At Penthouse Mouse a couple of weeks ago, various members of this blog could be found gazing in delight at the beautiful Mecurialist leather bags on display. I already have lots of bags but suddenly felt an urgent need for another. Specifically, the heavy-duty shopper in leather – a lovely brown bag with lots of room inside. It’s big enough to carry your laptop and your sneakers, or a few manuscripts, or your uni books, or a small animal like a ferret or a rhesus monkey. (The pic below is the soft shopper – imagine the same thing but in sturdy, non-shiny leather.) Mecurialist is the creation of Emma Luke, who informs me that her bags can be found Zomp Shoez in the city (Flinders Lane and Little Collins) and Since Grey on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.
:: Arwen ::
Filed under Creators, New
The other night Lee, Arwen and I (and many other non-members of this lovely blog) headed down south of the river – a rare occurrence for me these days – to Toorak Road and an opening at Penthouse Mouse – part retail space, part art gallery. Lots of well dressed young-fashion-mafia folk, lots of expensive beer (Asahi, of course), people looking at each other and not at the works on display.
This is fashion after all. I found myself doing the same, and camera in hand, began my very best paparazzi impersonation.
To my surprise, I found that I was actually dressed almost the same as many of the fashionistas at the show – tight black jeans, white(ish) t-shirt, black leather jacket, denim cap. I took some comfort in the fact that my denim cap was purchased for $1 in India last year, not $100 at Fat4. Even still, it did get me wondering – why exactly did it bother me that I was dressed similarly to all these “cool” people? What kind of snob am I exactly?
I guess I should stop ranting and post something about the work – there was in fact some lovely stuff. Here’s a few pics, head down and check it out, some of the jewellery work is especially good.
I was far too distracted by all the beautiful people to write down the names of any of the designers but perhaps some of you can help me out – Arwen, Lee?
The Capitol, 243 Toorak Road South Yarra
Open 10am-9pm (except Monday) until March 22 (I think)
:: Reuben ::
I finally made it to Fine Art Linen Co, and what an experience it was. The shop has been there since the late sixties, and I’d hazard a guess that not much has changed since it opened. The lovely bloke who runs the shop took over from his father, who started the business on the same premises, and he’s been running it with his wife for the last fifteen years. They stock a huge range of Ulster teatowels (who would’ve guessed that Northern Ireland is teatowel/linen capital of the world?) in various cool patterns (see above and below, but head to the store to check out the cats, elephants, rabbits, ducks, floral patterns and more) and also a good range of Rodriguez teatowels too (‘The Tea Towel People’, according to their website).
Plus, for all you doily freaks out there, the shop also stocks a mind-boggling aray of hand-embroidered doilies, table runners, tablecloths and napkins. This is truly the one-stop nanna shop. Note: there is no eftpos machine or even a cash register in the store – cash sales only or, for a real blast from the past, credit card sales with one of those old-school swipey things that makes such a satisfying crunch.
Fine Art Linen Co
Many thanks to my lovely teatowel model P.
847 Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124
:: Arwen ::
I just discovered Rob Ryan’s opened a shop called Ryantown. Of course, I am in Melbourne, and the shop is on Columbia Road in London, so I won’t be popping over any time soon. If I were, these cushions would be my first purchase – to give to someone who doesn’t take things personally. Or someone blonde (ha! just kidding. I’m sort of blonde. Really). Actually, I wish Rob Ryan would open a gallery, rather than a shop. I want to be able to see all his work on display with no incentive to purchase, just to admire.
Seems many people don’t feel the same as me, though, as photographed by Annie Mole when the shop opened in June, below. That’s a whole lotta people wanting printed cushions and cute knick knacks.
PS. Hope everyone has a nice day tomorrow, assuming they live in a country where tomorrow is culturally significant and a public holiday. How PC am I?
:: Arwen ::
I’ve been neglecting music in favour of books recently, but I’m hoping my upcoming break from work will allow me to redress that imbalance. I desperately need to overhaul my iPod, get some fresh stuff happening and remove a lot of the dead wood. (I’m not quite sure how or why the Rihanna album made it on there, but I need it off. Now.)
Actual musical content aside, I love to keep an eye out for good album designs when I remember and/or have time. Here are a few nice ones I’ve spotted recently – starting from Kuroyuri, above, Midori Hirano’s new album.
Above: Eric Hutchinson
Below: The Sea and Cake
Above: Je Suis Animal
Still haven’t heard any of these albums beyond MySpace, and if I’m brutally honest, I probably never will. I have a suspicious feeling my good intentions with the whole iPod overhaul, etc. will fall by the wayside as I spend most of the break on the couch reading in silence. Bring it on!
:: Arwen ::
What I’d really like for Christmas is for the Rudd government in Australia to commit to more than a piddly 5% reduction in emissions by 2020. If the UK and EU can manage 20%, then so can we. Failing that, I want more bicycle lanes everywhere and more driver awareness of bicycles in Melbourne. Last week I was nearly knocked off my bike yet again (in a daggy fluorescent vest and obeying the road rules, mind).
Aside from these more nationally inclined wishes (demands?), I have a practical Christmas list too – it contains such enthralling items as new headphones (last ones carked it at the gym) and some new mascara. And then there’s the fanciful Christmas wish list – things that I’m not quite sure I even want, since I might not know what to do with them if I ever got them, but damn, they’re great. The Uten.Silo Storage System (above), spotted more than a year ago at Decor8, falls firmly into this category for me. It’s such a cool thing, but so entirely unnecessary. Not least because of the price (US$295 – ouch!).
:: Arwen ::
Meanjin, one of Australia’s longest-running literary journals, was until very recently a small and serious-looking tome that sat incongruously in the magazine rack at bookshops. It looked like hard work. I say ‘looked like’ because I could never bring myself to buy it. But a recent foray into the bookshop revealed that Meanjin has changed – and thank the bejeezus for that. Suddenly it’s something I feel inclined to pick up and browse, nay read. It’s still small, but actually looks interesting. Perhaps even fun. We have Chase and Galley to thank for the design, some examples of which are reproduced here for your viewing pleasure, and editor Sophie Cunningham to thank for the editorial (and the new direction, bien sûr).
I voice a quiet protest, however, at the bewildering array of fonts and headers used. There are about six different body-copy fonts used and an equal number (or more?) for the headers, which are all quite nice, but create a sense of confusion and visual cacophony within the pages. Sometimes the fonts and headers are used to demarcate sections, like the fiction section, but then elsewhere they seem to be rather haphazard. I suspect the idea was to create a journal that looked accessible and cool, instead of textbooky, and I like this in theory. In practice I’m not convinced it works. What does work, though, are the double-page spreads with cute pics used to mark each new section (below). A nice touch.
But it seems not everyone likes the pics. Bill Perrett described them thus in the Age on Saturday: ‘Essays, fiction, poetry and so on are divided into discrete sections, each announced by a kind of kiddie-pop image – probably coolly ironic to those with eyes to see, but in danger of being mistaken for tweeness by the rest of us.’ I think we can safely rule out the ‘coolly ironic’ tag for these pics, since they in no way resemble Vice (a magazine that is so achingly ironic that it gives me brain pain to read it – aside from the hideous fluorescent colours and mandatory shots of trashed people semi-nude that grace its pages). That leaves twee – and hell, everyone knows twee is the new black.
:: Arwen ::
A recent visit to Ikea solved my necklace dilemma (and no, said dilemma was not keeping me awake at night, I like to save my sleepless nights for larger problems). My necklaces continually tangled together in a large jumbly heap on top of my dresser, and in my mad rush to leave the house each morning I never had the time to disentangle the one I wanted. But look! I now have a necklace hangy thingy! The handy hook device is available at Ikea for $4.99.
I’m not the only person to have necklace issues. Bluelines blog, now defunct, ran a post on necklace displays, illustrated by this example above. And a Martha Stewart article online has a few other solutions to the problem as well – it’s just a pity that they are all kind of ugly, particularly that gross quasi Greco-Roman head thing… what were they thinking?!
:: Arwen ::
The delightful Five Boroughs in East Brunswick is owned by business partners Stephanie Flemming and Kyle de Kuijer, who had been operating the screenprinting label Holly Daze for a few years and decided it would be nice to have a concept store for their work. But they stock other designers too, like Dani M, Kenji Uranishi, Small Rhino and Otto & Spike. ‘We have a specific aesthetic and criteria in mind’, say Steph and Kyle, to explain how they choose their stock. ‘We look for products that are handmade, have a reasonably low production run, or are otherwise unavailable in Melbourne. Work must be well constructed, and it’s always nice to have a story behind a product.’
Dani M ceramics at Five Boroughs, between $30 and $45 a piece.
Both Steph and Kyle have been living in East Brunswick for six years, so it seemed natural to set up shop in the neighbourhood. ‘We both grew up in central Victoria, and being in East Brunswick feels a bit like that’, Steph and Kyle explain. ‘There seems to be an equally great community feeling here, but certainly more great places for coffee though!’ (Not least El Mirage next door to Five Boroughs.)
Above: Kyle de Kuijer and Stephanie Flemming, Five Boroughs partners
Below: Small Rhino designs at Five Boroughs.
There are a lot of design stores around Melbourne these days, but Five Boroughs has something cutely retro about it that draws you in, and is significantly more affordable than some of the shiny Scando places in town. ‘We aren’t necessarily trying to be different’, say Steph and Kyle. ‘We love space, well-designed products, simplicity and we both should have been born in the 1950s, which is when we would like to live!’ Their favourite product from the store is Rewind coffee, packaged in an obvious nod to classic 50s design, which they like to drink out of a We Are Happy to Serve You ceramic cup. Non-coffee drinkers will be pleased to hear Rewind also make hot chocolate that comes in a similarly covetable container.
More shots of Five Boroughs on our Flickr page.
345 Lygon Street
East Brunswick VIC 3057
(03) 9388 1618
For opening hours check website
:: Arwen ::
A stroll about Melbourne is always fun. I used to go to uni in the city and spent a lot of spare time (and class time) faffing about in cafes and shops spending money, in those heady days when everything I earnt at Target was spent on pleasure (living with parental figures has its perks). I don’t get into the CBD much now, so I often feel a bit like an outer-suburbanite or gawping tourist when I head into the centre of Melbourne and spot shops I’ve never seen before. “Look at that!” I exclaim, pointing at an unsuspecting shop in Howey Place. “That used to be Rich, that overpriced clothing store staffed by unfriendly goths!” Tis no longer. Shop 9, Howey Place is now Bison, a shop full of beautiful handmade ceramics from Canberra. They’re stoneware as well, which I like – the last time stoneware was in vogue was the 1970s, when everyone’s mum had a stoneware dinner set to go with her fondue set and prehistoric collection of Tupperware.
Shop 9, Howey Place
(03) 9650 1938
More photos of Bison ceramics on our Flickr page.
:: Arwen ::