Gail Sorronda has taste. For 14 years the Brisbane fashion designer has found renown internationally and locally for her romantic, voluminous designs; the late Karl Lagerfeld commented that Sorronda was “one to watch”.
She spent nearly four years in Paris, where her designs caught the attention of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who stocked her label in their Milan boutique. Back home in Brisbane she settled on James Street and opened her flagship boutique in 2012. It’s safe to say that when it comes to finding unique pieces in Brisbane, Sorronda is in the know.
It’s this type of insider knowledge that informs MyBroadsheet, a new feature that will add a layer of personalisation to your experience of Broadsheet. MyBroadsheet will allow you to discover, document and save your favourite elements of the city through customisable lists and bookmarks. You’ll never be stuck for somewhere to eat, drink, shop or visit again.
Here are Sorronda’s pick of Brisbane’s best boutiques.
“Whenever I go in there it’s a really beautiful service,” says Sorronda, likening the ambience of the shop to something famous French alchemist Nicolas Flamel might have run. This place takes the idea of a signature scent to another level – there aren’t any mass-produced vibes here. Fragrances are from boutique perfumers from around the world and attentive staff is well versed in the fascinating story behind each brand. A favourite scent of Sorronda’s is Interlude by Amouage, a label from Oman. Containing frankincense and myrrh, it smells like something “from another time”, Sorronda says.
181 Robertson Street, New Farm
Optiko eyewear boutique claims to stock some of the most unique and rare pieces in the Southern Hemisphere and Sorronda agrees. “I often have friends visiting from interstate and they say, ‘Wow, this is a really amazing selection of eyewear’,” she says. Popular Lindberg, Oliver Peoples and Thom Browne frames share shelf space with one-off vintage glasses specially sourced by the shop’s owners. Sorronda will often borrow frames from the store to complement her clothing collections at fashion week. “No matter your taste there’s something for you – whether you’re more conservative or a little eccentric,” she says.
9/19 James Street, Brisbane City
The Gallery Store at Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is a great place for buying gifts because there’s genuinely something for everyone among the books, handicrafts, jewellery, toys and accessories. “The objects that they find for their gift selection always have a playful nature; there’s a sense of humour and an artisan quality to them,” says Sorronda, who was a proud ambassador for GOMA in 2018. “The GOMA staff are really passionate, you can feel the energy from the gallery transfer through to the gift shop, too.”
Grey Street, South Brisbane
Another place to find great gifts is Artisan, at the front of Craft Queensland. It’s stocked with contemporary craft and design pieces, 80 per cent of them made by Queensland designers. Sorronda has had some of her own designs exhibited in the neighbouring gallery. “There’s a real sense of spirit in the shop as well because you can tell the owner has been really thoughtful in the selection,” she says. The store itself is an aesthete’s delight with blond wood shelves, modish grey tiles framing the exterior windows and plenty of natural light.
45 King Street, Bowen Hills
Just one kilometre from Brisbane’s CBD, Mappins is a former warehouse that’s been converted into a green oasis, with hundreds of plants to suit every type of home and owner. “It’s an eclectic mix; you can spend a lot of time in there just getting lost discovering the different plants,” says Sorronda, who has bought hoya plants and fiddle leaf figs (“the most common thing on the planet!” she says, laughing) from the store. At Mappins you can find everything from terrariums to cacti to fish for your indoor or outdoor pond.
240 Montague Road, West End
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