Up Late on James Street

Words by Hannah Rabbitt

Published in Moustache Magazine

You know how mum always said it wasn’t good to stay up late? She was wrong. Marie Claire teamed up with James Street for the third consecutive year to bring Brisbane a well-deserved night of shopping, champagne, free goodies, and designer shoulder rubbing. Cue squeals of giddy excitement and the sound of bank accounts dwindling.

The night not only provided an excellent opportunity to bag a bargain (15% off storewide at Zimmermann- umm yes please), nab a killer insty shot (the Marie Claire photo booth was literally too cool) and get a little tipsy (free Veuve at Sass and Bide, ladies) but it was also a great chance for homegrown talent to shine and Brisbane to further develop its image as a fully adept culture and high-fashion hub.

Lydia Pearson and Pamela Easton from successful Aussie brand Easton Pearson were amongst the designers who attended to walk attendees through their latest collections. Members of the Marie Claire team meandered the street, dishing out expert fashion and beauty advice to shoppers. Among them was Publisher and Editor Jackie Frank, who says Brisbane keeps up with trends, but in our own manner.

“Your fashion scene is dictated to you by your weather, so it’s much more relaxed. I see a lot of colour up here, which is what I love. You can have a lot of fun with your clothes because you’ve always got a lot of sunshine.”

“You are keeping up, but you are keeping up in the way that is needed for the way you live.”

Aje, famous for their sequined skirts and ‘disheveled elegance’, also chose the evening to unveil their first official Brisbane store. A complementary bar service was well received and everyone enjoyed the very first look at the squeaky clean and fresh new store. Designer Edwina Robinson sung praises of securing a spot on the popular strip.

“We did a pop store in Westfield, but we were trying to find a space on James Street, which happened! It’s amazing! Both Adrian and I were originally from Queensland and I went to university in Brisbane so we’ve always wanted to be here.”

“I think [James Street] is amazing to be honest. Adrian and I both live in Sydney and there are little pockets but it doesn’t have the shopping areas with lots of restaurants. You guys have everything happening here! It’s really extraordinary and I hope everyone follows suit.”

“I don’t feel that way [that Brisbane gets a second hand look so Sydney and Melbourne], maybe the media portrays it as such. You guys have so much to offer here.”

At Samantha Ogilvie, designer Megan Park and owner of the eponymous boutique, Samantha herself, wandered and chatted to Moët-sipping attendees and gave the lowdown on this season’s leather and colour explosion (I was frothing at Ms Ogilvie’s printed Derek Lam jacket). She too agreed that James Street has its finger on the pulse.

“We’ve been here just eighteen months. It’s on fire. This area is just brilliant and business has been very, very good.”

At Robb + Lulu personally painted canvas’ invited customers into store to watch designer for the up and coming label, Lulu McDermott, work her water-colour magic and of course, snap up some discounted goodies. McDermott said being part of the precinct and the Marie Claire event has been great for her brand.

“It’s fabulous. I love it! It’s a great spot for us. I think this is the prime spot in Brisbane, and we are really lucky to be here. Brisbane is growing in everyway possible and I think it’s very on trend.”

“Hopefully [the event] creates a bit of excitement in terms of shopping and getting people out and driving them into store,” editor Jackie Franks added.

I don’t personally need any motivation to get shopping, but judging by the amount of shopping bags swinging nonchalantly from arms by the end of the evening, the event was a win for shoppers and storeowners alike. Staying up late has never been so rewarding.

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