Though Elissa McGowan is a fashion designer by trade, her creative cues come from different fields – museums, photographs, books, even candles. “Inspiration is at the forefront of inviting my customers into an artistic experience,” she says, “so it really comes into [my business] a lot.”

McGowan moved from Sydney to Melbourne in 2018 and her eponymous womenswear brand is going from strength to strength. She’s just designed an exclusive collection for Lane Crawford, an influential retailer in Hong Kong and China. Still in her twenties, she’s also presented a collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in 2014.

It’s this type of insider knowledge that has inspired the launch of MyBroadsheet, a new feature that will add a layer of personalisation to your regular experience of Broadsheet. With it you can 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 five of McGowan’s top spots around town for seeking inspiration.

TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville
“What’s particularly beautiful about it is the scale of the museum, and the dynamic between the space and the artwork. Healesville is also quite removed from the noise of Melbourne. It was designed by an architect called Allan Powell and started by a couple [Eva and Marc Beson] who had a private art collection. There’s also a winery [TarraWarra Estate] on the grounds.”

Point Leo Estate Sculpture Park, Mornington Peninsula
“My dear friend Katherine Laurie introduced me to it. She knows how much inspiration I find in art, specifically sculpture. One of my favourite artists and greatest sources of inspiration is the sculptor Barbara Hepworth. Some of her finest works are set against a backdrop of natural landscapes, and Pt. Leo Estate is reminiscent of this in its balance of sculpture against natural elements. It makes a really unique art experience and a beautiful day out, just over an hour away from my home. It’s a perfect weekend escape.”

Pt. Leo Estate

ReadingRoom, CBD
“This gallery is in the Nicholas Building in the city so it starts off with a pretty beautiful space to begin with. Fairly new, it’s run by Olivia Radonich, the partner of a designer called Ed Davis. Their exhibitions are a mix of contemporary art and literature and they work in unique mediums too. It’s quite a broad perspective and I like that it’s presenting art in a modern context. They work with a lot of international artists, which I like. I discover a lot of new artists through what they do.”

Perimeter Books, Thornbury
“I’m quite tactile, so I love to have lots of printed work around me. I really love Perimeter – it’s an amazing space. It’s so unique in Thornbury and there’s not much else like it around there. They have a very well curated collection of books: things I would seek out internationally [if they weren’t there]. A lot of really forward-thinking titles, art books and zines.”

Le Labo, Fitzroy
“Le Labo, with headquarters in New York, produces the most beautiful perfumes and scents. It’s a really lovely space on Gertrude Street and also an amazing sensory experience. A scent is such a trigger for memory, so I love being surrounded by them. They have a range of different products, like perfumed oils and candles and body products. They also blend perfumes on the spot, which is unique.”

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