The best shops on Gertrude Street
Winter or summer, Cottage Industry makes us feel all warm inside. Channel your inner nanna with all things knitted, quilted, crafted and cottage, a place where the supremely talented Penelope Durston has found a home to sell her other-era wares.
Cross over Brunswick Street and you’ll hit Leonard St boutique – for those playing at home, you might recognise the name from their Flinders Street or Northcote stores. This is the place for that pair of green apple-print jeans you never knew you wanted but now desperately have to have. A breath of fresh air on the fashion front.
At the Standard Store, Nicola and Orlando Reindorf hang only the finest fabrics and gentrified cuts from European labels like Kate Sheridan, Mr Natty and Sessun. They like their naval stripes to be French and their shiny lace-ups handmade, and you can expect to be treated like royalty.
With a tagline on its website simply stating ‘We make nice clothes’, you can be sure that this Melbourne-based brand is all about well-made, understated garments with none of the fiddly impractical trappings that you might find elsewhere. The design studio is based above the Gertrude Street boutique, which opened in 2012 as the brainchild of British couple Sam Rush and Henry Allum.
This is our kind of design store, pairing a retro aesthetic with modern warehouse chic. Their lighting fixtures are to die for, and if you’ve walked along Gertrude Street at night before, you would have been one of the many punters staring in wonder at the glorious illuminated front windows.
A striking and always vibrantly window-dressed Victorian corner terrace has been home to this Fitzroy institution for over 25 years. With 10 colourful rooms of wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling costumes, wigs, hats and accessories, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find what you’re looking for – and have a ball searching for it. As befits the location, the stock is imaginative and unusual, and the savvy staff members, all poached from an art and design background, are passionate about helping customers build their outfit from the ground up and then tweak it to get it spot on. Being able to bookend your costume hunting with visits to a couple of the many excellent nearby cafés is a nice bonus too.
Beauty meets practicality at Obus: a Melbourne-based label that focuses on pared-back tailoring, natural fibres and quirky prints. Founder Kylie Zerbst draws inspiration from her travels for every new collection, and her Melbourne-made garments are all designed with comfort in mind, whether you’re after a pair of sleek slim-leg pants for work, or a breezy cotton smock for the weekend.