With the swift disappearance of Belinda from Melbourne’s GPO in September, we’re left to wander aimlessly in search of international and multi-labelled boutiques, raising the harrowing question, where did they all go and why?
The presence of Australian designer boutiques is undoubtedly a valued feature of Melbourne’s design community. However, as boutiques stocking labels that are not self-manufactured continue to dwindle, questions of economic health begin to brew.
In essence, boutiques choosing to stock a variety of international and national brands encounter a higher cost than the self-producing boutique – a disparity only exacerbated in the midst of financial crisis. The closing of Belinda is a sobering reminder of economic turmoil in the retail world.
Belinda Seper’s careful curation and thoughtful buying is of the highest standards and her presence is appreciated nationally. So then we’re left with a foreboding question: if a store of this calibre can’t survive in Melbourne’s GPO, what then is the fate of Melbourne’s other multi-labelled boutiques? It’s an ominous question tempered by a warning that urges us to embrace our retail community at similar stores like Alice Euphemia and Incu.
There’s no need for Belinda lovers to despair completely. The store in Hawksburn still remains as beautiful as ever, as do her Sydney stores (The Corner Shop and Belinda) after Seper and her buying team return fresh from Paris fashion week. Dropping into store now are new pieces by Dries Van Noten, Marni and Hockley Furs.