Melbourne’s first A.P.C. (Atelier de Production et de Création) boutique has the pale oak, parquet flooring and aluminum fixtures reminiscent of its international sister stores. Yet its wide, eight-metre frontage looking out onto one of the city’s most notable shopping laneways makes it distinctly Melbourne. The store is designed by French architect Laurent Deroo, a long-time A.P.C. collaborator and the designer of its London, New York and Paris outposts. Incu co-founder Brian Wu, who helped bring the store to our shores, says adding a touch of the city was something Deroo took pains to consider. “He walked around the area to try and get a feel for Melbourne and he definitely got a bit of inspiration from what he saw around here.”
The new A.P.C. store will stock the full international range of men’s and women’s workwear-inspired apparel, quality denim and accessories from the spring/summer 2014 collection as well as A.P.C. collaborations with M/M, Bonton, Vanessa Seward and a sporty-chic collaboration with Nike.
Although Wu says there was equal opportunity between Melbourne and Sydney to claim A.P.C., it was the ease of finding the right location in Melbourne that made it possible for the brothers to open it here first. “I think in Sydney it’s a lot harder to find leases,” he says. The boutique’s location across the road from the Incu women’s store also made commercial sense; Incu has been stocking A.P.C. since 2006, so the new store was an acceleration of the brand and an extension of an existing dialogue.
Despite many Australian retailers closing their doors as international names infiltrate our market (Topshop, Uniqlo, H&M and Muji), Wu said the timing to open a stand-alone store for A.P.C. was just right. “The internet is such a huge component of retail. People reading blogs, and becoming aware of international brands has really picked up in the last couple of years,” he says.
He sees A.P.C. as being different to the fast-fashion base that is establishing itself in Australia because the clothing brand has always bucked trends rather than follow them. Founder Jean Touitou is notorious for giving discounts to teachers rather than courting celebrity endorsements and his designs, in his words, are a “search for subtlety.”
“Dare to pass as someone reserved, refuse the stereotypes of sexiness,” Touitou writes in an article in The Guardian, “that way you will spread the fever only where it deserves to be.” Here in Melbourne it seems our temperature is high.
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Albert Coates Lane, Melbourne
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