Inner suburban Fitzroy, just five minutes from Melbourne's CBD, offers an edgy mix of alternative, artistic and trendy elements. It has plenty to catch the eye young designer and retro clothing, quaint and quirky shops, bookshops, galleries, cafés and restaurants. It also has a vibrant nightlife.
Brunswick Street is Fitzroy's backbone and reflects the city's soul. It is tolerant and accommodating; you can be bohemian, poor, rich, alternative, trendy, young or old and feel at home here.
Studios, galleries and workshops offer eclectic art sold from colourful street benches and noisy bars, open day and night.
The Gertrude Street Enoteca was started in 1994 by James Broadway and Brigette Hafner. He is a wine importer and she a chef, the perfect combination for success.
They avoided opening just another café, wanting something emulating the beautiful wine shops found throughout Italy. They have walls displaying wine and interesting foods. James buys wonderful cheese from the back of a van and handmakes everything from ingredients purchased at small suburban delicatessens. James and Brigette are the instigators of the slow food movement in Melbourne.
After tucking into a bowl of delicious pasta with garlic oil and mussels, it was time to move on.
Gwendolynne Burkin is a rising star of Australian fashion. She launched her own signature label Gwendolynne in 1997 and has established a reputation for beautifully executed clothing with a strong European flavour. Her solid background in design and pattern-making has refined her skills and personal style.
She has major buyers in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Singapore, Milan and London who sell her day-into-night garments, wedding dresses and occasional outfits for the entire wedding party.
Richard Nylon is a milliner known for his sculptural creations. He collaborates with Gwendolynne Burkin to complete her creative pieces. They have been creating combined masterpieces since 1997.
With something appropriate to wear, it was time to head to Kanela, Melbourne's only restaurant-tapas bar dedicated to the art of flamenco, run by the Tedesco brothers. Upstairs is the Flamenco Performing Arts Studio where future dancers and musicians train and have their curiosity about all things Spanish sated.
Dance programs are a mix of classical and contemporary style, avoiding the commercial exploitation of the genre. Young performers are encouraged to respect the roots of the tradition, but also to experiment and find their own personal voice or style.
Kanela's restaurant specialises in tapas, individual dishes of authentic Spanish delicacies. The signature dish is paella, Spain's traditional slowly-cooked seafood and rice. It also has a wide range of Spanish wine, beer, sangria and cocktails.
Smith Street is a growing multicultural streetscape known for its vegetarian and wholefood. It has plenty of budget-friendly Asian, Greek, Moroccan and Middle Eastern eateries.