Melbourne’s Best Shops

September 4, 2012

When we think Melbourne, we think shopping! We’re crushing the new book The Fashionista’s Guide to Shopping in Melbourne – editors Emily Power and Antonia Magee share some of their favourite finds in the city of (shopping) love.

Within Melbourne’s vibrant retail scene are boutiques that are beacons—each worth a visit at least once in your life to be thoroughly inspired and intrigued.

Whether or not you can afford to buy a piece is irrelevant—the pleasure of wandering through the boutique transcends purchasing, it is a sensory experience. These stores have attracted cult followings, and many are frequented by local and international celebrities.

Alice Euphemia

Shop 6, Cathedral Arcade, 37 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000

An iconic fashion destination on the ground floor of the ornate Cathedral Arcade off Swanston Street, all of Alice Euphemia’s carefully curated pieces are Australian or New Zealand made. Owner Karen Rieschieck has a discerning eye for recognising and supporting new and established talent, a commitment she has held since the store’s launch in 1997. If a local or niche label is on the style radar, you’ll find an edit of the best of the collection on Alice Euphemia’s racks.

The emporium stocks established labels like Romance Was Born, Michael Lo Sordo and Lover, through to emerging brands, such as Kahlo, Jolet and Diaz. Hip-hop star Kanye West heard the good word about the boutique on his tour of Australia in early 2012, and ducked in unannounced to scoop up an Emma Mulholland digital-print backpack and some jewels by Dani M.

Rieschieck’s support for dynamic, innovative and individual brands has extended beyond buying to include a residency program which dedicates retail space to young labels. The art installations throughout the double-storey boutique are by leading fashion designers, including Magdalena Velevska, Claire Inc, Jenny Kee and Christopher Esber. This store is more than a premier store for exceptional fashion—it’s a place that nurtures and affirms the bright future of Australian fashion design.


Basement, 114 Russell St, Melbourne 3000

Uncomplicated fashion is showcased in the crisp and modern Chiodo basement emporium, where young men with a desire for the finer elements of modern dressing have shopped for 15 years. The in-house Chiodo label features alongside cool Japanese luxury brands such as Comme des Garçons and wallets and fragrances from its sub label Play, plus pieces by Junya Watanabe, IC Berlin eyewear, Officine Creative shoes and jeans by Superfine.

It also stocks the brand Kolor, which designer and founder Andrew Chiodo describes as one of the most exciting men’s labels he has seen: “It is a bit of a mix between Comme, Maison Martin Margiela and Dries (Van Noten) at its peak.”

Chiodo says his store stands out because it does not follow trends —it leads the way: “I am in fashion but if you read that yellow is in, Chiodo will not be doing yellow, because it is already too late.”

Devotees of Chiodos style include the arts community, as well as architects, graphic designers and discerning international students.

“We are different because we are a bit lighthearted and edgier,” Chiodo says. “We are not too serious—we love our fashion but we are random and sporadic, which is my personality. We are just about great clothing that can be worn, but not in a fashion-victim way.”


181 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 3000

Christine Barro is the keeper of Melbourne’s most exquisite finishing touches. Her covert international accessories parlour is a wondrous experience for any fashion lover seeking pieces to add personality and sparkle to their wardrobe.

Barro’s incomparable reputation as Australia’s accessories doyen is built on more than 40 years in the industry. This includes 28 years as an accessories buyer for the iconic department store Georges, a title that is limited in its descriptive scope considering her influence and impact. “I brought Fendi and Prada and Sonia Rykiel to Australia way back in the time when people were buying handbags by colour rather than by house,” says Barro.

Her jewellery box of a store, below Flinders Lane, is the place to find a bottle of the most sensuous perfume or an artistic hat for the Spring Racing Carnival. Try a spritz of Fleurissimo by Creed, the fragrance made for Grace Kelly for her wedding to Rainier III, Prince of Monaco.

When distinguished hat designer—and Barro’s great friend—Philip Treacy, who creates mind-boggling masterpieces for superstars Lady Gaga, Grace Jones, Madonna and the British royals, visited Melbourne in 2011, he chose to have an intimate show in Barro’s boutique.

What’s your favourite Melbourne shop?

The Fashionista’s Guide to Shopping in Melbourne is the ultimate guide to the city’s stunning array of fashion boutiques and stores. With over 250 retailers listed it is a must-have guide for anyone interested in fashion. RRP $19.95.

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