FashionMelbourne is known for fashion. It was the southern city of style that gave birth to fashion icons beyond the catwalk like the colourful resin jewellery of Dinosaur Designs, swish retro-style handbags from Olga Berg and the delicate handmade paper of Il Papiro. The city, once a leader in the textile industry, retains a small manufacturing base, but has diversified into the more creative areas of the fashion industry.
The Melbourne Fashion Festival, an annual event, is the biggest event on the Australian fashion industry s calendar. The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the television industry s Logie Awards and AFL's Brownlow Medal dinner are among the biggest annual red carpet events in the country.
MarketsThe markets in Melbourne are an attraction of themselves. The Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere selling everything there is to find under the sun. It s on the corner of Victoria and Peel streets and is open every day. The Prahran Market is the city's best food market and is a great place to grab some delicious lunch. It's open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sunday and can be found on 163-185 Commercial Road, Prahran. The South Melbourne Market is a general market with mainly food products and is situated on the corner of Cecil and Coventry streets, South Melbourne. It's open on Wednesdays and Friday-Sundays. At Docklands, Melbourne's first harbour-side market is open from 11am to 5pm every Saturday.
Craft Markets & Food Stalls
Residents of Melbourne take their shopping seriously and nowhere is this more noticeable that in the city block itself. Bourke Street Mall is at the centre of the Inner City shopping experience. Here you will find the flagship stores of Australia's two biggest luxury department stores - Myer and David Jones. Both are icons of the Australian retail scene, and this is nowhere more obvious that in Bourke Street Mall. Both stores extend beyond one city block, borth have numerous floors of fashion and the finest food halls in the state, if not the land. Other well known names found in Bourke Street Mall include Sportsgirl, The Body Shop, Adidas, Zara and General Pants Co.
A recent addition to the Bourke Street shopping experience is Emporium Melbourne, an upmarket shopping precint that occupies the former Lonsdale Street stores of Myer and David Jones and the buildings which adjoined them. The result is an arcade with a department store look and feel, that is a fusion of fashion, culture, food and art. The precinct connects to Melbourne Central, Myer Melbourne and to David Jones via pedestrian bridges and tunnels in the city's retail heart.
The top end of Collins Street, one of Melbourne's more attractive main streets, is home to many international labels, high end jewellery, luxury goods, haute couture and five star hotels. Collins Street is a wide tree-lined boulevard peppered with European influenced architecture, luxury boutiques and home to the world s leading fashion houses including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Tiffany & Co. and Giorgio Armani. Not surprisingly, between Spring and Swanston Street is known as the Paris end of Collins Street.
Running parallel, Little Collins Street is dotted with fashion boutiques and a number of high end mens fashion stores. The top end of town is also an entertainment hot spot with numerous theatres where you can catch a concert, musical or play.
If you are seeking more affordable fashion, Swanston Street is the place to go. Australia On Collins and Collins 324 next door are at the centre of a cluster of mid range fashion houses where you will find names such as Country Road, Indigo, The Body Shop, Hugo Boss, The Lindt Cafe and Mollini. Once lined with $2 shops and dingy cafes, Swanston Street boasts a multitude of reasonably priced Asian eateries and tea and coffee shops.
Elizabeth Street, the western boundary of the main inner city shopping block, is techno heaven, with photographic, electrical and communications stores on both sides of the street. One the middle section are numerous motorcycle shops, whose trail bikes, scooters and street machines line the curb. Keep walking north and you will hit Queen Victoria Markets, a gourmet lover s paradise where you can obtain everything from fresh fruit, vegetables and meats, to cheese, smallgoods, cakes, james and doughnuts from the many delicatessens there.
ArcadesMelbourne's numerous shopping arcades reached a peak of popularity in the late Victorian era and the interwar years. Among the most notable include Block Place and Royal Arcade. Some notable demolished arcades include Coles Book arcade and Queens Walk arcade. Since the 1990s, Melbourne's lanes, particularly the pedestrianised ones, have gentrified and their heritage value officially recognised as well as attracting interest from Australia and around the world. Some of the lanes, in particular have become particularly notable for their acclaimed urban art.
The city has several festivals which celebrate the laneways, they are major tourist attractions and frequently feature in tourism promotions, film and television.
Arcades and Laneways
Block Arcade, Collins Street, one of Melbourne's main shopping streets, is a grand Victorian building. This is reflected in the shops that sell elegant leatherwear, glassware and couture. Nearby is the Royal Arcade, which features antique and gift shops. Cathedral Arcade is known for boutiques specialising in one-off vintage pieces and styles.
Melbourne Central, La Trobe Street, has a magnificent glass cone covering the famous Shot Tower, the only feature remaining from the Lead Pipe & Shot Factory. There are over 200 shops, including many Australian designer outlets. Block Arcade, Collins Street, one of Melbourne's main shopping streets, is a grand Victorian building. This is reflected in the shops that sell elegant leatherwear, glassware and couture. Nearby is the Royal Arcade, which features antique and gift shops.
LanewaysThe Melbourne central business district's numerous lanes mostly date to the Victorian era and as a result of the original Hoddle Grid, they evolved as service laneways for horses and carts. In some parts of the city, notably Little Lonsdale area, they were associated with the city's gold rush era slums. Among the most notable are Centre Place and Degraves Lane. No longer grubby thoroughfares offering little more than a back entry to premises on the main streets, the maze of inner city laneways today hold an alluring mix of street art, fashion and cafe culture.
Department storesMany of the city's department stores stock typically Australian products and some of the best goods to look out for are woollen garments, bush gear, handcrafted jewellery (particularly opals), woodwork design and ceramics. Myer, on Lonsdale Street (scheduled to shift to Bourke Street around 2010), is a city institution established over 80 years ago and one of the biggest single department stores in Australia. Nearby is David Jones, another well-regarded department store, noted for its tempting food hall.
Chadstone Shopping Centre
Collins Place, at the top end of Collins Street