Maximalist Style in Melbourne

As a self-confessed maximalist, style director Louise Hilsz is in her fashion element when shopping for colour. Here, she shares the best places to buy fashion with attitude in Australia's style capital, Melbourne.

Louise Hilsz photographed on Little Smith Street, Melbourne, wearing Karen Walker Return To Sender sunglasses, $349. Curate Hold My Shag coat, $459. Coop My Flare Lady dress, $249. Coop belt, POA. Miss Wilson Williams boot, $349.
The BeautyEQ team travelled to Melbourne courtesy of
Visit Melbourne.

Statement dressing is the definition of maximalist style. It’s a celebration of colour and clashing prints, where the idea that ‘more is more’ takes precedence over the ‘less is more’ minimalist approach to fashion. From the latest designer looks to a more vintage vibe, even an turban turned Hilsz’s head when it came to selecting the best places to shop for fashion with attitude. Here’s her maximalist’s style guide to Melbourne.

Shag

Hilsz with her new sequin denim jacket by Tar Mafia

Hilsz with her new sequin denim jacket by Tar Mafia

 
At Shag you will find a collection of vintage clothing on steroids!
— Louise Hilsz

If you’ve never stepped into Shag, you’re in for a real treat. It’s a collection of vintage clothing on steroids! Think sequins, faux fur, rhinestone-encrusted denim and so much more. There are two locations: Melbourne’s iconic shopping strip, Chapel Street, and Smith Street in Collingwood. If you like a fabulous fashion find, this store should be at the top of your must-visit list. My best buy? A denim sequinned jacket by Thai brand Tar Mafia, which I just can’t take off.

Images from Shag’s Instagram @shagmelbourne


 
Made from plush stretch velvet, the Gloria Turban is an homage to the late Hollywood actress Gloria Swanson.
— Louise Hilsz
Hilsz wearing her Edgeley turban at  The Lui Bar, Vue de Monde

Hilsz wearing her Edgeley turban at The Lui Bar, Vue de Monde

This cute little store on Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street sells a collection of clothing and accessories like no other. The standout for me is their line of amazing handmade velvet turbans – I just had to have one. Made from plush stretch velvet, the Gloria Turban is an homage to the late Hollywood actress Gloria Swanson. These oversized head knots come in an array of colours and are a bold, glamorous look for an evening out. Also to be noted is Edgeley’s enviable collection of Pop Art accessories from iconic Australian jewellery brand Doodad + Fandango. Each piece is made to order from a blend of perspex and laminate and features a unique design.

Images from Edgeley’s Instagram @ms_edgeley


Madam Virtue

Buried on a little lane between Bourke Street and Little Bourke in Melbourne’s inner city, this store is a treasure trove of pre-loved designer clothing. Affectionately known as Melbourne’s 'luxe pawn broker', this hidden gem is one of the best vintage designer clothing stores I have ever visited. Customers shop here from all over the world, searching for the pristine Hermès, Alexander McQueen and Fendi accessories that sit in glass cabinets ready for a new home. Madam Virtue’s collection of vintage Chanel jewellery and handbags is enough to make any serious shopper go weak at the knees, but be prepared to invest – there are no cheeky fashion buys in this store, it’s extravagance all the way.

Images from Madam Virtue’s Instagram @madamvirtue and BeautyEQ


Miss Louise

When it comes to luxury shoes, bags and accessories, there’s no place like Miss Louise. This institution has been servicing some of the wealthiest Melburnians since 1964. Here you’ll find a selection of premium brands – Alexander McQueen, Aquazzura, Balmain, Saint Laurent and Valentino among others – and ‘hot off the catwalk’ heels to take your breath away. Dig out your credit card and head to the Miss Louise boutique at The Westin in Collins Street.

Images from Miss Louise’s Instagram @misslouiseboutique


Hilsz wearing Gorman

Hilsz wearing Gorman

 
If you love bold prints and clashing colour (the foundation of any maximalist’s wardrobe) this is the place to find your adventurous side
— Louise Hilsz

It’s no surprise that this quirky Australian brand opened its first store in Melbourne’s fashionable Chapel Street back in 2004. Today there are 35 stores across Australia and two in Auckland, New Zealand, but my heart lies with the flagship store in Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street. If you love bold prints and clashing colour (the foundation of any maximalist’s wardrobe) this is the place to find your adventurous side. Each season they tempt me with a stash of cute socks and matching accessories (I adore the hats) – items that make this label stand out in what is often a pretty beige fashion landscape.

Images from Gorman’s Instagram @gormanclothing


Lost and Found Market

Located upstairs at 288 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Lost and Found Market is an Aladdin’s cave of vintage fashion, furniture, art, and bric-a-brac. It’s made up of dozens of stores within a 900 metre square warehouse, each owned by collectors. The market is full to overflowing with fabulous finds from yesteryear and the stall owners keep their shelves stocked with bargain buys to temp those who love a rare and beautiful op-shop find. I was kept busy for hours by the best collection of original 80s and 90s denim and accessories I’ve seen.

Images from Lost and Found’s Instagram @lostandfoundmarket


Design A Space

I accidentally stumbled into this unique store in Manchester Lane after a pair of earrings in the window caught my eye. Once inside, it became clear that this is the place where the very best up-and-coming designers share their latest collections. More than 100 fashion newbies showcase their designs here, from original one-off styles to men's, kids’ and women's clothing you won't find anywhere else in the city. For a unique piece of maximalist fashion – and a memento from your trip that no one else will have – head to one of the three Design A Space stores dotted across the city.

Images Design A Space’s Instagram @designaspace