There are only a few stores in Melbourne and Australia who do things the way Marais do. This exclusive store is definitely a hidden gem of Melbourne’s fashion scene opening up eight years ago with no launch party, no promotion and no marketing. Relying solely on word of mouth and its strong place in the editorial and magazine world, Marais has become one of those industry secrets. I went along to the store with Couturing photographer Sabine Legrand to be shown around this exquisite store.
Talking about the store, I discover the wide breadth of high end labels stocked in Marais. Hard to find in Australia (unless you are accustomed to trawling through Net-a-Porter) labels such as Givenchy, Balmain and Viktor & Rolf all appear at Marais and is the only store in Australia to stock Balenciaga. Marais talks me through who and what they buy – not heavily inspired by one collection, those charged with selection of Marais stock instead follow designers and see what direction they are heading in. If the direction appeals to the Marais aesthetique then they are brought into Australia and the store. A unique approach to buying with a very solid store character that shapes the stock – instead of the other way around.
I’m then shown one of the newest labels to join this exclusive range – Todd Lynn, who has now become one of my latest favorites. Todd was dressing celebrities and a range of other select clientele before starting up his own ready-to-wear. Dressing celebrities such as Bono, Mick Jagger and Marilyn Manson has given this designer a distinctly rock-edge with no sacrifice in quality. Todd mixes beautiful shapes and classic materials and add’s simple and inspiringly unique detail. Leggings with a dramatic drape over the crotch and wool coats paired with the softest leather arms. A must see.
Highlights of the store are the highly popular Givenchy range with the latest collection dropping now. My personal favorite is the Bird of Paradise print that will soon be making an appearance. This bright and “fun” collection, a detour from Givenchy’s normally darker prints featuring such incongraphy as dobermans and chains, I asked if the loyal Marais clientele would be put off my such a light collection. Marais explains that Givenchy’s strong use of print is always a popular feature and regarless of the tone of the print, they are still fantastic, to which I must agree. If this range is something you have already labelled a “must-have”, get in quick as most of the Marais stock feature one of each size.
Another secret within a secret (for Australia at least) is the latest designer to join Marais, Stephen Webster has been designing exclusive jewellery for the likes of Christina Aguilera and I say a secret for Australia as this relatively locally unknown jewellery maker has over 200 points of sale worldwide with 7 Stephen Webster boutiques. Mixing darker gothic symbols and details with exquisite large stone’s makes this designer especially unique. Another must see.
There are no other interior designers outsourced to work on the store so if you do not visit it for the exclusive apparel, amazing jewellery or one of a kind fragrances this definitely is something you have to see for the experience.
Marais is located on 1st Floor Royal Arcade 314 Little Collins St Melbourne.