If your idea of a holiday adventure sport is perusing the very best fashion boutiques a city has to offer, you will just love Melbourne.
By Lorna Edwards and Amy Bryant
Home to many of Australia’s best internationally renowned designers, Melbourne is where Australia’s devoted fashion loyalists regularly descend to stock their wardrobes with some seriously fine threads.
Along with its famous laneways, the city offers some unique shopping centres and streets that stock everything from bargain buys to top Australian designer pieces and prestigious international labels.
Melbourne Central shopping centre boasts the striking centrepiece of the historic Coop’s Shot Tower, once the tallest building in Melbourne in the 1880s. It is now spectacularly encased in a towering glass cone that is 20 storeys high and one of the most Instagrammed images of the city. In over 300 stores that surround its base, you can invest in some new fashionable threads from the likes of Sass & Bide, Scanlan Theodore or Country Road, among many other shops.
If size does matter for your shopping venues, you might want to make the pilgrimage to Chadstone shopping centre on a free tourist shuttle bus from Federation Square. Only half an hour from the city centre, Chadstone (known affectionately as “Chaddy” to locals) boasts the title of being Australia’s largest shopping centre with over 550 stores. You’ll find all your favourite luxury brands here, including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Dior, Burberry, Balenciaga, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Fendi and Tiffany & Co. There’s also a plethora of chain stores and boutiques to suit all budgets and a HOYTS Cinema Complex and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre to keep the kids entertained.
The grand old Victorian buildings from the gold rush era on Collins Street are where the well-to-do of Melbourne work, dine and shop in what is still Melbourne’s financial heart and main street. Dubbed the “Paris end”, the leafy eastern end of Collins Street is now home to a plethora of high-end fashion and jewellery boutiques. You can sashay between the flagship stores of Cartier, Tiffany & Co, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Georg Jenson and Bvlgari or just watch Melbourne’s ladies who lunch and captains of industry promenade among the offices, restaurants and boutiques. There’s also the grand 19th-century Block Arcade that is worth the stroll for high tea at the city’s famous Hopetoun Tea Rooms with an indulgent cake display.
Starting in the up-scale and trendy area of South Yarra, wander down the famous shopping and dining strip of Chapel Street. It is the ultimate destination for international fashion and beauty brands, Melbourne-based labels and favourite Australian retailers. The street stretches two kilometres (just over a mile) from South Yarra to Prahan. The South Yarra end is where high street fashion houses like Zimmermann, Scanlan Theodore, Alice McCall and Sass & Bide can be found. Towards the Prahan district, the street is lined with independent labels, funky fashion shops ranging from high-end to affordable labels. In the Chapel Street Bizarre you’ll find everything from knick-knacks, art, jewellery, fashion and furniture. Intertwining with the many vintage and fashion retailers all along Chapel street are a range of vibrant bars and restaurants.
Check out the Jam Factory on the corner of Chapel Street and Toorak, where a range of retail and dining outlets like Nine West, Target, Top Shop/Top Man and Boost Juice are, plus a 15-screen cinema complex.
Dip into fashion, food and culture at the Melbourne Emporium, the luxury designer destination in the heart of the city. Situated between Myers and David Jones, the six-floor grandiose building is home to international and home grown high-end brands like Chanel, Calvin Klein, Armani Exchange, Michael Kors, Dion Lee, Camilla and Marc, Carla Zampatti and Kate Spade. Casual wear labels you’ll find include big names like UNIQLO, Top Shop/ Top Man, and fashion favourites like Swarovski, Peter Alexander, Superdry and Industry. Tie in a trip to the Emporium with a day exploring the exciting city shopping precincts.