Last week, some of the world’s biggest style stars descended upon Sydney for Mercedez Benz Fashion Week Australia, filling the city streets with well-dressed visitors decked in the latest designs by Vetements, Valentino, and more. Ask them where they got their wardrobe, and the answer was resounding: Parlour X, the country’s leading multi-brand luxury fashion boutique located locally in the city.
Founded in 2001 by Eva Galambos, a former commercial fashion agent, the store is now the city’s must-shop stop, housing both ready-to-wear and accessories from top luxury designers, including Chloé, Fendi, Saint Laurent, Comme Des Garçons, Stella McCartney, Proenza Schouler and Isabel Marant. It’s reputation as the holy grail of shopping in Australia makes its location all the more fitting: the historic St Johns Church on Paddington’s Oxford Street. Originally built in 1845, the church now serves as both the store itself, as well as its headquarters, located on the second level.
Here, everything you need to know about the hotspot.
The shop lets the zen-like nature of the church speak for itself. Carefully organized racks of clothes align the perimeter, often matching up the colors of the garments with that of the stained glass windows. At the center of the room sits a jungle-gym like structure that houses shoes and bags, just beyond the grand circular checkout counter.
What To Shop:
A carefully, selected buy of top international designers with an emphasis on the quirky and fashion-forward, as well as a great selection of Aussie designers, including Maticevski, Ellery, Christopher Esber and Romance Was Born, who seasonally create exclusive collections especially for the Parlour X customer.
Galambous herself. With the company headquarters on the premise, the founder is often found flitting around the store floor, helping customers style their look or find the right outfit for the occasion at hand.
Pièce De Résistance:
The ever-changing storefront windows, which mix art and fashion in unique ways. Currently on display: the latest from Balenciaga and Vetements, complete with a fabric backdrop that matches the collection prints, created exclusively for the store windows and given a glowing stamp of approval from the brands.
To Shop Online:
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In the week’s closing night spot, Romance Was Born certainly provided a grand finale, staging a rave-like runway show that saw models dancing and twirling their way down the catwalk. And in co-founder Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales’ exuberant designs, it wasn’t hard to see why. The duo describe the label as “storytelling through clothing; drawing on the spirt of dressing.” This season saw the pair collaborating with Australian artist Del Kathryn Barton, adding, “In doing so we’ve brought to life the girls that we imagine living within her work.” Based on the over-the-top, Rainbow Brite-esque collection, that life is one non-stop rager, nudity (several models walked out in just body paint and a thong) encouraged. Party on.
Albus Lumen is not the name of the brand’s designer, but rather, a moniker that speaks to the ethos of the clothing; a Latin phrase meaning “white light.” Indeed, founder and creative director Marina Afonina finds beauty in relaxed shapes and minimalistic design, describing her client as “effortlessly confident, self aware and have appreciation of simplicity in dressing.” For the new collection, Afonina looked to the ideas of luxury and versatility, focusing on tailored pieces in a clean, classic palette of white, cream and black with a hint of new colors like yellow and terracotta. “Inspiration was drawn from youth, nostalgia and freedom – designing the collection with a Sicilian vacation in mind, with button detailing hinting at shells from the coastline in different colors and textures – all tied together through the collaboration with jewelry designer Ryan Storer,” she explained.
Though creative director Ainsley Hansen wants to create “accessible” pieces, that doesn’t mean that Hansen & Gretel is lacking in high fashion appeal. “Wearability and versatility are key in our overall design aesthetic, where we often reflect on masculine shapes, and tailor them for a feminine body,” explained Hansen. For her latest collection, the designer was drawn to “various feminine archetypes.” The result was a youthful, bohemian-tinged show featuring easy, wardrobe staples, such a trousers and shirt-dresses, done if joyful prints. “Hansen & Gretel appeals to the daughter, mother, or grandmother of today,” Hansen continued. “Style classics are tweaked and reworked every drop, ensuring we are always moving our customer forward.”
Christopher Esber was one of the hottest tickets of the week, drawing a huge crowd despite the late show time of 8 p.m., and even later actual start time, thanks to staggered delays of other shows, and thus, models, throughout the day. The collection, however, quickly made up for any tardiness: a sophisticated and forward-thinking take on menswear and tailoring that included ribbed tank dresses overlaid with superfine, sheer flounces, merino wool mini-skirts, and grid-like lace details carried throughout. It was a standout homecoming show for the Australian designer, who recently presented his Fall 2017 collection during New York Fashion Week.
With Resort 2018, Strateas Carlucci made the case for patent leather—lavender patent leather, no less. It came in the form of slouchy bottoms, a memorable look in an altogether memorable collection. “[This season] explores what lies beneath,” explained designers Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci, citing inspiration from the Paris Metro and the work of the late Chinese artist Ren Hang. “Exploring the freedom, rebellion and playfulness reflected in Hang’s work, this season celebrates the grit and beauty of the real world.” You could certainly see the pieces—heavy separates, graphic t-shirts, and slouchy jumpsuits, among them—on the coolest girls in Paris. And that was the point. “The Strateas Calucci girl is strong and grounded,” said the designers. “Street smart but elevated, she chooses sculptural and tailored silhouettes to take her through her day. Matching a utilitarian approach with an understated elegance, she is cool and collected, a little bit rebellious and owns her strength everyday.”