Having already treated himself to a custom-designed leather jerkin to wear while watching the bullfights, the macho American writer, Ernest Hemingway, takes his friend Ava Gardner shopping at Loewe. She chooses a chocolate brown crocodile handbag.

The screen goddess is just one of a long list of Hollywood stars flocking to the Gran Vía store (and for cocktails at the nearby bar, Chicote). During the era when epic movies including “El Cid”, “55 Days in Peking” and “Doctor Zhivago” bring the biggest stars to town, Deborah Kerr, Charlton Heston, Cary Grant, James Stewart as well as Margot Fonteyn and Maria Callas sign the store's guest book.