Claude Maus is not a label to jump the gun. Designer and founder Rob Maniscalco has taken the steady route from day one back in 2000, gradually earning his brand a devoted following and status as a Melbourne sartorial icon. Recent years have seen the launch of the Claude by Claude Maus diffusion label, a Northern Hemisphere line and the iconic Manchester Lane store. The latest development brings Claude Maus closer to its north-side fans with the launch of a second location in Fitzroy.

The new store melds seamlessly into its surrounds on the bustling upper Brunswick Street shopping strip, neighboured by the likes of Fat and Jack London. A Fitzroy local himself, Maniscalco says he has wanted to bring the label’s focus back home for some time.

“We’ve been around for a while and have expanded a lot, focusing for the past couple of years on the international sell-through,” he says of the company, which is now owned by parent company Factory X (whose stable also includes Alannah Hill, Jack London and Gorman). “We thought it was time to re-establish ourselves in the domestic market – and what better way to do that than with a new store!”

Designed by Maniscalco and artists Pat Foster and Jen Berean, the fit-out aligns with that of the Manchester Lane store in its minimal and earthy aesthetic. An emphasis on clean lines, wood and metal elements leaves the focus on the clothes themselves, the current Autumn Winter 2012 collection being the first to fill the space.

Maniscalco’s use of creamy leathers and glossy furs has always reflected a certain grungy elegance, with fine quality materials and higher price points supplemented by a roaring mid-level denim trade. The current in-store range is another fresh development for Claude Maus, pushing a street-wear vibe previously foreign to the label. Forest green and burnt orange take centre stage, cast across casual outerwear silhouettes like goose-down puffer jackets and relaxed knits.

With this shift in direction and a fresh new home, it’s clear that Claude Maus is in it for the long haul, one step at a time.

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Claude Maus
242 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Mon to Sat 10am–6pm
Sun 11am–5pm