Born to shop ... well listen up! Melbourne’s best shopping secrets are about to be revealed, where to go and what to buy in the fashion capital of Australia.
Melbourne and shopping go hand in hand, but instead of heading to the usual sites of Chapel Street or Grenville Street in Prahran, you can get the best on offer right in the city.
Shopping Secrets Melbourne was created by Michelle Matthews, who was frustrated not knowing where to shop in cities other than her own. The criteria for her book was that each shop included must be worthy of a visit and the product or experience must be unique or unavailable generally. What she has come up with will suit even the savviest shopaholic.
Visitors are guided through historical laneways, alleys and arcades to visit distinctive stores. They are also given a copy of Shopping Secrets Melbourne card deck, a shopping bag and discounts from retailers and lunch specials.
Fiona Sweetman is a guide who has a great interest in fashion, as well as experience in marketing and tourism. After three years in France, Fiona is enjoying taking the shopping tours where she and her fellow-shoppers have their five senses satisfied (make that six if you count shopping!)
Here are some of the places Fiona visits.
Retrostar Vintage: This temple to recycled chic has stock from Canada and the US, from span slacker cords to dresses fit for a homecoming queen. They have clothing for men and women, shoes and accessories, and everything is arranged by the decade, from the 1940s to the 1980s. There are sheepskin vests and bellbottom pants and if you love loud prints, this is the place for you.
Retrostar is on the first floor of a small and beautiful arcade and you will be surprised by how enormous the shop is!
Genki has obscure and desirable Japanese, European and US labels and accessories. It is best described as a fusion of an eight-year-old's bedroom, an Almodovar film and Japanese Manga.
Chanie Stock just couldn't find her favourite and hard-to-find clothing and accessories, so opened Genki and stocks her favourite labels, YMC, Daryl K, Milk Fed, Carhartt, Paul Frank and Super Lovers, along with some local designers.
Genki offers quality, limited-run casuals "for grown-ups who refuse to be grown-up". Her range of ‘I LOVE’ tees are fun, as is the whole Genki experience.
Koko Black is a chocolate shop with a difference. A young Belgian chocolatier hand-makes all kinds of wonderful temptations and upstairs you can relax and enjoy a hot chocolate made from the real thing.
They mostly create with Belgian and French chocolate, but do have a range using Australian ingredients. There are around 30 flavours to choose from and customers choose exactly what they want, piece by piece.
Spellbox is headed by Danae Thorp. Her shop is an enchanting place where you can feel the power of the four elements, earth, fire, air and water. Danae's staff can advise you on the appropriate product to create a spell for change of luck, incense to communicate with spirits or the right gift for someone.
You can also have a psychic tarot reading or feel the energy of balance with a chakra healing. Potent incense blends, spells and flower essences can be formulated in the shop to put magic and harmony into busy lives. For the undecided, there is a Wheel of Stars to spin which helps determine just which spell you need.
The Cellar specialises in fine and hard-to-find wines, so is enjoyed by locals as well as visitors. Seventy-five percent of their stock is Victorian, much of that from boutique wineries. They carry a small range of spirits and focus on fine cognac.
It is part of the Victorian Wine Precinct and serves an important educational purpose. Tutored wine tastings are run each weekend to highlight regions and varieties. You’ll find the slick and interesting Cellar tucked away in Federation Square.
CBD of Melbourne
Shopping Secrets Melbourne three-hour tours cost $70 and run twice a week or by arrangement, with a two-person minimum. Deck of Secrets is on sale for $9.95.
You receive a Deck of Secrets card deck (similar to a regular deck of playing cards), shopping bag, bottle of water, map, daily “what’s on” sheet, wine, retailer offers and lunch specials. Deck of Secrets is on sale for $9.95.
Please note prices are valid at time of filming.
Shopping Secrets Pty Ltd
Ph: (03) 9329 9665www.shoppingsecrets.com
Retrostar Vintage Clothing
1/37 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph: (03) 9663 1223
Shop 5, Cathedral Arcade
37 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000www.genki.com.au
Shop 4, Royal Arcade
331 Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne 3000
Ph: (03) 9639 8911www.kokoblack.com.au
Shop 17, Royal Arcade
331 Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne 3000
Ph: (03) 9639 7077www.spellbox.com.au
Federation Square Melbourne
Ph: (03) 9654 6050
Qantas 13 13 13