Space on Gertrude Street is rare as hen’s teeth. So when menswear purveyor Chris Pickings saw two tenancies beside each other, in the building formerly occupied by the Broadsheet Restaurant, he jumped on them for his store-plus-more, Pickings and Parry.
“They were the exact size we were dreaming of. But we couldn’t afford it,” Pickings says. “But we knew that getting two spaces like that, side-by-side on Gertrude Street, was pretty much impossible. It wouldn’t happen again, so we kind of made it happen.”
Just a few paces down the street from the original store, Shop 3/166 Gertrude is the new home of Pickings and Parry, the exhaustive emporium of all things gentlemanly that Pickings owns with his wife Carlan. Next door, there’s a new womenswear sister store, Heffernan and Haire.
While the building is brand new, Pickings worked hard to recreate the hand-worn charm of the old. “We were concerned about how we were going to turn a very contemporary concrete space into the same feeling we had before,” he says. “We wanted to keep control of design … We were known for the interiors, and we didn’t want to lose that.”
With the help of one of his customers, Rob Neville, who happens to be a director at fit-out company StorePro, Pickings and his team retiled the space, added custom-made cabinets and joinery, and installed their pièce de résistance: a panelled ceiling made entirely from firehoses.
“We saw a feature in London in a hotel where they’d used old firehoses to weave through wooden panels in the ceiling,” says Parry. “We started looking for vintage lay-flat firehoses, which proved to be very difficult to find. Most of them have been discontinued, so it’s only old buildings that have them. We scoured Gumtree, eBay … and we drove all over rural Victoria.
“It was sort of a blessing in disguise, because creatively it was harder but it made the ceiling more eclectic. Because we had all these diverse hoses with different widths and colours, we managed to create really interesting, individual pieces that were sort of like artworks in the roof.”
Regulars will find the new Pickings and Parry very inviting; the barber zone has expanded (without losing any of its old-timey charm) and there’s a larger bar with an even wider selection of booze. The range of Barbour jackets, Kent combs, Old Hands jeans, Merz b. Schwanen shirts, Filson bags, Stetson hats and Wolverine shoes has likewise enlarged, but the ethos behind the selection remains unchanged.
“All the things I cherish and that I grew up loving have all been passed down and kept. If you’re buying something that’s expensive, it should be something that you want to keep,” says Pickings.
“We’re about the quality and the manufacture. A big part of it for us is being timeless. Having the story of where something comes from.”
Pickings and Parry
Shop 3/166 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9417 3390
Mon to Wed 10am–6pm
Fri & Sat 10am–6pm