By now you’ve probably heard about the big guns: there’s Japanese casualwear giant UNIQLO, the multi-level Topshop Melbourne flagship and the oh-so-fancy café court. But if you’re going to do Emporium, you might as well do it properly, because there are lots of little surprises hidden within its six floors and 48,000 square metres of retail space.
Our tip: start at the Lonsdale Street entrance. You’ll get a little pang of nostalgia as you walk through the grandiose 1911 Myer façade, chased with a futuristic hit from the monolithic concierge desk devised by Qantas A380 interior designer David Caon. This is the ground floor, and it’s home to a mixed bag of old favourites like Nine West, Peter Alexander and Swarovski, as well as newbies like Austrian enamel jeweller FREYWILLE. You'll also find top-tier brands include Michael Kors,Victoria’s Secret, Oroton, Furlaand Chanel. A ground floor hero also has to be Superglue: a double-storey buffet of brands that's also home to a denim specialist, cafe, lolly pop machine and lots more.
As a hub for youth and urban wear, the ground level level is part hipster-tastic, part sport-chic. Delve deep into the darkly-lit Superdry store for some Americana-meets-Japanese-graphics street wear. Turn right toward David Jones, where you’ll find Industrie, Capsule and Mag Nation. The Waiting Room by Dr. Denim – the first stand-alone store in Melbourne from the Swedish jeansmiths – will deck you out in clothes befitting a morning spent with a long black and a Moleskine notebook. Next you’ll find Zoo York – here in Australia for the first time in all its grungy, graffiti-inspired glory.
Just around the bend, you’ll find the usual sportswear suspects, including Surf Dive N’ Ski, Rip Curl and Adidas. You’ve also got UCLA, the collegiate-style shop by the brand Lonsdale. The clothes are comfortable and well made, but the downside here is that you can no longer wear a University of California jersey and say you did the 'whole college thing'. People just won’t believe you.
When you get to the first and second floors, you’ll really start to notice the difference between the disorienting mall maze of old and Emporium’s vertically-oriented network of bridges and tunnels. You’re constantly aware of what’s above and below, and you can nip to other levels easily. Level one provides a mix of middle to high-end brands including Diesel, Aesop and Calvin Klein. You’ll find German designer Marc Cain’s elegant first Melbourne store.
The second floor is home to the largest collection of Australian designers under one roof. Even the well-loved Zimmerman, Jigsaw, Saba, Jac + Jack have upped their game with cleaner and more modern layouts. Don't miss out on ultra-modern fashion from Dion Lee. The Japanese minimalist homeware and clothing store MUJI is adjacent the Melbourne Central bridge link.
Still up for more shopping? We’re impressed, but we do suggest a break. On the third floor, you’ll find what management have dubbed the ‘café court’. They've eschewed Starbucks and Subway for the local charms of Earl Canteen, Jimmy Grants, Din Tai Fung, South Melbourne Dim Sim, Chinta Ria Soul, I Love Pho, Becasse Bakery and Charlie & Co. Burgers.
Want more Emporium? Check out our ultimate shopping and eating guides below.