If Fran Fine from The Nanny had an Australian cousin, she’d probably look like Stavroula Adameitis. The Adelaide-born-and-bred designer, best known as her high-octane alter ego Frida Las Vegas, is the high priestess of colourful kitsch.

Known for her bright and bold patterns, Adameitis has dressed everyone from Katy Perry to the cast of Neighbours and collaborated with big brands such as Peter Alexander and Sugar Republic. Her commitment to an unashamedly outrageous aesthetic has made her an industry name. After stints in Sydney and New York, Adameitis has moved back to Adelaide to open her first physical space, a gallery/studio/retail store with psychedelic swirls splashed across the walls and racks upon racks of size-inclusive kaftans.

Adameitis sat down with Broadsheet to share her take on what makes Adelaide a creative haven and where she goes for everything from a VCR rental to an all-you-can-eat Mongolian buffet.

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Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m an artist and designer working across all sorts of mediums, from neon and acrylic to textiles, illustrations and installations. Growing up in the ’burbs, I yearned for real life to look as bombastic as my favourite movies directed by visual fabulists like Pedro Almodóvar and John Waters. So I decided to create art and fashion for people who similarly embrace colour and camp as a refuge from the Ikea-ness of it all.

What do you love about Adelaide?

You know the cliche in every teen movie where the ugly-duckling-with-a-heart-of-gold protagonist removes the dorky glasses to reveal a stunner? That’s a perfect metaphor for Adelaide – there’s so much beauty here hiding in plain sight.

What’s something you miss about Adelaide when you’re away?

That it’s entirely possible to have breakfast in the hills, lunch at the beach, dinner in the city and go to a party at your mate’s place all in one day. There’s no other city in Australia where you can cover such diverse geographic terrain without getting stuck in traffic and/or get extorted by toll roads. The “20 minutes to everywhere” rule is real and it’s glorious.

What’s your favourite place to grab a bite in Adelaide?

I hold a deep, abiding love for suburban family-owned restaurants who never change their menus, especially Genghis Khan Mongolian BBQ in Rostrevor. You can chow down on the all-you-can-eat buffet in the original 1970s interior whilst being watched by tropical fish in the dining room tank. I’m also partial to a gelatinous Chinatown food court fry-up at Pure Vegetarian, the hot dogs from Athelstone Deli and an OG Rocket Cone from Wendy’s Ingle Farm Shopping Centre.

What about your favourite place to drink?

Carmine’s Wines is a hidden backyard cellar door just off Port Road in Beverley and is home to local winemaker Carmine De Ieso’s truly quaffable selection of sparkling shiraz, ports and fortifieds. Going to Carmine’s is like entering the “good room” of the eccentric Italian winemaker uncle you wish you had. There’s even a shrine to Bacchus where you wear a hat covered in plastic grapes, kneel before the wine gods and pay your respects. An afternoon session at Carmine’s is nothing short of wino heaven.

Do you have any favourite shops?

I can’t get enough of Vicious Video. Walking through the front door, you immediately enter a time vortex back to your neighbourhood video store circa 1989. There’s even a “naughty section” at the back with all the R18+ skin flicks shrouded by a black curtain – talk about period accuracy! For vintage clothes, you’re guaranteed to strike gold at the Sustainable Clothing Co and Dulcie’s Vintage in Adelaide Arcade.

What’s one of the city’s most underrated spots?

Visiting the Egypt Room at the South Australian Museum is a peacefully seance-like experience. The wall murals haven’t changed since the 1940s and the collection of Egyptian mummies, sarcophagi and objects is reliably mind-blowing, no matter how many times you’ve been there before.

Where’s your favourite place to shop in Adelaide?

Hands down Omega Foods, the best continental deli supermarket in Adelaide – if not all of Australia. Whether you’re in the market for bulk sugared almonds, bags of charcoal, vats of olives, ceramic earthenware, delicious cheeses or tinned meze, Omega’s got you covered. There’s a Greek Orthodox church in the car park so devout shoppers can pay’n’pray. Take my word for it, a trip to Omega is like a holiday in Athens by way of Hindmarsh!

Is there an essential Adelaide experience?

Accidentally finding yourself at La Sing Karaoke sometime between the hours of 11pm and 4am, crooning to a crowd of enthusiastically inebriated strangers, slurping on noodles and ordering drinks you know you don’t need (but really, really want).

Tell us about someone or something that makes Adelaide a better place?

The “do-ers” who call Adelaide home and bring about positivity through their work – the musicians, visual artists, winemakers, writers, restaurateurs, dancers, designers, photographers, thinkers and dreamers. These people change the fabric of the city on a grassroots level through sweat equity and sheer ingenuity. A city is only as dynamic as the people who consistently put themselves out there to make it a more fabulous place for everyone to live in.

Frida Las Vegas is located at Shop 24, Charles Street Plaza, Adelaide

www.fridalasvegas.com/
@fridalasvegas