Melbourne might not boast the weather or the beaches of many other Australian cities, but it's a town that prides itself on culture and style. There is a myriad of stores from the southside to the north and everywhere between, all offering something unique, in spaces that feel as special as the products they sell. Whether shopping for objects by local designers and artists or just browsing, these are some of our favorite stores in the dynamic and ever-evolving city of Melbourne, Australia.
A shop, exhibition space and architecture studio, Brunswick's Mr Kitly is paradise for lovers of beautiful trinkets and homewares. The shop—which is a total sanctuary; top-to-toe in treasures and leafy plants—certainly has a Japanese-vibe (owner Bree Claffey has an affinity with the country's culture and design aesthetic), but it also maintains a universality in its carefully selected products; all of them simple yet thoughtful. With the collection of items spanning handmade ceramics to succulents and planters, brass kitchenware to crochet cushions, there is something for everybody looking to find a left-of-center gift or a treat to admire in their own home. There is also an online store that ships internationally for those not making it to Melbourne any time soon.
Opening its doors way back in '97, this forward-thinking store has been a staple for artistically inclined style enthusiasts for years—and its offerings (and the space itself) are still spectacular. Carrying clothing, jewelry and accessories by designers from Australia and New Zealand, Alice has some pretty serious labels on show; from Romance Was Born to Karla Spetic, Kuwaii and Aussie icon Jenny Kee. While everything is also available online, the shop (located in the historic Nicholas Building) conjures the idea of a museum in space, so it's worth a visit.
Located in the impressively populated Curtin House (along with other retailers worth paying a visit like Bul, Collector's Corner and Metropolis) Someday Store opened in 2003 as a platform to showcase Perks and Mini (aka P.A.M.) and now carries Australian and international brands, as well as magazines, books and records. There's also a collection named The Chosen One, which is made up of hard-to-find vintage attire from brands like Moschino and Margiela. Their collectable and covetable wares are also available online.
Lunar Store opened its Greville Street doors back in 2012 and hasn't showed any signs of slowing. There is a cheerfulness to the space; possibly because it's covered in bright, tropical colors and is bathed in natural sunlight. Owner Jules Unwin has very particular, but playful, taste and it's reflected in the store. "The mission was to create a retail space where people can totally engage with the products—pick them up, handle them, feel all the textures—in an environment that is super relaxed and fun," she says. There are plenty of pieces from Australian artists and designers (including Arabella Ramsay, Bridget Bodenham and Limedrop) in-store and at Lunar's online shop, which just launched.
Unlike cluttered and cosy bookstores of yesteryear, Thornbury's Perimeter Books is a light, airy space that feels sparse but is actually full of inspiration. Selling primarily art, design and photography books and magazines, the shop is anything but one dimensional; it also offers small press works from local and international publishers, as well as its own in-house imprints (which publish books and journals focused on everything from architecture to typography). Perimeter often acts an art space: hosting photography exhibitions and zine and book launches. While they also have an online store, nothing beats losing an afternoon flipping through the carefully selected rare and glorious publications in the flesh.
Third Drawer Down
A George St favorite for some time now, Third Drawer Down has just opened a second location on the other side of the river—in Prahran—where they offer bi-weekly workshops. The Fitzroy location also acts as an exhibition space, while offering a huge variety of weird and wonderful treasures—from seats shaped like doughnuts to homewares and accessories. With brands like Confetti System, Tom Dixon and the store's own in-house line of goodies (which includes a colorful dish towel made in collaboration with David Shrigley) it's a place to get thoroughly lost in. The hundreds of items at TDD are available online too.
Pet Shop Girls
This store is "a teeny, friendly fashion paradise" according to owner Chiara Ippoliti, and really is just as fun as its excellent name. Carrying goods from Melbourne-based labels including Pageant, Dress Up and POMs; plus bedding from Per-Tim; and a line of tricky-to-find vintage shoes (PSG Select) from luxury brands like Chanel, Miu Miu and Dolce & Gabbana, Pet Shop Girls is perfect for those who like their style to blend high-end, function and wackadoo. From gaudy, oversized sunglasses to cutesy jewelry and feminine frocks, this Curtin House store (also housed online) has a special treat for every type of girl you know.
Pieces of Eight
This stunning shop, located at Russell Place, was designed by renown Australian architect Nonda Katsalidis. Entering underneath a shower of gold tasseled garlands, visitors are faced with all kinds of fascinating goods—mostly spectacular contemporary jewelry, but also various artist-made objects. With offerings from local talent including Lucy Folk, Tim Fleming and Tessa Blazey, there are hundreds of precious treasures on show—each more covetable than the last.
Third Drawer Down image courtesy of Shantanu Starick, Perimeter image courtesy of Warwick Baker, all others from respective stores
Word of Mouth presents a destination the way we experienced it. Following both trusted tips and our own whims we explore with the goal of finding what's unique to that place. For deeper looks at some of our favorite metropolises, check out our CH City guides