Halcyon House feels more like its owner Emma van de Merwe’s living room than your average Melbourne vintage store. That’s because it is. She lives upstairs and spends her days sourcing, curating and selling high-quality vintage clothes for her colourful and nostalgic shop.

Van de Merwe lived between London and Amsterdam for years, where she regularly scoured vintage stores and flea markets. She dreamt of opening her own vintage store and quietly stockpiled her rare finds. In 2019, she moved back to Melbourne and started selling furniture under Loamme Vintage, at Retropolis in Preston. She kicked her dreams into gear during the lockdowns, selling vintage clothes online (including some pieces from her own wardrobe) before opening on Smith Street in mid-2022.

The hole-in-the-wall spot is a bonafide destination for high-quality vintage from Europe, the US and Australia. On any given day you might find a 1970s Levi’s green suede jacket, a paisley printed maxi dress or tan leather cowboy boots. Van de Merwe leans towards natural fibres in her sourcing, meaning you’ll likely find cotton, silk and linen numbers here, too. She works with a handful of other buyers, who source standout items from the ’60s and ’70s that still work with the modern wardrobe.

The clothes aren’t the only thing that make you feel like you’re in a ’70s time warp. The fit-out, which Van de Merwe put together with her parents, is nostalgic by design. From the original ’60s counter up front to the neon green sign for the change rooms at the back. The concrete floor is covered in vintage handmade Persian rugs, and the exposed brick walls are lined with vintage pieces such as 1970s leather jackets.

If you’re hoping to recreate some of the vintage charm in your own home, you can also buy her curated furniture and homewares online. You might find vintage Kilim rugs, mid-century bar carts and 1970s lamps. Or you can work with her one-on-one, and send her on a mission to source furniture and homewares for your own living room.

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Updated: March 22nd, 2023

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