“For discerning men” – so reads the Épatant tagline. Situated in a tree-lined pocket of Collingwood behind the bedlam of Smith Street, the store’s offering is as concisely on-point as its motto, combining a range of classic and essential objects with impassioned customer service.
The friendly face that greets you in store is Lachlan Smeeton who, with business partner Dennis Paphitis (Aesop founder and creative director), has been collecting a list of fine quality products and ‘necessary’ men’s items for the past few years. Smeeton and Paphitis have spared no effort in ensuring their offering caters to a range of men who desire practical and chic items to be central to their lives. You will find underwear by Sunspel and Scheisser, vintage Cutler and Gross frames, Pilen bicycles and cycling accessories, linen-bound Notting Hill Edition box sets and Fox umbrellas in black maple, oak and hickory.
Walking into the bright warehouse that houses Épatant sparks excitement on more than a product level – there’s a cafe! Sharing the space is Mina-no-ie, launched by Cibi owners Meg and Zenta Tanaka just as recently as Épatant. Friends prior to this partnership, Smeeton, Paphitis and the Tanakas realised that bringing their new endeavours under the one roof would be fruitful for all involved. With the interior designed as a team effort, the result sees cafe and shop blend seamlessly into one another with a focus on a minimal palette and subtle details like cabinets lined with back-issues of the New Yorker. The best part is the inevitable coffee-in-hand browse. It’s clear that the focus at this store is personality and detail, the owners having worked with a selection of brands to create customised items, including impeccably stitched leather-goods by Isaac Reina and combs and shoehorns from Abbeyhorn.