The paint is barely dry on the walls. In the wake of Alice Euphemia’s closure, the silver (or pastel pink) lining is Kuwaii’s gleaming new flagship store, which opens today in the very same building.

Housed inside the historic Cathedral Arcade underneath the Nicholas Building, Nest Architects have transformed the shop into a bright, airy space that is feminine but with a modern sensibility. The clean lines of the powder-coated railings and gridded display cabinets are overlaid with Kuwaii’s signature pastel colours: pale pink, mauve and grey, with a flash of gold.

The opening marks a new chapter for Kuwaii, its founder Kristy Barber, and the city’s retail too. With shopping megastore Emporium just opened and a stream of international retail giants pouring in over the past couple of years, its a triumph for a niche Melbourne designer to be able to open a sophomore store amongst it all, and in such a prominent location too.

Barber explains that the decision has been a long time coming: “We’ve been looking at opening a second store for a while, and with the closure of Alice Euphemia next door, we no longer had a presence in the city. So we took matters into our own hands.”

Having always been a brand that supports its creative networks, the store features a hand-picked selection of jewellery and accessories from other local makers such as Anna Varendorff and Melanie Rice.

In the face of so many overseas fast-fashion brands hitting Melbourne, the Barber emphasises, “We’re the antithesis of that.” Her thinking is, “The bigger the stores are, and the more there are of them, the more people will be looking for some sort of alternative.”

Kuwaii CBD
Shop 7–8 Cathedral Arcade, 37 Swanston Street, Melbourne
(03) 9639 4942

Mon to Thurs 10am–6pm
Fri 10am–8pm
Sat 10am–5pm
Sun noon–4pm