When Eva Galambos opened Parlour X in 2001, Paddington’s Five Ways was nothing like it is now. “There was a closed TAB and an IGA,” she says. “It’s now a quaint, chic creative artists’ hub, but when I took it on, it was empty.”

Over a decade-and-a-half at the original terrace store, Parlour X grew into a leading multi-brand luxury retailer. It won the 2015 Prix De Marie Claire Award for Best Australian Boutique. “We’d completely outgrown the space we were in,” Galambos says. “It was just a matter of finding a space I had chemistry with.”

This proved easier said than done. She spent more than a year searching for the perfect space. At one point, when Galambos felt she was at a dead end, she contacted the developers of the St John’s Church precinct, “just to walk in and tick it off the list”. But when she went inside, her reaction was unexpected. “My senses were completely energised,” she says. “It was seamless from the beginning.”

Given the nature of the building, Galambos had to deal with heritage restrictions throughout the renovation. The result focuses on subtle finishes that enhance what was already there, from the original sandstone to stained-glass windows. “I like to discover the rawness and bring my own creativity to something,” she says. “The building has such phenomenal presence.” Sleek, mirrored cabinets, white lights and pale wooden floorboards contrast with the sandstone. Clothing racks stretch the length of the walls; hanging everything from Comme des Garçons dresses to Balmain tees.

With a flourishing online business and in-house studio, the Parlour X staff extends well beyond the retail floor. “Our new offices are a glass structure sitting on top of the retail space,” says Galambos. “Having a comfortable back-of-house was as important as the front of house presentation for clients.”

In-store, Galambos’ favourite design feature is one of function-meets-form. She created an invisible, retractable security cable on all the bags, making them impossible to steal. “They double up as hooks,” she says. “So it also looks really smart and beautiful.”

Speaking from Paris fashion week, Galambos says the new store has raised the profile of Parlour X internationally. “It’s on another level. Designers have sent agents out to see it,” she says. “It’s like nothing anyone has seen.”

Parlour X
261 Oxford Street, Paddington
(02) 9331 0999

Hours
Mon to Wed, Fri & Sat 10am–6pm
Thu 10am–7pm
Sun 11am–5pm

parlourx.com