Shopping in Oxford Street, Sydney
n>Tweed and crumpled velvet is its direction this autumn/winter, with skirts at about A$400 and paisley dresses at A$800.
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.
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.