Friday, November 28, 2008

2 new players in Bourke Street Mall

I had been wondering for a while what new store will open in Bourke Street Mall where Bra's N Things used to be. Then Sportsgirl moved up the road leaving behind their old store leaving yet another empty space in the Mall. I had been hoping that maybe Rubi shoes will finally open a full blown store in Melbourne (apparently they are in some suburban shopping centres) instead of the current Cotton On plus Rubi shoes up the road on Bourke Street. Anyway I walked past the old BNT's space a few weeks ago and there were posters saying Forever New was opening soon in that spot. I had only seen that shop at the DFO on Spencer Street and never really liked it so I was a little disappointed. Then it did open, and boy is it tacky!

I walked past the night before opening night and then again on opening night (I live not very far from the store and I use the laneway beside as a shortcut) it was rather funny what we heard one of the builders say. He said they just built it as they went, there was no interior designer all they had was a shop fitter.Not that there is anything wrong with shop fitters, just I'm married to an interior designer and know that there is a little bit of a difference. It's kinda like when I was looking at rental properties a few years ago with my mum, we went to this place that was newly built but was actually planned by builders and not architects. It was crazy. To get up stairs to the bedrooms you had to walk through a laundry, and then once upstairs there was no landing you actually ended up in one of the bedrooms, all of which were attached so you had to walk through 2 bedrooms to get to the 3rd, and all of them to get to the only toilet in the house. Not only that but the kitchen was a triangle shape and the oven was at the pointy bit of the room...well you couldn't open the oven door! It just hit the wall. Also they forgot a space for the fridge. So yeah pretty much the place was a disaster. Well Forever New is akin to that disaster, a disaster in tackiness that is. Chandelier's are over used, racks are squeezed in and upstairs they even have a special formal (similar to a prom here in Aus) preparation area with a hair and make-up salon. The clothes are no better, polyester frou frou delights in beige and some disgusting floral maxi dresses. I'm probably offending some people, but that store belongs in the suburbs. Oh and the shop girls are of the irritating too happy kind, not to mention overly tanned and blonde. They are calling this their Flagship store. To me a Flagship store has to have something about it that is different, possibly conceptual, so just having a tacky formal salon isn't enough. Flagship stores in Tokyo break the mould, but here they try and don't succeed because they don't invest in the right people. Oh and apparently the founder of New Look UK was there as he is a part owner of Forever New, maybe that explains it a bit better for overseas readers? I remember New Look as being sorta similar, but maybe cheaper, from when I was in the UK (8 years ago now, my memory is faint)

On the other end of the spectrum is the new General Pants Co. store.

I have never liked General Pants much, but I do like this store. I'm not really one for chain stores you see (well expensive ones) I prefer op shops and small boutiques. Anyway when I read that this store was opening in the new issue of RUSSH magazine and that it was going to have different fashion designers design each change room I was excited. I went on opening day, which also coincided with the Bourke Street Christmas parade so it was very crowded. I really liked the indoor garden theme. It looks really cool with all the fake? greenery and wooden panels. It was too crowded to check out the change rooms that day, but I have since returned and wow they are cool. One is set up like a public toilet complete with a toilet bowl, another has a pay phone inside. This part of the store is by far the most interesting. Another thing I noticed was they had these cool chairs by DavidMetNicole which is an uber cool interiors store in Sydney. These chairs sell for a cool $4,900!!!!

Anyway I can't find any interior shots of the store so watch this video from the opening day at the Bourke Street store.

Yeah that video is lame and trying very hard to be young and cool, but you do get to see a lot of the store. what do you guys think? Have you had the chance to visit either store yet?


  1. I only recently saw my first Forever New shop, and I agree - Tack City! I couldn't get over all the frilly beige poly shite everywhere. There was one or two nice pairs of sandals though, and I did buy a cotton scarf off the clearance rack for $5, so it wasn't a complete wasteland - but close. And all those squished in racks everywhere!

    PS. I like GP though, things end up so insanely cheap on their sale racks.

  2. Putting together a large store would be mayhem without planning and only fitting!
    There is a huge difference between builders/designers! My boyfriend is a construction manager (building) and I'm studying architecture and there is such a huge difference in the way we think!
    But ouch! I live in the 'burbs but I can't say I'm attracted at all to Forever New's polyester palace.

  3. Working in VM, I am interested to check out GP, for sure. But I have a question- Hayley are you really truly married to Henry?! No offense but, you know, I always thought he was your gay "boyfriend"! (cos all the best people have one of those, right? Well, at least, I do....)
    Anyway, just curious is all.

  4. Just came back from the city actually, and I would have to agree on both points.

    Forever new is just so shiny and clinical, there's no character or any interesting concepts at all. I thought the girl who greeted me when I came through the door was a mannequin until she said 'hi' to me, lol (I often confuse mannequins as real people too, so don't mind me!).

    General pants was cool. I did love the greenery! I would like to have something like that at home. Clothing-wise it was not so impressive. I haven't bought something from there for years, to me it's like a grown up version of Jetty Surf type stores.

  5. wow!!
    what you say about the rental designed by builders is so interesting and weird!!!
    i wanna make art about that!!
    i love yr posts!!!!
    x x x
    <3 gooey holly xx x x x

  6. Wow..interesting "chain store". I wish we had some chain stores in Oklahoma that were that decent. We get stuck with stuff that was the hip stores in Cali like 3 years ago..GAH!

  7. woah that GP video was so lame that i had to stop watching it. i went in there the other day and the staff were the biggest bunch of wankers ever. we were trying to find out about the custom hav's they are selling, but we couldnt get anyones attention as they were all too busy just having a chat with one another. its a nicer store than they usually have and i think it only has a few brands and not their usual range.

    havent been in forever new but there was one in the new westfield doncaster that i checked out and it was awful.

  8. All i can say is you have no idea. The Forever New store is amazing. i have spent many years travelling and i have never seen any shop like it. You wouldn't know what style was if you fell over it. polyester please,Dont you know what real silk looks like? concidering you shop in OP shops i dont think you can comment on fashion

    All i can say is get a life

  9. Yay anon your comment made my day, I don't think I have ever laughed so much in my life. Real silk at Forever New? Shopping at OP shops isn't stylish? Wow what suburb are you from? I bet you LOVE Chadstone? Mall rat forever hey?

  10. Im not sure where you get your information but you are wrong, Forever New Bourke St, was in fact designed by an interior designer & drafting team


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