One could make hackneyed jokes about local label LIFEwithBIRD finally taking flight, achieving fledgling status and leaving the safety of the nest this year. But trite as they are, such jokes are apt, as designer duo Bridget McCall and Nick Van Messner have taken a massive leap forward with the label during the past month.

The foremost cause for celebration was cutting the ribbon on their very first stand-alone boutique. It has been eight years since LIFEwithBIRD hatched (sorry) and the label can be found around Oz and in locales such as Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Korea. A solid foundation no doubt, yet there is nothing quite like the feeling of holding the keys to your very own pad, and until last week a sole LIFEwithBIRD store has remained elusive. Now the label is entrenched in its hometown, on the second floor of Melbourne’s GPO, in the company of their fashion peers such as Manning Cartell, Lisa Ho and Willow.

Interior design newcomers Wonder have designed the space in the vein of a gallery. As you may imagine it is all white with airy, high ceilings, tall windows and clean lines that show off the full LIFEwithBIRD collection. ‘Blur’ is the title of their current Autumn Winter offering and the first stocked at the concept store. Van Messner suggests the range blurs boundaries between hard and soft, between leather and silk and between draping and tailoring. All of the “now” wardrobe essentials are accounted for, with high-impact leggings, jumpsuits and 90s slip dresses featured. Bleached-out shades of eggshell and baby blue are a soft palette against hard black and gunmetal grey.

Another new venture available at the store, and tying in with current international trends, is the introduction of fur to the line. Collaborating with Bedalia, a small firm who collect vintage and recycled fur, LIFEwithBIRD breaks down the old pieces only to rework them into modern shapes for vests and jackets. Speaking of injecting life into old ideas, this season sees the reintroduction of their line of bags that helped establish the label in the early days. The quality pieces are constructed by hand from imported Spanish and Italian leathers and are intended for use by both genders.

Since you simply cannot call it a true “flagship” store these days without some sort of fancy art installation on-site, one of Australia’s most collectible artists, sculptor Britt Salt, has already exhibited several of her works there.

If all of the above is simply not enough LIFEwithBIRD goodness for your greedy self, their e-boutique has recently opened too. It seems 2010 is LIFEwithBIRD’s (epically hectic) year.

Where: Level 1, Melbourne’s GPO, 350 Bourke Street.
When: Mon-Thu 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm