Fashion Agency Urges Shoppers To Get Off-line And Support Local Stores

Like the seasons, fashion has its cycles, so with the close of the Spring Carnival chapter, I set out to uncover what’s hot for the party-set this summer – especially those wanting to up the ante at a special ball or festive occasion. Evening wear, I thought, visions of flowing gowns glistening with sequins springing to mind. Things that I used to wear but no longer fit into… But I’m happy to be a fashion voyeur on behalf of others, so I rang Carmel Busacca at Caval Fashion Agency for the low-down on what’s trending right now.

Carmel: Owner and Manager of Caval Fashion Agency

Carmel Busacca: Owner and Manager of Caval Fashion Agency

One of Melbourne’s top fashion agencies, Caval, supplies retailers such as La Bella Donna (Collins Place), Gowns (Brunswick), Archies (Richmond), Aspirations (Brighton) and Swish (Bentleigh, Port Melbourne, South Yarra) with evening collections, mostly from the label George. ‘The George label is very popular with bridesmaids,’ said Carmel. ‘Not only are they very reasonably priced, we’ve got a point of difference for our customers to other evening-wear labels in that a lot of the range is made in Australia. It’s owned by George Spiro who has owned the label for forty years.’

 

Johanna gown in powder blue - RRP $575

Johanna gown in powder blue – RRP $575

 

Summer deliveries are being made right now – specifically for the party season. ‘That seems to be our main focus,’ says Carmel. ‘As well as bridesmaids and that’s an area where George definitely has a niche market. With all the beautiful beading and quality fabrics, the gowns are excellent value. They’re also made in a really good range of sizes from six to sixteen which is a rare thing.’

Most of the George samples at Caval are in a size 10, so luckily my wonderful friend Rochelle agreed to come along and model for this shoot before she starts a new television production job this week. Got her just in time! (Maybe if the Cool-Sculpting works, I can give it a shot down the track….) Here’s some of our favourites from the day.

 

 

Whitney denim blue gown - RRP $529

Whitney denim blue gown – RRP $529

Charlotte gown - RRP $644

Charlotte gown in champagne – RRP $644

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kendra gown - RRP $460

Kendra gown – RRP $460

Ellena gown - RRP $575

Ellena gown – RRP $575

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pixel gown - RRP $483

Pixel gown – RRP $483

 

I asked Carmel whether the dramatic rise in internet shopping had affected business. ‘It has affected the industry for daywear, but as far as we’re concerned, the George label stands strongly in the community and we do have brand followers. Especially from bridesmaids who want to try the dresses on. We’ve heard lots of horror stories about people buying off the internet! This is event shopping. They need to feel they’ve got the right garment and it looks fabulous on them.’

‘Plus George has a great website which is used a lot. Girls can pick a dress, using size, colour and measurements. Then they give us a call and as an agent, we can guide them in the direction of which stores stock that particular style.’

 

 

Caval also represents interstate labels such as Matthew Eager, Wayne Cooper and Banana Blue which it sells to clients mostly from Victoria and Tasmania. ‘We’re not just employed by the manufacturer,’ said Carmel. ‘We’re an agent so it’s in our best interests to look after clients and give them the best service possible. We also guide them in terms of what is selling well here, which is different to other states.’

So I guess we sell more black in Melbourne, I ask? ‘Overall we do,’ says Carmel, smiling, ‘but we are moving more towards colour. Particularly this season. Especially with evening wear, people are really wanting colour like oranges, emerald greens and cobalt blues. They’re really focusing on that – to make a statement.’

But as we chatted, our conversation veered down a more serious path as we started discussing the demise of our favourite Melbourne shoppings trips. You know, Bridge Road in Richmond, Toorak Road in South Yarra and pretty much any local retail street where more shops seem to be flashing a CLOSED sign, rather than open.

‘We really want people to support our retailers. Because if they don’t , the local strip shops and local designers will go out of business. People really need to reassess and look at what they’re buying. We’ve lost a lot of accounts. So many shops have closed with owners saying it’s all too hard. The business is just not out there.’

‘It’s really sad,’ lamented Carmel. ‘What’s going to happen to the days when we could have a shopping trip with our girlfriends and make a day of it? You won’t be able to do it for much longer.’

What better excuse do you need to get a group of friends together and plan a shopping day? Get to it guys – let’s save our local retailers and designers from extinction!

(For more information, contact Caval Fashion Agency on 0401 502 356 )

 

 

Something original for the races ‘POPS UP’ at Crown

The Spring Racing Carnival is underway, so time for some fun and frivolity, hey? I’m sure that’s what thousands of Victorians are thinking. Although when you look at the statistics, the money generated by the fashion and tourism industries during this time is staggering – well into the millions of dollars – so in fact, it’s a very serious business.

I’m sure a lot of that money comes about from people (like me) who leave race-wear shopping till it’s almost too late, then splurge in a fit of panic-buying. Because really, getting any kind of an outfit organised for the Spring Racing Carnival is a bit of a nightmare. Life’s already a circus act of juggling ten balls while snow-boarding down a roller-coaster (can you book the dentist, pick up the dog food, phone your Dad, visit your sick friend, write a best-seller, do the accounts and bring in the washing – all in five minutes please?) so finding time for fashion is a bit an indulgence. Usually it’s a last minute affair with a combination of things from years past, spruced up with perhaps a new necklace, worn in the hope that no-one will recognise your recycling efforts.

This year I tried to be a bit more efficient and actually phoned a milliner two weeks ago (I thought well in advance) only to hear her practically snort with laughter and say I was waaaaaaaayyyyy too late. Seriously? Yep. She was all booked up and worked to the bone. I didn’t bother trying anyone else, thinking I’d get the same reply. So that little task went to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list and I imagined at some point, I’d madly dash into David Jones or Myer and grab anything they had left off the shelf – probably the day before Derby Day.

The LK Boutique & Richard Nylon Spring Racing Emporium

The LK Boutique & Richard Nylon Spring Racing Emporium at Crown

 

Then – JOY – an easy solution arrived in my email box. Balls had been falling off my roller-coaster ride all week, so I sighed with relief. Surely THIS was the answer to my all-important hat problem? One of Australia’s most prestigious and talented milliner’s, Richard Nylon, was to exhibit and sell his designs as part of a POP-UP shop at Crown and I was invited to a preview.

(For those of you who aren’t up to speed with the concept, a POP-UP shop is a temporary store set up for a short-term purpose in the middle of a permanent shopping establishment)

 

 

 

Richard’s wares would be show-cased alongside the very fancy jewellery of LK Boutique – their joint project entitled, naturally, The LK Boutique & Richard Nylon Spring Racing Emporium.

The LK Boutique & Richard Nylon Spring Racing Emporium

The LK Boutique & Richard Nylon Spring Racing Emporium at Crown

Many a fashion expert has dubbed Richard Nylon as Australia’s best milliner so I do think the chance to wear one of his pieces to the races and actually pick one off the shelf, is a rare and wonderful opportunity. Not to mention convenient!! In fact, I think you could justify your purchase by arguing that his hats are in fact, works of art. And what price a rare work of art?

 

Richard Nylon and Amber Petty

Richard Nylon and Amber Petty (trying on one of Richard’s designs)

 

Besides his talent, I adore Richard’s innate and original sense of personal style. He stands out in a crowd with his penchant for perky caps, colourful costumes and neck-ties. Sometimes I wonder whether he would have been more comfortable living in a by-gone era, but am glad he’s in the here-and-now so we can enjoy the benefits of his creativity.

 

 

 

James Kennedy of LK Boutique with Ann Peacock

James Kennedy of LK Boutique with Crown General Manager, Public relations, Ann Peacock

 

Hosted by Crown’s endlessly elegant Ann Peacock, several other well-known faces also came along to the launch to enjoy a glass of champagne while deciding which hats suited them best.

Kim Watkins, Ginny Gibson, Toni Skaife

Kim Watkins, Ginny Gibson, Toni Skaife

 

 

 

 

 

Canape or fascinator?

Canape, jewels or fascinator?

 

 

 

Checking out the range, I voted the evening head-pieces (surely these ARE art… ) and lady-bug necklaces as first past the post when it comes to style. But enough from me. I’m going to let the photos of Richard’s stunning work, along with some LK jewellery, speak for themselves.

 

Crimson plumes by Richard Nylon

Crimson plumes by Richard Nylon

Pill-box Love hat by Richard Nylon

Pill-box Love hat by Richard Nylon

Blue pleats with feather fringing by Richard Nylon

Blue pleats with feather fringing by Richard Nylon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink and white feathers by Richard Nylon

Pink and white feathers by Richard Nylon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evening headpiece by Richard Nylon

Evening headpiece by Richard Nylon

 

 

Neon magic by Richard Nylon

Neon magic by Richard Nylon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diamond Butterfly by LK Boutique, $7200

Diamond Butterfly by LK Boutique, $7200

Quartz and diamond Lady-Bug necklaces $3500 each

Quartz and diamond Lady-Bug necklaces by LK Boutique, $3500 each

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what did I pick? Well, choosing something so EARLY suddenly felt a bit odd… Where else would I get that adrenalin rush from putting it all together at the last minute? So I didn’t pick anything. I’m going to live dangerously and come back next week. (plus I need to colour match with outfits!!)

As an added bonus for customers, LK Boutique is offering a 30% discount on selected items, such as the Diamond Butterfly necklace to the right which is usually $9000. The POP-UP store, LK Boutique & Richard Nylon Spring Racing Emporium, will be open until Stakes Day. Happy shopping!

A la Mode at Bahamonde

By now, you might be familiar with my lovely friend Rochelle, who has kindly modelled for the Fashion section of this Blog on several occasions. But I have to confess, while she looks the part, Rochelle isn’t actually a model. She’s a highly regarded television production whiz who is currently in-between jobs. Knowing she’s likely to start another one soon, I thought I should grab her while I could when I was heading down to Elwood today to check out Bahamonde. Set in the heart of funky Ormond Road, Bahamonde stands out from the rest with a more upmarket selection of smaller Australian designers, as well as a few fab imports.

Bahamonde in Ormond Road, Elwood

Bahamonde in Ormond Road, Elwood

Owner Kelly Savage used to work in the boutique before taking over from the previous occupants about ten months ago. Since then, she’s introduced a few new labels to the store, including one from Copenhagen called Rabens Saloner – plus a greater range of footwear. She says she likes to choose stock that she would wear herself. As well, she takes in to account the fact that a lot of mothers shop with their daughters, so she showcases labels that appeal to both age groups.

 

Maya McQueen Watermelon loafers $169

Maya McQueen Watermelon loafers $169

I was quite drawn to these soft suede orange loafers. (Although Kelly described them as ‘watermelon’…) It’s quite tricky to find comfortable shoes to wear with jeans and I’m just NOT a ‘ballet flats’ kinda gal. Sadly, she didn’t have my size, but they are getting more in. (from Brazil)

 

Viktoria and Woods Hawke Patch Crew top $209

Viktoria and Woods Hawke Patch Crew top $209

 

 

Rochelle (like myself) is a huge ‘rose gold’ fan, so putting on this top by the talented Viktoira and Woods was a dead cert to put a smile on her face.

 

 

Indigo dress $179

Indigo dress $179 and Lilya Mariana wedges $249

 

The sun wasn’t shining, but the pink and orange floral pattern of this Indigo dress is bound to make you feel like Spring is actually here… the perfect number for lunches, a romantic  picnic or a country race meeting. The tan wedges are also a versatile option, sitting well with just about any outfit.

 

 

 

'Violet and I' Downtown lover dress $369

Rabens Saloner lilac dress $270

 

 

 

This lilac dress just about jumped off the racks when I walked into the shop. It’s one of the imports from Copenhagen that Kelly was telling me about. I can just picture Princess Mary in this, can’t you? It’s a beautiful flowy number that almost harks back to yesteryear but with a modern twist – a romantic maxi dress that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.

 

 

Alexia Wood three-panel dress $89

Alexia Wood three-panel dress $89 with Jam Squared Style sandals $175

 

 

For a more casual look, I chose this three-panel colour tunic dress from Alexia Wood. It’s a relatively new Australian label that’s well-priced. Plus the sandals – another attractive flat option – were, by fluke, a perfect match!

 

 

 

 

Viktoria and Woods August keyhole shirt $277 with Red singlet Milk at Thistle $139

Viktoria and Woods August keyhole shirt $277 with Red singlet Milk at Thistle $139

 

Last but not least, another piece from the Viktoria and Woods collection – a striking silk shirt – light as a feather and a gorgeous fuschia colour to make your skin glow. Kelly said Bahamonde used to showcase mostly dresses but now incorporates a greater range of separates.

 

 

When our work was done, Rochy and I popped across the road to Zartowa for a much needed coffee. Gotta pay these models somehow…

 

Bahamonde is located at 119 Ormond Road, Elwood.

Ph: (03) 9531 2936

 

 

Manning Cartell steals the limelight with new store at Chaddy

 

Chadstone must be Melbourne’s most popular high-end shopping centre. I don’t have the statistics to prove it – only the personal experience of facing car-parks full to overflowing every time I venture there,  plus queues snaking out of Prada and Chanel every time I walk past. It beats city shopping because at least those crowded car-parks are FREE and during Melbourne’s long, cold winter, it’s much more cosy shopping indoors. And yes, the range of stores, catering to all wallets – from rob-a-Swiss-bank-to-buy-anything to shoe-string budgets – is vast and varied.

New store on the block

New store on the block

But if your budget doesn’t stretch to European haute couture (and mine certainly doesn’t) then Chaddy also stocks a great selection of local designers, with stock carrying far more reasonable price-tags. One of my favourite Aussie labels comes from three Sydney-based sisters who started up Manning Cartell. Over the years, their stock has mostly been sold through independent boutiques, but gradually, with growing success, they’re opening their own stores. I always loved buying their stock (sorry, loved even more Channel TEN buying it!)  as a newsreader, because their jackets were so consistently well-cut and stylish. And it was tricky finding chic jackets that fit the ‘newsreader mode’ without being ‘mother-of-the-bride’…

Manning Cartell

Manning Cartell

So I was thrilled to find they’ve only JUST (two weeks ago) opened a new store at Chadstone. My girlfriend Rochelle and I were shopping there on Saturday which meant I happened to have a willing model on hand, (after a little arm-twisting) to showcase some of their best stock. And oh boy, do they have some good stuff!

I like the fact they do suits with skirts OR shorts, so you can dress this look up or down – for work or play. Their fabrics are divine – suits in textured metallic weaves or soft-spun gold thread, with light-as-a-feather silk tops to float underneath. It’s the contrasts between tailored, sharply structured pieces (suit jackets, leather singlets)  with floaty, ethereal elements that gives the label its unique edge.

Little Mermaid gold jacket $549; shorts $299 with Lemon Sugar and Mango top $349

Little Mermaid gold jacket $549; shorts $299 with Lemon Sugar and Mango top $349

Wicker Man jacket $649, skirt $399 with Sportsman on stilts black leather singlet $399

Wicker Man jacket $649, skirt $399 with Sportsman on stilts black leather singlet $399

 

Sailors Valentine dress $599 and Sugar and Mango top $349 with Ebony Mask Shorts $449

Sailors Valentine dress $599 and Sugar and Mango top $349 with Ebony Mask Shorts $449

 

Manning Cartell also showcase a range of accessories, such as metallic belts in pewter, rose gold or gun metal for $299 each that would update any outfit. Another coveted piece was the most beautiful structured lace skirt I’ve spied this season and is SOOOO on my birthday wish-list. Not to mention a classic sequinned tunic that has a funky 60s feel and would be a great trans-seasonal after-five number.

Metalllic belts $299

Metalllic belts $299

 

Intertwined Black Lace Skirt $499

Intertwined Black Lace Skirt $499

Jewel box tunic, pewter, $699

Jewel box tunic, pewter, $699

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But my favourite on the day would have to be this sexy peach dress which gets away with having almost ‘too-much-in-your-face-cleavage’ because of the fabric being demure lace…

Seashell Lace Dress, peach; $599

Seashell Lace Dress, peach; $599

 

If I had the figure for it, I’d grab it, but given the post-giving-up-smoking additional kilos aren’t budging, I’ll have to leave that one for Rochelle who looks amazing in this. In fact, with the right hat, I think it would be perfect for Oaks Day, don’t you?

How to get the Hamptons ‘look’ at Harris Scarfe

Ooh la la – The Hamptons – sounds awfully posh, doesn’t it?

Can’t you just see yourself swanning about in those expensive designer clothes, while you holiday in your third-generation mansion at the Hamptons and try to decide what champagne to serve at your next sophisticated soiree?

It was easy to pretend I was at the Hamptons yesterday. The sun shining on white sands, the clear blue sea, and look –  in the distance, some cool young jet-setters hanging by the water – a sophisticated bar decked out in spring colours close by…. yep, it was all there.

Who are all these cool dudes?

Who are all these cool dudes?

 

But on closer inspection, I saw the cool young jet-setters were actually standing on boxes. Ah, that’s right, models! I was attending the Harris Scarfe spring/summer fashion and homewares launch at the chic Sandbar by the bay in Middle Park.

Models show-casing the spring/summer fashion range for Harris Scarfe

Models show-casing the spring/summer fashion range for Harris Scarfe

It was a fabulous lunch, attended by a colourful collection of Melbourne identities, including actors Melissa Bergland and Michala Banas,  Zoe Badwi, Ann Peacock, Heath Meldrum with wife Brodie Harper, Nick Bracks, Tania Buckley and Amber Petty. Former Miss Universe Australia Jesinta Campbell even dropped in from Sydney to join in the fun.

The SandBar looked stunning – decked out in gelati-coloured lanterns and of course, Harris Scarfe’s new homewares collection – fresh vibrant colours giving us a taste of spring. The lunch was very Hamptons – French champagne and jugs of Pimms cocktails, while gourmet fish and chips, elegantly wrapped in a Harris Scarfe brochure, added a casual, beachy touch.

The Sandbar - Middle Park

The Sandbar – Middle Park

 

It’s the first public event since Harris Scarfe (now 160 years old)  was sold in July by Momentum Corporate to Pepkor, a South African company who also owns Best & Less.

Marketing Manager Chris Kontos said Pepkor are committed to moving the brand forward. He describes the store as having something for everyone. ‘We’re every person’s retailer,’ he said ‘ We sell goods at both the high end of the market, plus great stock at low prices.’

Their new spring/summer range is certainly a testament to their word. It includes all the bright neon and gelati colours seen in just about every fashion store right now, mirrors trends and boasts very competitive prices.

Harris Scarfe fashion

Harris Scarfe fashion

Harris Scarfe fashion

Harris Scarfe fashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harris Scarfe fashion

Harris Scarfe fashion

Harris Scarfe fashion

Harris Scarfe fashion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harris Scarfe fashion

Harris Scarfe fashion

 

I don’t know who’s getting it right at Harris Scarfe, but they’re bucking the downward retail trend. Last year they tallied up revenue of $325  million and are expected to open new stores next year.

Maybe it’s because of the Marketing Manager Chris Kontos. The man seems to have taken Melbourne by storm in recent months – his charm and looks making him a welcome addition on the guest-list of any function of note. Maybe his panache and winning ways have rubbed off on the budget brand, making it appeal to a broader market? Is that why Harris Scarfe now seems kinda cool?

Michaela Bana and Harris Scarfe Marketing Manager, Chris Kontos

Michala Banas and Harris Scarfe Marketing Manager, Chris Kontos

Zoe Badwi, Heath Meldrum, Brodie Harper

Zoe Badwi, Heath Meldrum, Brodie Harper

Jesinta Campbell

Jesinta Campbell

Prue Webb, Judy Romano, Kate McGrath

Prue Webb, Judy Romano, Kate McGrath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simone Campbell, Ann Peacock,Steve Carey

Simone Campbell, Ann Peacock,Steve Carey

 

 

 

 

 

 

And to top off a brilliant lunch, we were given a fabulous ‘Goodie Bag, full of homewares samples.

Harris Scarfe Goodie Bay

Harris Scarfe Goodie Bag

I loved the taste of summer with a lime-green handle ice-cream scoop, a Sheridan hand-towel (proof Harris Scarfe does sell ‘quality’ brands) a lime-patterned oven-mitt (yay – I needed one of those!) and even a heat-controlled hairbrush. BUT best of all…..

…wait for it….

…we were given….

YES!    STEAK KNIVES !!!!!!!!!!!!!

STEAK KNIVES!

STEAK KNIVES!

 

 

 

 

What’s RED HOT at Scanlan & Theodore?

Well-positioned on Melbourne’s most famous fashion strip – Chapel Street – Scanlan & Theodore has long been winning accolades in the style-stakes, always managing to keep one polished stiletto ahead of their competitors.

Scanlon & Theodore, South Yarra

Scanlon & Theodore, South Yarra

According to all reports, retail is doing it tough right now – but judging by the number of customers brushing shoulders in the store yesterday, Scanlan & Theodore isn’t feeling the pain. That’s probably because there aren’t many Australian designers who can match them for quality and unique styling.

I was also impressed by the number of sales staff in store yesterday, making sure no customer was left unattended. Now that’s rare. And while they’re all blessed with model-perfect looks and legs that go forever – which is a tad intimidating – they’re all very friendly and helpful – another big tick.

But pricing? Wow. I guess that’s why some people call fashion at this level ‘art’ as opposed to the mass-produced, high-turnover, land-fill fashion from the global franchises.

And there are definitely some pieces worthy of that title. Such as this amazing red lace dress, which hugs the silhouette like a classic Valentino. Pure art.

Exquisite detail

Exquisite detail

Long red lace Guipiri dress - $2000

Long red lace Guipiri dress – $2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

But before you get too excited, only two were made and even though they carry a price-tag of $2000, both have been snapped up.

 

Baby jersey long dress $700 with Textured leather sleeveless jacket $650

Baby jersey long dress $700 with Textured leather sleeveless jacket $650

 

Keeping with the red theme, I was also impressed with the long red jersey dress, layered with a sleeveless red leather jacket. Not something that would suit anyone bigger than a size eight, and I’m not sure exactly where I’d wear it – but I still fancied it anyway. I reckon Cate Blanchett could carry it off.

Textured red leather sleeveless jacket $650

Textured red leather sleeveless jacket $650

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For race-goers wanting to lock in their Spring Carnival wardrobes early, I found two dresses that might appeal. The first, being more structured, would work well for Derby Day, while the floaty mix of aqua, pink and purple would be perfect for Oaks.

Duchess floral dress $750

Duchess floral dress $750

Aqua spinner print dress $550

Aqua spinner print dress $550

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personally, I really wanted to take home the black leather peplum top, which turns a prim trend funky. The urban weave bomber jacket could also have found a home in my wardrobe – hypothetically.

Black leather peplum top $550, Black pencil skirt $350

Black leather peplum top $550, Black pencil skirt $350

Urban weave bomber jacket $800

Urban weave bomber jacket $800

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in case your eye was drawn to the necklace decorating the peplum top, take a closer look. Indeed, a lovely pendant on a metal rope – yours for just $600…

Silver metal Collet marble necklace $600

Silver metal Collet marble necklace $600

 

Scanlan & Theodore also showcase a fab range of shoes and handbags. I’m very partial to rose gold right now so loved the black bag, which looks far more attractive than the photo gives it credit. And the camel Alaia studded wedge would be perfect with just about anything – if only they could off take a zero…

Black chain clutch with rose gold $400

Black chain clutch with rose gold $400

Alaia studded wedge $1400 and Mini square bag with yellow $450

Alaia studded wedge $1400 and Mini square bag with yellow $450

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, I should stop going on about the price-tags. I’m probably just bitter and twisted that I’m still paying off a big holiday and can’t afford them. But if you can, get on in there and happy shopping.

Scanlan & Theodore is located at 566 Chapel Street, South Yarra.

Ph: (03) 9824 1800

They also have stores at 1061 High Street, Armadale and in Little Collins Street in Melbourne.

LIONS SHARE OF FASHION

 

After taking my girlfriend Rochelle, to a hospital appointment in the city the other day, we needed something to lighten the mood. The consultation went well, but any length of time spent in a medical establishment can only serve to spark a carpe diem shopping spree.

Brunswick Street was only a whisker out of our way so we decided it was worth exploring. It’s one of the few-strip shopping locations in Melbourne that still feature niche boutiques instead of major franchise stores. It didn’t disappoint. The hours evaporated rapidly. And just when we thought we were done, we came across a store perfectly suited to Rochelle who is famous for her obsession with cats.

Lion In Love

Lion In Love

 

Lion in Love. I was thrilled for Rochy, and also for myself, because I instantly had a willing model. The store does mainstream chic with a touch of the bohemian, plus a few pieces that tastefully incorporate feline into fashion.

 

 

Okay, so there are about three trillion t-shirts out there featuring lions and cats, but this sequined number stands out from the jungle because of it’s particular attention to detail. This is taking bling to a whole new art form. And we love those hypnotic red eyes… the lion that is, not glamour model Rochelle.

Lion In Love sequin t-shirt - $89

Lion In Love sequin t-shirt - $89

 

T-shirt - $69

T-shirt - $69

 

 

 

Being more of a dog lover myself, I was pleased to find the boutique also caters to those with a penchant for pooches. Or wolves…

 

 

 

 

Leopard print has made a big comeback this winter (again…) and because we know it will always be in fashion, it’s a worthwhile investment. We loved this dress because it also gave us a chance to experiment with the many very reasonably priced accessories in the store.

Leopart print dress - $99, Black/gold belt - $49, Gold plate necklace - $49

Leopart print dress - $99, Black/gold belt - $49, Gold plate necklace - $49

But just to prove Lion In Love does have pieces without a feline flavour, here’s a dress that’s a bit Jackie O and a bit Chanel-ish. The ring is also from the store’s accessories collection and is just $29.

Red knit dress - $159

Red knit dress - $159

 

Rochelle did such a great job as a model, I’m going to have to ask her to come with me on my next fashion foray. And just for the record, (because someone asked after the last fashion post) no, I am not paid by stores to write this. I just focus on shops I come across that appeal to me and hope will also be of interest to you.

 

Lion in Love

Lion in Love

 

Lion in Love is located at 329 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. (Ph – 03 9415 14660

A Sweet Mistake – finding Urban Soul

Truth be known, I wasn’t looking for a new fashion find. I was driving up Glenhuntly Road in Elsternwick when I spied a new Discount Lollie shop. Well the brakes just screeched to a halt practically of their own accord and I found myself automatically racing in to stock up on all my favourites – chocolate covered honeycomb, raspberries, chocolate bullets, liquorice all-sorts… My excuse was that I was headed to a friend’s house-warming party that evening and I was sure she’d welcome a lolly bowl to help feed her guests. But I knew I’d scoff my fair share before handing over whatever remained from my personal binge-fest.

So there I was, heading back to the car with two bags full of sugar when an unassuming boutique caught my eye. It was the red dress in the window that did it…

Urban Soul, Elsternwick

Urban Soul, Elsternwick

Curious, I dropped my guilty purchases in the car boot before exploring. Urban Soul is a treasure trove of affordable fashion from an eclectic range of local designers. They also showcase a creative mix of accessories.

Urban Soul jewellery

Urban Soul jewellery

 

Better still, Urban Soul is holding a sale right now, so if you drop in soon, there’s plenty of bargains to be had. Here’s my favourites.

 

Elliat Burnt Orange lace top - $69.95

Elliat Burnt Orange lace top - $69.95

 

(1) I very much fancied this peach lace top by Elliat. You’ll need to wear a cami unless you like the exposed-bra look, but using different colours underneath will help give you a fresh look every time you wear it. And it’s on sale – reduced from $89.95 to $69.95.

 

 

 

 

 

Shona Joy Old World Body Con dress; emerald green - $200

Shona Joy Old World Body Con dress; emerald green - $200

 

 

(2) Continuing with the lace theme, there’s also this emerald green dress by Shona Joy. At least this one comes with lining and costs $200.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dress though, that I really wanted to buy was the red one I’d spotted in the window, by Maurie and Eve. Right on trend, it sports a peplum feature, plus (although it’s hard to see from the photo) the centre panels separate when you put it on, giving a sneaky cleavage reveal – which contrasts naughtily with its initial prim impression .

Maurie and Eve Peplum dress: poppy - $249

Maurie and Eve Peplum dress: poppy - $249

Sadly I knew I’d be devouring those lollies in the boot before long, and was unlikely to ever fit into the coveted red dress. The best option for covering gluttonous sins was this wildly decorative cape. Love at first sight.

Mad Love cape - $169.95

Mad Love cape - $169.95

Urban Soul can be found at 395 Glenhuntly Road, Elsternwick.

Ph – (03) 9523 5500

 

VEGAS FASHION – TO BLING AND BLACK

 

Given this recent trip (featured in the Opinion section) was a family affair, I knew I’d be spending less time trawling fashion stores than I usually do when travelling child-free. But in Vegas, Ronnie and I racked up a few kilometers in the heat – which wasn’t so hard given that most of Vegas’ prime shopping is set up indoors in uber-glamorous shopping centres.

In this modern era of globalization and chain stores, most of the fashion is the same in every major city in the world. Except that the high-end stores will be a season ahead of their counterparts in Australia.

One chain store I was delighted to come across was the English label All Saints. It’s a favorite if we’re in the UK and one chain store that has yet to reach Aussie shores.

All Saints

All Saints

The Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan

 

All Saints is part of the Cosmopolitan Shopping Centre (attached to the hotel of the same name) along the main strip of Vegas. It’s more famous for it’s glitzy Chandelier Bar than the shopping, but it’s still got a decent enough selection of stores to make it worth a visit.

 

All Saints exterior

All Saints exterior

 

 

Being in Vegas, I was naturally drawn to the ‘bling’ factor – and All Saints had plenty of it.

 

 

 

 

 

Embellished Pipail dress

Embellished Pipail dress

 

 

 

From this‘Embellished Pipail Dress for $495 (US) ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

…to several other sequined numbers – selling for slightly less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried a couple on, but was having a ‘fat day’ so put them back on the racks.

Beckley

Beckley

 

Beckley at the Cosmopolitan was another find – although they wouldn’t permit photos inside. Their fashion range is fab – featuring designs from Zac Posen, Herve Leger, Opening Ceremony, Cut 25 and Vivienne Westwood.

Moving on to Caesar’s Shopping Centre, there were more of the high-end chain stores – such as Jimmy Choo and Burberry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After being saturated in sequins, I was instantly drawn to something rarely spied in Vegas – PLAIN BLACK FASHION – a feature of Burberry’s new winter range. A true Melburnian, I was naturally drawn to the dark side….

Black Burberry bag

Black Burberry bag

 

 

 

 

 

Black Burberry boots

Black Burberry boots

 

 

But I couldn’t afford the four-figure price tags. We’d just taken a chopper ride over the Grand Canyon after all. I could but yearn…

 

 

So then Ronnie and I ducked over to The Boulevard Mall – an outlet shopping centre at 3528 S. Maryland Pkwy for something more in our price range. The Boulevard has a great range of discount stores as well as sporting goods shops – excellent for buying nephews caps featuring logos from their favorite US baseball team.

Ronnie scored some cute denim shorts and a couple of t-shirts, while I picked out a couple of fluro striped singlets for a mere $4.50 each. Now that’s what I call a bargain.

 

 

Rock Shop, Brighton, 19.6.12

The Fashion Update brings you pictures and news about clothes I’ve spotted and coveted at various shops around Melbourne. I hate reading about fab clothes in magazines that won’t be in stores for months, or I have to phone a Stockist to find it… This way, I’ll bring you ‘on-the-spot’ snaps of fave fashion, tell you where you can buy it, the label, the price and phone number/address for the store it’s from. So if you DO want to snap it up, you can do so immediately.

Here’s what I found today at the Rock Shop in Church Street, Brighton.
It’s a store that lives up to its name – rocking it with a great range of funky dresses from a variety of independent, smaller local designers. The price tags are pretty reasonable too, which makes it even more appealing.

(1) Just because it’s might be winter, doesn’t mean you have to wear black ALL the time. I love a splash of colour when the skies are grey and this Bec and Bridge dress will definitely lighten your mood.
(See more of this label at http://becandbridge.com.au)

Amazonia Crimson dress by Bec and Bridge

Amazonia Crimson dress by Bec and Bridge – $220

(2) Or you can opt for winter white polka dots in a Maurie and Eve number. It’s a little on the short side, but if you’re blessed with a great set of pins, go for it!
(See more of this label at www.maurieandeve.com)

White polka Maurie and Eve dress - $220

White polka Maurie and Eve mini dress – $220

(3) Heading into the evening, you’d find it hard to go wrong in this Shakuhachi leather contrast shift. It’s a bit tricky to see from the photo, but the bottom part of the dress if leather – hence a slightly higher price tag. A great cut plus a bit of sparkle. Nice.
(See more of the label at www.shakuhachi.net)

Shakuhachi leather contrast shift dress - $580

Shakuhachi leather contrast shift dress – $580

The Rock Shop is located at 93 Church Street, Brighton.
(Victoria, Australia)
Phone number – 03 9592 9836