Melbourne is known for its laneways.
Venture up some grubby stairs away from the bustling office workers on Melbourne’s Bourke Street and you arrive at a garden scene of pink walls, synthetic turf and white wrought iron furniture. Hipster waiting staff in retro outfits, who look as if they have just stepped off the croquet lawn, are serving pink cupcakes and bubbles to an assorted crowd relaxing in the spring sunshine.
This is Madame Brussels, one of Melbourne’s many roof-top bars, which serves everything from high tea in the day to late-night drinks.
“I call it Wisteria Lane meets Alice in Wonderland meets Peggy Guggenheim in her palazzo in Venice” announces the husky-voiced Miss Pearls, who is a co-owner of the bar she presides over.
There is something deeply politically incorrect about Miss Pearls, a former actor who sees the world as her stage. The Melbourne eccentric is fond of throwing fur parties in her back room – decorated as a gentleman’s club – and on the day I meet her is proud of several pairs of white ’70s tennis shorts she has bought and is determined to squeeze her young male staff into.
Miss Pearls is no stranger to taking a fashion risk herself. She has commissioned a young taxidermist to create her race-day hat and shows off a beautifully crafted headpiece made out of rather a lot of a dead magpie.
Welcome to Australia’s quirkiest city, where many of the best destinations for those visiting during the spring racing carnival are not at eye level.
“What I find about Melbourne is the hidden aspect, whether it’s dining, shopping or cocktails, has become really important to the city’s identity,” says shopping blogger Lady Melbourne (it seems honorifics are very de rigueur in this city).
“Melbourne makes you work for its shopping but if you are prepared to do the work you will be very well rewarded,” says the Lady, otherwise known as Phoebe Montague.
Dressed in a long cardigan and sporting glittering blue nails, Lady Melbourne takes us to the GPO for a spot of designer shopping, then we wind through beautiful arcades, up stairs and down alleys to discover out of the way shops such as Alice Euphemia, which stocks only Australian and New Zealand-designed fashion and jewellery, European designer store Marais and the Scandinavian store Somewhere.
For male punters, Henry Bucks in Collins Street and City Hatters at Flinders Street station are good destinations to pick up a hat.
For well-heeled women seeking race-day accessories, the perfect stop is Christine’s at 181 Flinders Lane. Down some steps and with a red tartan hallway entrance, the uninitiated could mistake this treasure trove – which is fit to make Carrie Bradshaw swoon – for a cheap vintage clothes shop.
This is the passion of professional bowerbird Christine Barro, who spent a quarter of a century buying glittering things for the former Melbourne destination store Georges, before opening her own store.
There is a bouquet of Philip Treacy hats, including his signature gondola hat, and the pillbox hat of the style worn by Victoria Beckham to the 2011 royal wedding. A $6950 pillbox studded with hand-sewn Swarovski crystals is the most outrageous of the collection. There are also Lanvin and Celine bags and shoes, and Adrian Lewis jewellery made from horn and quartz.
Melbourne’s changeable weather may be the butt of many interstate jokes, but Barro, who grew up in Sydney, insists that “the weather in Melbourne allows people to be more stylish because you can layer up”. She says that “it allows Melburnians to be more creative, because you are not outdoors as much, you are indoors doing something”.
to be continued
Lanvin Inaugurates their New Boutique at ‘the Avenue’ at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Towers
Renowned French fashion house Lanvin celebrates the inauguration of their new women’s boutique at ‘The Avenue’ in Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Towers. A contemporary mix of angular and linear patterns, the boutique is juxtaposed against rustic wrought iron display cabinets. The black and white checkered floor gives the boutique a modern edge, while exotic zebra skins add to the authenticity and is complemented by the bright pop colors of the brand’s collection of accessories which are displayed elegantly within mirrored box shelves.
Included is Lanvin Petite for the aspiring fashion-focused youth of the region. With a selection of intricately stitched dresses for ages 4 to 12, and patent colored ballerinas, both mother and daughter can look elegant in Lanvin. The boutique, which is situated on the lower level of the new shopping haven, devotes a corner to the beautiful Blanche collection. With a mix of delicate dresses and demure accessories, the radiant selection of romantic ensembles caters to any bride’s taste.
Teaming up with Avenue at Etihad Towers, the opening of the boutique was celebrated in typical Lanvin style. Running alongside the grand opening event at the Avenue at Etihad Towers, the brand presented the best of the Fall Winter collection in a luxury fashion show. While guests explored the newly opened stores, Lanvin celebrations were in full swing with animated and lively decorations displayed, inspired by the 10 year anniversary celebrations of Alber Elbaz at Lanvin. Brightly colored balloons, dancing mannequins and a vibrant window display attracted guests, while an in-store artist entertained them with Lanvin style portraits. Guests could chose a dress from the Fall Winter collection, along with accessories from the store, while the artist drew them in full Lanvin glory.
Hunters Creek home on wooded half-acre lot
By Lisa Zapalac
Set amid a wooded, half-acre lot in Hunters Creek, this Mediterranean-style custom home at 10822 Roaring Brook Lane in Memorial’s Hunters Creek is a stunning property with stunning with exceptional finishes and quality construction.
Listing agent Charlotte Leach of Martha Turner Properties said the two-story home with 6,453 square feet boasts an array of features from state-of-the-art technology to cabinets and doors that were hand-carved.
A front entry with hand-made wrought-iron gates opens to the beautiful property that has four outdoor security cameras.
Inside, a faux-painted ceiling and walls enhance the large entry that features arched openings and art niches.
Faux-painted walls and ceiling also define the large formal dining room, which includes arches, downlighting, stone flooring and a large chandelier.
Just off the entry and dining area is the living room that has stone flooring, a faux-painted ceiling and walls, custom drapes and expansive windows capturing views of the patio, pool and rock waterfall.
Space for big gatherings in Beverly Hills
With a grand terrace, gazebo and large motorcourt, this Beverly Hills estate is designed for entertaining guests. It is listed at $18.95 million.
Set behind 12-foot-tall wrought-iron gates, this Beverly Hills estate centers on a renovated traditional-style house polished to reflect the elegance and glamour of its early days. With a grand terrace for entertaining and a large motorcourt, the compound is designed for events and large-scale gatherings.
Formal entry hall, library with a walnut-paneled bar, 21-seat screening room, six fireplaces, gym, 2,000-bottle wine cellar/tasting room, offices, entertaining gazebo, tennis court, swimming pool, pool cabana
In the third quarter, 75 single-family homes sold in the 90210 ZIP Code at a median price of $2.4 million, according to DataQuick. That was a 26.3% price decrease from the third quarter last year.
Many outdoor activities near this custom home
“While there are so many amazing features to this house, I would say that the great room is my favourite. With its two-storey dry-stacked fireplace, open-concept design, reclaimed wide planked hemlock floors and a wall of windows bringing the outdoors in, it is truly the gathering room.”
The kitchen anchors the great room, which overlooks the living and dining rooms. “The post and beam design is warm, open and inviting,” she says.
Limestone counters and furniture-like cabinetry are features of the kitchen. The master bedroom is on the main level.
Built-in cabinets throughout, a custom wrought iron chandelier, a flagstone entrance, a wine cellar, an in-home movie theatre, a guest suite and a dog shower are other highlights.
Area amenities include the Bruce Trail hiking, cycling and cross-country ski trails, the Mansfield community centre and a ski resort. It is about 10 minutes south of Creemore and 25 minutes south of Collingwood.
This home would appeal to skiers at Devil’s Glen, golfers at Mad River and generally anyone wanting to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and arrive at their country home in just over one hour, Ms. Thompson says. “We have recently had several professional 30-something families buying weekend retreats in this area due to the proximity to Toronto” and local amenities.