Thursday 14 April 2011

{city playground} melbourne


Following the red thread ~ here are the things that I did when visited Melbourne.

I pretended to be the woman in the ‘Lose Yourself’ ad navigating my way

through Melbourne’s intricate network of laneways, arcades and alleys

using a ball of vibrant red thread, discovering tempting bars, galleries, boutiques…

I love wandering Melbourne’s labyrinth of laneways,

discovering new artists and designers, boutique shopping,

and imbibing cocktails at amazing bars that hide behind nondescript doors…

Melbourne is one of my favourite cities ~ I didn’t have time to visit all of my favourite haunts,

yet I still had a lovely time with a mix of new discoveries and trusted places.

    laneway exploring

    Melbourne’s secret heart are the numerous laneways. These narrow enclaves are filled with one-off boutiques, unique galleries, tiny cafés and hidden bars. Here is a snapshot.

    • Manchester Lane: home to the Design A Space Retail Gallery showcasing 70 independent Australian designers, Equitable Place with cafes stand-outs Rich Maha (Indian) and Sotto e Sopra.
    • The Causeway: taste the delights from Laurent, a French-style patisserie; Sushi Monger, where the lunch time queue curls out the door and onto the street; and hole-in-the-wall Guavabean mini.
    • Howey Place: is a dedicated fashion laneway, featuring labels such as Nevenka, Alannah Hill, Oroton, Bisconte and FCUK.
    • Scott Alley: checkout Lady Petrova and Miss Lau.
    • Jane Bell Lane is synonymous with ‘street’ and ‘art’.

    shoooosh…… secret discovery

    Self Preservation = Cafe + jewelry. A wonderfully quirky store co-founded by jewellers Anitsa Connor and Line Paras with Con Christopoulos. Self Preservation stocks work by a range of Melbourne jewellers as well as pieces made in their own Self Preservation studio above the shop. Meander through the displays as you sip on a coffee or a glass of wine ~ take a moment in your day to enjoy this space. It’s on Bourke Street.

    boutique love

    • Le Louvre ~ the iconic Le Louvre was on Collins Street for 80 years, and has relocated to an old tramways building at Daly Street, South Yarra. The interior features a mirrored staircase with fluoro pink graffiti by artist Dan Wenn and the iconic ‘Le Louvre’ logo has been translated to pink neon.
    • GPO ~ the former Melbourne General Post Office was converted into a contemporary shopping experience. Visit  Campers, Mandarina Duck, Akira Isogawa, Lisa Ho, Leona Edminston, Belinda and LIFEwithBIRD.
    • Flinders Lane and the offshoot arcades ~ Explore the nooks and crannies of this arts and fashion strip with e.g.etal, Craft Victoria, Christine, Zambesi, Alpha60, Green with Envy and Alice Euphemia.

    cuisine love

    • Cumulous Inc. eating house and bar opened in 2008 in Melbourne serves Andrew McConnell’s acclaimed food. The Cumulous Inc. cup (below) is a handmade ceramic cup made by Melbourne artist Ingrid Tufts.  Each cup is individually hand thrown and glazed and fits a standard 8oz takeaway lid.

    • Mirka at Tolarno ~ swirling, omnipresent, nave and vividly coloured images are the trademark of Melbourne artist Mirka Mora, and around whom Guy Grossi has built a small, delightful shrine. Mirka located at St Kilda is a special dining experience with Grossi-branded cutlery and crockery, and mouthwatering food. I can testify that the prawn risotto is memorable.

    vintage love

    • Izzi & Popo ~ Importer of antique and secondhand furniture and objects such as French bread boards, garden chairs, linens, tables, china, zinc and murano glass at South Melbourne.
    • Empire Vintage  ~ One off vintage pieces all sourced and handpicked by the gorgeous Lyn Gardener at Albert Park.  Empire Vintage is the result of Lyn’s life long passion for collecting the eclectic, fossicking for the fabulous, and striving for the ultimate in glamour and design. You’ll find unusual, old, decorative & functional pieces from early rustic furniture through to industrial wood-wares.  It’s a seductive magpie shopping experience of pre-loved clothing and homewares.
    • Chapel Street Bazaar ~ A treasure trove of curious objects, antiques and all things vintage at Chapel St Prahran
    • Tarlo and Graham ~ An amazing collection of weird and wonderful objects and vintage finds.

    art + culture

    We went to Bill Henson’s new exhibition opening at Tolarno Galleries of 13 new works with the trademark naked teens nudes, as well as two landscapes and an interior.

    Chris McAuliffe, television critic and director of the Ian Potter Museum of Art, says that the catalogue of works in the show is a very deliberate survey of his classical scenes: the nude, the majestic landscape, and a gallery interior – ”people in the thrall of high culture”. ”My first reaction was a sense he has looked into his own oeuvre,” he say.

    Melbourne has a plethora of galleries and art spaces ranging from large public institutions to smaller commercial galleries and artist studios. 

    • Craft Victoria ~ find  a beautiful objects in this delightful store curated selection of craft objects, handmade accessories and homewares. It’s an institution that showcases and promotes the vibrant craft and design culture of Melbourne.
    • Pieces of Eight ~ Melbourne jeweller Melanie Katsalidis has created this jewellery gallery and unique retail space showcasing the work of various super talented local jewellers.
    • Federation Square ~ see the Ian Potter Centre, and cutting edge video art and new media see changing exhibits at ACMI. Then cross the road to the National Gallery of Victoria.

    When I visit Melbourne I pretend that I am the woman in the Red Thread ad navigating my way through Melbourne’s intricate network of laneways, arcades and alleys with a ball of vibrant red thread, discovering tempting bars, galleries, restaurants and boutiques at every turn. It’s so much fun.

    And as I reflect I am recalling all the things I didn’t have time to do and enjoy. I will be back soon Melbourne, xox

    {Images 1 & 2. montage 3.Le Louvre by Josie Withers  4.  GPO + Royal Arcade 7. Empire Vintage via whole lotta lovely 8. Bill Henson photograph}



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    Sunday 10 April 2011

    my adventure to Balmain


    Nestled in the heart of Darling Street, Balmain is quintessential duckeggBLUE,

    one of my favourite stores selling industrial and antique furniture as well as collectable objects

    sourced from around the globe by owner, Leanne Carter-Taylor.

    I ventured forth with anticipation of what I would find.

    The adventure began when I left Darlinghurst with the Balmain destination programmed into my iphone. The app said to walk to Central station – a descent walk so I decided to catch a bus into the city and then catch a train. Then I discovered that the train doesn’t go to Balmain. The railway attendent was very helpful and pointed my in the right dirction to get a bus. I waited patiently for the bus to arive and it drove past without stopping! A number of people cursed. I was starting to wonder how badly I really wanted to go to quintessential duckeggBLUE.

    I decided to visit Gaffa Gallery instead, and gave up on the challenge of using public transport to get to Balmian. {Yes, I will use the ferry next time!} Then as I left the gallery a Balmain bus-stop appeared in front of me, and on the bus I jumped.

    These pics capture the allure of quintessential duckeggBLUE.

    And what did I find? A Hovis bread tin!

    I couldn’t resist a cute little Hovis imprinted baking tin. They came in three sizes and the miniature version caught my eye. Apparently a customer bought four the other day to bake little individual breads for a dinner party ~ what a lovely idea.

    Reclaimed from Scotland, original Hovis bread-baking tins, circa 1940/50′s. Exceptionally hard to find and proving very rare. Great for use in the kitchen, or for growing seedlings in the garden.

    Hovis is a UK brand of flour and bread, which began in 1886. The Hovis process using wheatgerm wholemeal flour was patented in 1887 by Richard “Stoney” Smith (1836–1900), and S. Fitton & Sons Ltd developed the brand, milling the flour and selling it along with Hovis branded baking tins to other bakers. The tin enables the bread to have the word “HOVIS” stamped on the surface.

    In 1973, Hovis became lodged in the public imagination through an evocative television advertisement, “Boy on Bike”, directed by Ridley Scott.  The advert featured the slow movement of Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9. The advert was voted Britain’s favourite advertisement of all time was repeated on British television for a 10-day run in May 2006 to commemorate the firm’s 120th anniversary.

    I am yet to use my little find. However, it started a great conversation at dinner with promises of us all having a baking day! I’ll let you know if that eventuates.

    Visit quintessential duckeggBLUE at 497 Darling Street, Balmain. They have an online store  that is updated weekly here. And just next door is duckeggBLUE, with covetable Womenswear labels and a stylish collection of ceramics, candles, soaps, books.

    Thanks to Leanne at quintessential duckeggBLUE for the wonderful images. Leanne Carter-Taylor moved  to Australia from the UK 11 years ago. Four years after landing she set up DuckEggBLUE, after heading up Amnesty International Australia’s buying & merchandising department. Writer and stylist, Natalie Walton has a great interview on her blog,  Daily Imprint.

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    Saturday 9 April 2011

    Mrs. Press Dressing Room


    Clare Press is the gorgeous creative force behind Mrs. Press.

    It was lovely to chat with her when I dropped by her very pretty salon on Oxford Street

    that is filled with her own fashion label, Mrs. Press, and special vintage garments,

    carefully renovated or impeccably preserved.

    Of course I couldn’t leave empty handed!

    The divine shop interior of Mrs. Press, Sydney

    About Mrs Press

    Mrs. Press is a thoroughly modern girl to be sure, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t
    like things to be done properly. That means silk knickers at all times, and the perfect satin
    slip to make a dress look the bee’s knees. Truth be told, she often wears them with nothing
    much else. Our girl loves to loll about at home dressed to thrill. She loves parties too,
    of course. Who doesn’t? Sometimes it feels as if life is one big party.

    As well as fashion Mrs. Press has a sumptuous Dressing Table range of candles and triple milled soaps, scented drawer liners, hand creams, shower gels, body lotions and room sprays in three signature fragrances.

    Clare has a lovely blog –  I could relate this line in her intro!

    … In another life I would live in a villa in Florence, travel with my maid and order my hats from Reboux.

    {Images via Mrs. Press and shop interior pics by Helen Fitzgerald}

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