I woke up bright and early in the morning and skipped downstairs for an indulgent hot breakfast. It was absolutely delicious, especially because I didn’t have to make it myself!
I took a walk around the lovely grounds of The Grand, looking for a nice spot to read the morning newspaper. Despite the austere architecture of the hotel as seen from the front, there were lots of pretty and stylish touches hidden within the building. This was my favourite, the central courtyard.
Today I checked out Melbourne City as a fashion and shopping experience.
Over the next few days I’ll be visiting several famous shopping districts in Melbourne. At the end of my trip I’ll compile them into one post, Places to Shop in Melbourne – describing and featuring them all, including all the must visit shops!
I’ve spent heaps of time researching, asking around, gathering local knowledge, and creating a 4-day tour plan for myself so I can experience it all personally.
I must give a big shout out to Nadya who helped me tremendously in my preparation! She was absolutely wonderful and generous in sharing her shopping knowledge with me. She literally listed dozens of streets and districts and – off the top of her head – knew exactly which brands and boutiques could be found on each street!
Anyway, the perfect start to experiencing the classic Melbourne vibe is on Degraves Street, a little laneway between Finders Street and Flinders Lane (near the iconic Flinders Street Station).
Melbourne is famous for it’s wonderful, old architecture and fabulous lane ways. Degraves Street and next to it, Centre Place, definitely capture the essence of Melbourne Culture, with people spilling out of cafes, tables on the cobblestone road, the smell of excellent coffee and piping hot breads, colourful boutiques with gorgeous wallpapers, quirky little Italian shops, amazing wall art… I loved it!
I spent the whole day walking around the CBD! From Gucci to Chinese supermarkets. There was so much variety and I had a blast discovering it all! Argh, my feet are so sore!
Being me, I was specifically looking to find a boutique in the CBD that was uniquely Melbourne – something a bit quirky, arty, grass roots and not main-stream.
The Cat’s Meow is a boutique underneath Degraves St, in a tunnel called Campbell Arcade, which leads to Flinders St Station. I must admit, the tunnel was pretty dodgy, it was very old and run down. But there were several very cool small shops down there. I spent ages checking them out, and I was very tempted to buy stuff, so it’s definitely worth a look.
I met up with the women behind the boutique, Karen and Kylie, and had the nicest chat to them about their shop. Both are fashion designers with their own labels, who started the shop in 2002. It caters to women who are seeking original, everyday, alternative high-end labels and garments, most in “real women” sizes.
The stuff that caught my eye: Really nice tops from Dogstar, lovely print dresses from Surface Art, and great tshirt prints by Hamb and Non-Fiction. I bought a little handmade purse with a gorgeous print on it (to store some lip gloss and other small things floating around my handbag).
I really enjoyed being in their shop! It had a very nice, unpretentious, friendly, warm and “homegrown and proud of it” feel about it.