In a part of the CBD thick with cafes, boutiques and tattoo parlours, there’s an 1890s horse stable with original features intact. It is here, down Rankins Lane, that one of Australia’s most innovative labels, bassike, has set up a new home.
“First and foremost we wanted to have a city location, and we always had this idea of having stores that were a little bit off the beaten track,” says co-founder Mary-Lou Ryan. “We still wanted to be in the mix of the area, but we wanted to do our own thing.”
While there is a sister store in Hawksburn, this two-storey space offers a unique retail experience. There are four rooms, each with a different theme. Downstairs is menswear and women’s co-op, where bassike’s classic Japanese denim and organic jersey cotton can be found.
Upstairs is like a Scandanavian retreat, with a leather sofa covered in Toscana sheepskins, Henry Wilson furniture and an original fireplace. The arched ceilings are high with exposed beams, and whitewashed walls complement hardwood floorboards. Warehouse windows overlook the laneway and neighbouring buildings.
The upper-level showcases the ready-to-wear range, together with bassike’s exclusive eyewear, Mud ceramics, Birkenstocks and Vans. There are also luxurious bags by Australian-based label State of Escape and French legend Jérôme Dreyfuss.
The current spring/summer 2014 collection includes laser-cut viscose, bonded leather and fabric made from bamboo. Edges are raw and shapes are architectural, while colours are tonal with navy and military-green highlights.
“Slowly but surely, as it feels right and when it makes sense, you start to add layers to what you do,” says Deborah. “I think it’s really about doing what you are good at and not trying to do too much.”
Kelvin Ho of Akin Creative designed the interior and is the man behind bassike’s five other boutiques. Ho maintains a cohesive aesthetic throughout each store, but incorporates each building’s details and location.
“Rather than just being a space where people buy something and leave, we want them to feel comfortable to sit down, walk around and take their time,” Deborah says.
What bassike’s new store offers is an aspirational approach to dressing and lifestyle that is warm, minimal and chic.
1–3 Rankins Lane (off Little Bourke Street), Melbourne
(03) 8677 5702
Mon to Fri 10am–5.30pm
Fri & Sat 10am–6pm