Perth's urban villages, each with its own distinct personality, offer more shopping than you can stuff in your suitcase.
By Fleur Bainger
By day, Perth folk stroll along the sand in beach-chic clothing. But at night the designer threads emerge. Fashion stores throughout the city embrace the variety, with local and international designers hanging their garments alongside not just fringed leather bags and geometric-form jewellery, but vinyl records and specialty sneakers. Here's our guide of what to buy, and where.
Leederville's shopping and cafe strip along Oxford Street has one of the best women's shoe boutiques around: Hunter Store, which also sells leather bags, fashion-forward jewellery and statement sunglasses. About 20 steps away, you'll find creative window displays of well-curated women's fashion that blend international labels with local designers. If you're in the market for something more musical, Urban Records is a vinyl and CD store with a split personality – at the back of the shop Urban Depot has edgy men's and women's clothing, as well as quirky gifts. Alternatively, peruse the aisles of the local bookshop, or pop into a shop with weird and wonderful Aussie wares. And if all that makes you hungry, grab a bite at excellent eateries such as Sayers, Duendé or Pinchos.
Claremont Quarter is a light-flooded, undercover, one-stop shop for designer fashion mixed with a department store and other high-end boutiques in one of Perth's most well-heeled suburbs. Parking is a cinch, leaving you plenty of time to check out Australian fashion brands, including the popular handcrafted bootmaker RM Williams, make-up stores and swimwear brands like Camilla. You'll find a little bit of everything at the upmarket department store, and there are two supermarkets, with Farmer Jack’s focusing on West Australian fruit and vegetables.
King Street is the home of high-end fashion labels, with Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Tiffany & Co all represented. The black cobbled street, beautifully lit with giant garlands at Christmas time, hosts a cluster of glamorous international boutiques at the southern end. The quieter, northern stretch is largely home to Australian stores and some of the city's coolest small bars and cafés. Having lingered in a few well-known shops, make sure you stop in at Zomp, a shoe store that you'll find impossible to leave empty handed. Get lunch – or a haircut – at Uncle Joe’s Mess and dinner at Varnish on King.
William Street, Northbridge, has a cool, one-off and locally made vibe. This has long been the grittier part of town, making it affordable for young, up-and-coming designers to get a start, so it's full of things you won't find elsewhere. Stroll the streets to find tailored women's fashion, street threads, bags and eclectic gifts. Starting at the city end, visit Chicho Gelato where everything is handmade from wholefoods, and flavour mixes include malted milk and cornflake cookie. Eventually you will come to William Topp, which sells creative gifts and jewellery at the northern end of the street. For lunch, hit The Hummus Club and do dinner at Shadow Wine Bar. Find accommodation in this hip hood at the suitably cool and highly recommended Alex Hotel.
In the heart of the city, the parallel pedestrian shopping malls of Murray Street and Hay Street jam in more than 900 shops, ranging from high street brands to shoe emporiums, telecommunications flagships, souvenir shops, department stores and micro-store arcades. Don’t miss the flagship Jurlique skincare store on the corner of Murray and William streets. Grab a bite at 140 or one of the fast-but-flash restaurants down art-decorated laneways.