Daily Life


Gimme five... beautiful boutiques

Flush with cash and bereft of something delicious to wear? What to do? Where to go? Not online necessarily, when part of the joy of these Canberra boutiques is in the tactile, rummaging experience of shopping in a bricks-and-mortar world, Claire Low writes.

Salvage Vintage at the back of Landspeed Records

In the ever-changing stash of stock curated by Abi Barry, you could find a retro blouse printed with images of writing implements or a twirly green-and-white frock from Japan with a full circle skirt and generous bust. There are quite a few new pieces in the mix: the sort of cute little dresses that suit hipster ladies who dream of being Alexa Chung or Zooey Deschanel. In all likelihood there'll be a 1970s-tooled leather bag just begging to be taken to a sunny, boozy music festival. With vintage, remember, sizing can be tricky, so set aside plenty of time. This isn't a place to grab and go as much as it is to pick carefully and ponder.

Velvet Lane

The new kid on the block and one we're backing as an up-and-comer. The retailer-meets-e-commerce business has set up shop at Lonsdale Street Traders. It will spruik designers such as Ellery, Christian Lacroix, Josh Goot, Kirrily Johnston, Romance was Born and Camilla and Marc via its website, and through its showroom or online concept store in the retail hub. The idea is fashion addicts try on pieces in person, then orders are processed online at the shop.

April's Caravan

A treasure trove and so whimsical, this Lyneham shop bursts with the joy owner Netti Vonthethoff has for dress-ups and vintage. The clothes look as though they could outfit the entire cast of Scooby-Doo for a live-action remake. Retro-fabulous pieces tempt with pocket-friendly pricetags.

Vonthethoff herself is only too keen to help customers unleash their inner vintage vixen so letting her work her magic is the key to having a Brady Bunch-style day.

Department of the Exterior

The style in here has a sophisticated, modern and minimalist appeal. The pieces are artsy, the fabrics exquisite and the style home-grown. Local, ethical and sustainable design are in the mix.


You'll find labels such as High Tea with Mrs Woo and the butter-soft leathers of Nancybird. The clever-chic garments are crying out to be worn somewhere avant garde.

Soho and Momento Dezigns

These two are listed together as they're different arms of the same body and united by the razor-sharp buying sense of owner Roz Wright. Drop in for plastic-fantastic Vivienne Westwood, for Melissa shoes or maybe some to-die-for digitally printed Josh Goot. Or perhaps you'd prefer some sparkly Peter Lang accessories.

It's a real roll-call of great Australian fashion edited with a gimlet eye. It's hard to walk in and not form an unhealthy attachment to at least one cocktail dress. Keep an eye out for international labels too such as Red Valentino (the Italian powerhouse's second line).


Comment are now closed