1 February 2012

Shopping Down Under

Stylish, modern, bustling and decidedly cool, Melbourne is the cultural gem in Australia‘s glittery crown. A veritable treasure trove of charming cafes, quaint fashion boutiques, design hotels, museums and galleries and an eclectic and tantalising array of shops. Shops selling everything from burger ice creams to ukuleles, that leave shopaholics foaming at the mouth and empty in the pocket. We’ve selected our favourites, to get you in the mood for a little bit of retail therapy in the land down under.

MUSIC:

LORD UKE, 149 ELGIN ST, CARLTON, MELBOURNE

The ukulele; the little guitar that could, now has its own dedicated temple in Lord Uke. The shop sells models ranging from $80 student ukes right through to the $1139 Hawaiian timber Kamaka HF-1. The fabulous Lord Uke also offers lessons, repairs, and a full range of accessories, from songbooks, from rock legends such as AC/DC, to “finger ease” ointment. All hale the Uke.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-5pm

THE GUITAR EMPORIUM, 155 VICTORIA AVE, ALBERT PARK, MELBOURNE

Imagine a world without guitars. Are you imagining some kind of melancholy dystopia? We are. There’d be no Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix, Peter Green, Jimmy Page; and we’d all be far less well off if Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven had never happened. Sunny Albert Park’s, Guitar Emporium is a homage to this great instrument, stocking a great selection of vintage guitars, beginner acoustics, amps and pedals. Miscellaneous electrics and pawn shop bits and bobs cover the walls of this beautiful shop.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 10.30am-5.30pm, Sat 10am-4pm

HOME:

AFTER STORE, 99 THERRY ST, MELBOURNE

After Store is a homewares haven, full of crafty loveliness from tiny purple plastic people and Mexican medic figurines, to giant lego bricks. Owner and curator Phoebe Munro looks for handcrafted bits that have a strong story behind them, stocking an eclectic mix of recycled homewares from South Africa, Mexican handcrafts and textiles, African jewellery, stationery, fair trade craft, vintage and industrial furniture, and a considered range of products by local crafters and artists.

Opening hours: Tues, Thurs, Fri-Sun 10am-5pm. (Closed Mon and Wed.)

DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY, 834 HIGH ST, THORNBURY, MELBOURNE

This impeccably beautiful shop is the result of 20years of collecting beautiful nik-naks/running out of room to store the aforementioned, by owners, Jorge Koutoumanos and his partner Amanda Lawler. The shop sells one-off pieces from obscure designers, vintage furnishings, light fittings that swing from the ceiling, Bang & Olufsen turntables  and an eclectic collection of men’s and women’s vintage apparel.

Opening hours: Thurs-Mon noon-5pm (closed Tues, Wed)

BOOKS:

PERIMETER BOOKS, 748 HIGH ST, THORNBURY, MELBOURNE

Perimeter books is the love child of Dan Rule and Justine Ellis, and what a love child. This art & design bookshop has been beautifully put together creating a sumblime place for the sublime books which live inside. Publications on sale include some super hard-to-find Nieves stuff, the latest from Rainoff and Cosmic Wonder, the new mono.kultur and the first risograph-printed zine by North Carlton start-up Smalltime Books. A veritable book-lover’s heaven.

Opening hours: Wed-Thurs 12-6pm, Fri 12-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm

THE NEW CITY BASEMENT BOOKS, 342 FLINDERS ST, MELBOURNE

Possibly the best used bookstore in Melbourne, New City Basement Books is the hidden gem of Flinders Street. Box fulls of books are added to the shelves everyday, and many classics are to be had, from children’s books to aging oddities. This bookshop is a must for any bookworm, or Regular Reading Ronnie. Keep up to date with the new arrivals by following New City Basement Books on Twitter.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-2pm

VINTAGE:

PUF N’ STUFF, 116 GERTRUDE ST, FITZROY, MELBOURNE

Puf n’ Stuff are the fine purveyors of quality pre-worn wearables, stocking an exemplary array of man shirts, leather bags, sumptuous shoes, matching linen suits, furs, and flirty dresses. All set out beautifully and neatly on their perfectly spaced and colour-coded racks.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun noon-5pm

SUNSHINE & GREASE, 9 QUEENS PARADE, CLIFTON HILL, MELBOURNE

Originally housed in the CBD’s Bus Gallery, this treasure chest of new and second-hand records, books and films has found an all together more fitting home in Clifton Hill. The shop also has a gallery in the front space where regular exhibitions are held. Keep an eye on their blog, for regular updates and information.

Opening hours: Thurs noon-6pm, Fri noon-8pm, Sat noon-5pm

CLOTHES:

EASTERN MARKET, 107 GRATTON ST, CARLTON, MELBOURNE

A clothing shop inside a chapel; praise the Lord! Eastern Market is a hidden, but in no case unknown, emporium for high-end fashion lovers who appreciate hand-made garments. It stocks labels that have come all the way from Paris, such as Paul Harnden, If Six Was Nine, M.A+, and Carol Christian Poelle. It is the holy grail for the sartorially solicitous.

Opening hours:Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm

SOMEWHERE,  LEVEL 2, ROYAL ARCADE, 314 LITTLE COLLINS ST, MELBOURNE

Somewhere is a Swedish retail outlet, that is as clean and pristine as you would expect from a Scandinavian establishment, not to mention extremely asthetically pleasing. The whitewashed retail gallery stocks stylish wearables that are Nordic by nature, such as Dr Denim and Cheap Monday, and pieces from Danish classicists, Won Hundred, crispy shirts by Our Legacy, Swedish prep from Velour and stompy girl shoes by Provensen.

Opening hours: Mon-Thu 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm

PINCH PICK:

TOKYO BIKE, 5 PEEL STREET, COLLINGWOOD, MELBOURNE

Beginning as a small operation in a quiet Tokyo neighbourhood in 2002, Tokyo Bike has since expanded to London, Berlin, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne. Their mantra is comfort above speed and their beautful bikes are made to be cycled in style around wind-swept and sun-kissed city streets, not the tour-de-France. The store’s clean and simple layout is as far from the generic idea of a cluttered stuffy bike shop as you can get. The minimalsit interior allows the bikes to take centre stage, and they do so, charmingly well.

Watch the Tokyo Bike Short Film here.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11.30am-5.30pm, Sun 12-4pm (closed Tues)

If you fancy a trip to Melbourne, don’t just stop there. Make the most of time Down Under and add on a road trip to the Great Ocean Road or horseback riding in Victorian High Country. Visit Black Tomato for more information and to enquire.

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