Since the launch of St Agni by husband-and-wife team Matt and Lara Fells in 2014, the label has become synonymous with the laid-back yet refined look so often associated with Byron Bay. But its designs have always worked just as well in the city – you don’t need to be on your summer beach break to wear St Agni’s woven loafers and linen garments.
St Agni does a roaring trade online – it’s popular with major luxury retailers such as Net-a-Porter, The Dreslyn and Bloomingdale’s – so perhaps the first question to ask about its debut bricks-and-mortar shop (aside from the showroom attached to the Byron warehouse), is why? Lara Fells explains the move to open a flagship store on James Street in Fortitude Valley wasn’t necessarily good business, but something they wanted to pursue anyway. “Obviously online shopping is amazing, but I think you just don’t [get the full experience],” she says. “We love retail and the idea of creating the St Agni world.”
Brisbane wasn’t the only contender. The Fells toyed with Sydney and Melbourne before a trip to the Queensland capital late last year settled their plans. “I’d always loved James Street anyway,” Lara says, “but seeing [the changes] got me excited. Straight away, I could see that it would work [and] it happened really fast.”
The Fells teamed up with design studio Triibe to create a classy retail space. The corner tenancy is full of natural textures and contemporary furniture, including a timber centre island by Olivia Bossy, display plinths by Yasmin Bawa and a custom ceramic lamp base from Coe Studio. They’ve also recreated a version of the signature stepped shoe display that visitors to the Byron showroom will recognise.
The Brisbane store stocks all of the label’s major lines, including shoes, bags and clothing. There’s also jewellery and accessories from small third-party brands such as Holly Ryan, Two Hills and The Line of Sun.
Shop 9A, 23 James Street, Fortitude Valley
(07) 3257 4368
Mon to Fri 9.30am–5.30pm