Cappuccino Strip, Fremantle, Western Australia © Tourism Western Australia
How to shop Perth, with Elizabeth Clarke
Discover the constantly surprising and always innovative Perth style scene with a local industry insider.
Interviewed by Natasha Dragun
Fashion editor and The West Australian newspaper columnist Elizabeth Clarke has called Perth home for more than 11 years. In that time she has sat front row at countless runway shows, interviewed more fashion designers than she cares to remember, and has shopped and endless slew of cutting-edge boutiques across the city. It’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about the city’s style scene. She reveals the exciting creatives that are shaping Western Australia’s capital, and the shopping precincts you should browse while in town.
First stop: central Perth
"King Street, in the centre of the city, is lined with beautiful heritage buildings – it looks like a movie set! – as well as being home to international fashion houses like Chanel and Gucci."
King Street is right around the corner from Raine Square, a vibrant shopping and dining precinct which, Elizabeth says, “is emerging as the place to head for luxury, with Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co recently moving in.”
As for homegrown fashion labels, Elizabeth says there are plenty of local style innovators. “The fashion industry in Perth, although smaller than its east coast counterparts, is diverse, flourishing and innovative,” she says.
"We are a creative city that supports its artists and provides infrastructure for emerging designers."
“The Northbridge neighbourhood of the central city area is a great go-to for slightly left-of-centre fashion and fabulous vintage,” Elizabeth says.
“Morrison, Flannel and One Fell Swoop are local fashion success stories that continue to forge ahead, true to vision. I adore Bukeshla by Trish Bygott for her extremely beautiful hand stitching and linens. Poppy Lissiman is definitely one to watch, with her sunglass and handbag range taking both the US and Australia by storm - Beyoncé just wore Poppy sunglasses in a recent video,” Elizabeth says.
You can find Morrison stores at the Claremont Quarter in Claremont, a 20-minute drive south-west of the city centre, and in the charming nearby port of Fremantle, a 30-minute drive south-west of Perth. You’ll also find the Bukeshla store in Fremantle (it’s open Thursday to Saturday). Flannel has stores in Subiaco, an inner-city suburb just a 12-minute drive west of central Perth, and in the beachside suburb of Cottesloe, a half-hour drive south-west of the city centre.
Browse beachside boutiques in Cottesloe
Looking to add some signature Perth bohemian style to your trip? A popular place for swimming, snorkelling, surfing and shopping, the Perth suburb of Cottesloe (a 30-minute drive south-west of the city centre) is beachy and laid-back, yet very progressive when it comes to design. “I seem to always be in Cottesloe, which boasts like-minded, independent businesses that share a focus on international and local brands and customer experience,” Elizabeth says.
"Napoleon Street is the main hub and home to multi-brand boutiques like Love Story, ACO and Boheme Luxe. You can indulge in almost any label you desire here, from Isabel Marant and Stella McCartney to Anine Bing and Ulla Johnson."
“District boasts an impressive collection of European design brands,” Elizabeth says. It’s in Subiaco, a 10-minute drive west of Perth city centre.
Cottesloe’s neighbouring suburb of Peppermint Grove is home to Perth’s flagship outlet for Australian-owned furniture design company Jardan, which Elizabeth says is a “must-go”. You may not be able to fit one of Jardan’s sofas into your suitcase, but you might be tempted by its oh-so-luxe homewares and textiles.
Unearth rare, offbeat offerings in Fremantle
If you’re in search of the rare and unusual, a half-hour drive south-west from Perth’s city centre, the port of Fremantle is a cannot-miss. “This neighbourhood has some great stores, too,” Elizabeth says, “from Savvy Brands and Atelier in East Fremantle, to Perth brand Morrison, and Ginger Morris and Iridescent Sea on South Terrace.”
Housed in a former Fremantle diesel workshop, “Stackwood is home to local makers who exhibit and hold classes in everything from pottery to weaving,” Elizabeth says. “It’s a beautifully vibrant space that always feels inspiring.”
See art, buy art
“Perth has an incredibly high calibre of art,” Elizabeth says. “It isn’t at all pretentious – it’s very accessible.” Western Australia has a thriving Aboriginal culture, represented in the city’s “extraordinary range of Aboriginal art”, much of which you can discover at the Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA), in the city centre.
"This amazing establishment also houses the State Art Collection, with works from renowned local and international artists dating from the 1800s to today."
After viewing the collections, head to the AGWA Shop at the gallery to browse a selection of jewellery, art and design books and even beauty products.
Collectors of every variety will want to stop into the suburbs of Subiaco, West Perth and in nearby Swan Valley, where Linton & Kay Galleries has “extraordinary works from established and developing artists, ranging from Aboriginal art to sculpture and contemporary painting”, Elizabeth says. Hot tip: Check out Linton & Kay’s website ahead of your visit to Perth to see the available artworks for sale.