Colombo’s hippest hang-out and home to some of the island’s most creative minds.
Launched by the influential artist and designer Barbara Sansoni in the 1960s, Barefoot is Sri Lanka’s premiere lifestyle store. Tucked innocuously beside the Galle Road in Colombo’s Colpetty (Kollupitiya), the kaleidoscopically coloured geometric fabrics sold within quickly became the darling of Colombo society, and its convivial garden café and art gallery a haven for Sri Lanka’s creative elite. Like an Aladdin’s cave, Barefoot lures you into a world of vivid colour and positivity. Rolls of flamboyant handlooms, priced reasonably by the metre, tower above a vibrant collection of handmade tablecloths, bedspreads, napkins, cushion covers, and wall hangings. Children’s toys theatrically enliven shelves, whilst downstairs hang clothes, bags, sarongs, and shawls. Barefoot’s fabrics are 100% Sri Lankan, and further island representations include fine local crafts (lots of brightly painted woodwork and stone carvings) and specialist book titles. To the back of the store, the Barefoot Gallery presents artists, musicians, poets, and filmmakers with a ready platform to showcase their work. The all-day café – a popular music and events venue – makes the perfect after-shopping soother; delicious dishes are served in a sublime courtyard setting.