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08/29/2006

Shopping in Oxford Street, Sydney

Australia
Author: Jan

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A world apart from its London namesake's nastier-by-the-year hodgepodge of tacky clothing and souvenir shops, the Paddington stretch of Oxford Street, Sydney, offers wall-to-wall clothing boutiques, both tasteful and trendy. 
 
My first visit was on a Saturday, when Paddington Markets are in full swing, with stalls selling everything from fashion to jewellery, toys and retro collectables. Wholesome food and drink stands, dispensing non-genetically modified fruit and vegetable smoothies, homemade organic biscuits and fair-trade coffee, make a welcome pit stop. 
 
With a handful of shops across
, Aquila, at No 460 stocks dapper gentleman’s leather footwear. Much of its home-designed stock carries its own label and is made in Europe, selling at an average price of A$200 ($1,165) a pair. The few European labels, such as Ted Baker and Hugo Boss, are more expensive, but well worth it. Ted Baker for example cannot be bought in
 
Targeting a similar wearer is Declic (No 450) with its colourful palette of top-quality, limited-edition shirts (about A$200), ties (A$140) and socks (A$30), all made in Melbourne from Italian cloth. It also carries snazzy cufflinks and a handful of designer-label ties (A$169). 
 
One of my closest and best dressed Aussie friend loves Scanlon & Theadore (No 443) whose collections recall feminine classics.

n>Tweed and crumpled velvet is its direction this autumn/winter, with skirts at about A$400 and paisley dresses at A$800. 
 
Another great find of mine was the more reasonably priced but still with the requisite chic is Simona (No 478), where simple plain and patterned blouses cost A$149. Witchery (No 332) also offers well-made women's clothes, with more emphasis on own-brand shoes, bags and accessories. Cotton jumpers cost A$80, sandals the same. 
 
On its own tangent is Nobue (No 446), whose facade has been painted with motifs found on embroidered kimono fabric. Its western-style women's clothing (dresses from A$139; skirts from A$159) and bags incorporate genuine kimono fabric and are designed by the shop's Japanese-born owner. 
 
Feet are more firmly on the ground at Platypus (No 385), where limited-edition sports shoes and flip-flops - or thongs as Australians call them - are mainstays. Hot picks include Adidas' Superstar 35th Anniversary collection Puma rarities (from A$150) and Reef surfer-style flip-flops (from A$20). Other brands include Converse, DKNY and Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. range. Less hip perhaps are Birkenstock sandals (from A$169), of which there is an extensive range with reasonable prices. 
 
For a break from wardrobe shopping, I headed down to two-in-one shop Folkways Music and Igloo (No 282). Fronting the street is Folkways, a CD and DVD store that prides itself on stocking specialist genres from around the world, although it also comes with a sizeable chart section and a limited second-hand selection. I believe you could also get rid of your old stock that you no longer need but of course, you won’t be travelling with a great deal of your entertainment. At the rear of the shop, you can descend a level into Igloo, a treasure trove of collectable early 20th-century European furniture and homeware. Funkis Swedish tea set anyone? Yours for A$400.

 

 

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