That we needed to provide you with a local guide to vintage shopping in Melbourne quickly became apparent after spotting some Melbourne locals in beehives, cats eye glasses and bobby socks. After meeting vintage princess Danielle Pumo on our Hidden Secrets tour, it was obvious she should be our vintage expert.
Interview with Danielle Pumo — Vintage Shopping in Melbourne
Q. Tell us what you do, what a typical vintage day involves.
A. I could be doing anything from styling an interior to a window display for a retail store, taking tourists on a Vintage Outing, sourcing furnishings for my 1950s home, researching vintage stores, or simply blowing bubbles with my daughter who is 18 months old.
Q. When did you become passionate about vintage?
A. My passion for vintage came from when I was a little girl. My mum migrated to Melbourne in the early 1950s and throughout my childhood she was dressing me in typical 1950s girls frocks — you know the ones, they were short enough to see your frilly bloomers beneath! — and it was the 70s! I never forget my first day at kindergarten, I was dressed in this white frilly number with red bows down the front and white stockings, while the rest of the kids were in corduroy pants. Yes, I owe it to mum, my love for vintage fashion!
Q. What makes Melbourne special for vintage lovers?
A. Melbourne has a great hub of vintage. With our eclectic mix of European influences from post war migration and our own Victorian history we have quite a unique style.
Q. Describe Melbourne’s vintage style?
A. Vintage fashion has definitely gained popularity since celebs such as Kate Moss, Dita Von Teese and the big fashion houses have brought it into the limelight. Television programmes such as Mad Men and Underbelly Razor have also helped raise the vintage profile. There has been a real resurgence of vintage stores opening here in Melbourne, particularly over the past five years, so it has become very accessible. Melbournites are quite eclectic and there are definitely strong influences from popular culture. You have your 50s rockabillies, your 40s divas and your 60s mods, just to name a few. And then there are those who just like a well-worn item of clothing!
Q. What eras inspire you?
A. I am definitely partial to the 60s — the androgynous silhouette and bold prints — but I also adore the femininity of the 50s. I like to take aspects of various eras, including inspiration from current trends, to create my own style. A wise woman once said to me: “vintage is the elixir of youth”. I love that phrase. It is so true.
Q. Is your home furnished in vintage?
A. I live in a sweet 1950s weatherboard home in the north of Melbourne which we are renovating to reflect a traditional 50s interior, with a modern twist
Q. How should visitors to Melbourne dress?
A. I think as long as they steer clear of kangaroo moccasins, you can dress as casually or as glamorous as you feel on the day. That’s the beauty of Melbourne.
Q. Best vintage shopping spots?
A. Smith and Gertrude Streets in Fitzroy, High Street in Northcote, and country Victoria are great as the op shops are not picked over as much as inner suburbs so there is a greater chance of good finds.
Q. Your favourite vintage shops for fashion?
Q. Favourite vintage shops for furniture and interior décor?
A. The Junk Company on Elizabeth Street, Trash On Bay (now closed), and Empire Vintage (Lyn’s store is a great mix of industrial and vintage inspired wares).
Q. Any great vintage Aussie buys visitors should look for?
A. Original Australian fashion patterns from Butterick and Australian Home Journal magazines for great insight into the Australian lifestyle from years gone by.
Q. Where should vintage-lovers visiting Melbourne base themselves?
A. Anywhere in the CBD is a good base. You can easily explore surrounding suburbs — they’re just a tram ride away. But if you are wanting something extra special — an authentic Australian vintage experience look into staying at the Boyd Baker House in Bacchus Marsh, 45 minutes away from the CBD, designed by one of Melbourne’s greatest architects, Robin Boyd. A more recent addition is The White House in Daylesford, a converted 1800s miners cottage, styled by Lyn Gardener.
Q. Best places for vintage people-watching?
A. Captains of Industry (1/2 Somerset Place Melbourne), complete with cafe, barber, tailor and shoemaker — gorgeous! — Camberwell Sunday Market, Pearl Oyster café at Preston, which has sweet 1960s décor, and Madame Brussels (Level 3, 59-63 Bourke St Melbourne) for a civilized ladies garden tea party or a glass or two of Pimms!
Q. Best source of info on all things vintage?
A. Candice DeVille, a gorgeous vintage queen, has a site that keeps you updated on glamorous vintage styling and much much more. I run Vintage Outings for visitors to discover Melbourne’s best vintage stores and I am also about to launch Melbourne’s first exclusive vintage guide book, so stay tuned!
Q. A quintessential vintage souvenir from Melbourne?
A. Pop in to see Pene at A Cottage Industry, Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, to see what wonders she creates with a kitsch Australiana teatowel. You can even wear them! It’s definitely a must have souvenir!
A big thank you to Brett of The Junk Company on 583 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, who opened their wonderful shop especially so Terence could shoot the gorgeous portraits of Danielle above.
Update 12/2/14: a reader has reported that Anonymous Posh has closed.