Renée takes some time out to talk about her recent trip to Melbourne.
An electrifying city. It’s not the number one Australian destination for travellers, but it should definitely be on all travellers’ itineraries. It’s full of beautiful architecture, culture & the arts, amazing food, and great shopping.
What drew you to Melbourne?
I’m thrilled to return to Melbourne this week for the Australian International Furniture Fair Melbourne. AIFF brings together the Australian furniture industry, and showcases the products and innovation happening on our shores. There will be more than 300 brands there across furniture, decor, textiles, lighting and more. It’ll be a feast for the eyes and a great way to meet many brands. I am also keen to attend a few workshops to learn about the current trends and the general sentiment on the retail industry.
Where did you stay?
I prefer boutique hotels and wanted to be fairly central, without being downtown. We stayed at the The Larwell Studio located int eh Children’s Hospital in Parkville. It’s a gorgeous boutique hotel part of the Art Series Hotels, and was inspired by the Australian artist David Larwell. I loved the interiors, in particular the bright, playful art. It had a great cafe downstairs and was super easy to get to from anywhere.
What was the highlight of the trip?
Decor + Design Show Melbourne (a trade only event running along side AIFF) was full of great homewares. I discovered some very cool new brands as well as got to visit some old favourites.
What is the local style like?
Very classic and sophisticated. We are currently in the depths of winter so most were sporting long tailored coats with boots. I thought I’d see more hats, fur and colour, but alas.
What must one pack for Melbourne?
Winter in Melbourne is a fairly serious affair – on Australian terms – with daily temps reaching mid teens (celsius) if you are lucky. You should definitely have a good coat, hat, cashmere sweaters, and a good moisturiser in tow. I alway pack peppermint tea bags, just in case.
Where is the best shopping?
My travelling buddy (my best friend) also shares a passion for furniture and homewares. We have a very small window allocated to retail therapy. She has a few stores she wants to visit, so we hit Hill Street, Armadale. We browsed the numerous antique shops (many were closed on a Sunday) and made a pact we’d return one day with a truck on a direct route back to Sydney. So much goodness!
What was your favourite find?
At the fair I discovered many new brands. Standout brands and their collections would be Hepburn Hardware, Escape to Paradise, and Dash & Albert. Outside the fair, I could spend way too much time in a very cool vinyl record shop on Glenferrie Road, Malvern called Quality Records. I’d love to have a vinyl player in my home one day so I can play my collection of old LPs.
What tips do you have for first-time visitors?
Flinders Lane is a must for anyone who loves good food and wine. The CBD is also filled with beautiful architecture. I could walk around looking at the buildings for days.
What is one local secret?
For the most amazing Thai dining experience head to Chin Chin in Flinders Lane – you’ll not have have knockout cocktails, authentic flavours and a very lively awesome atmosphere, you will also learn a little bit of Thai while in the bathroom. Get there around 5pm to beat the queues.
What will you be back for?
Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival in early September 2017