“There are no real rules to this space,” says Huw Bennett. “It’s meant to look like a building site – half-done – we didn’t want regular racking or a traditional retail space.”
Bennett, one-third of the all-boy team behind cult Australian label Vanishing Elephant, is feeling pretty chuffed right now. And who can blame him? After a successful two years playing shop in Melbourne’s QV, his label has found a second home in Sydney’s Westfield Bondi Junction. “We wanted to do Sydney for a while, but we couldn't find a space,” explains Bennett. “It’s a pretty full-on undertaking.” When a store was finally nabbed among the shiny prestige of Bondi’s high-gloss, ultra-luxe Westfield complex, the task was to fashion a fit-out that combined the brand’s ethos of simple, standout prints and signature tailoring with a considered response to their new surrounds.
“[Since] we were going into a shopping centre, we wanted to do a bit of a piss take on [the idea of] luxury,” says Bennett. With the help of Akin Creative, Bennett and his partners created a nuanced retail experience, starting with a clean canvas of concrete flooring and white walls. Floor-to-ceiling exposed beams form woodwork frames, pulling the consumer gaze upward and creating a feeling of suspension and weightlessness. Among the Vanishing Elephant goods for her and him – including rainbow tie-dye button ups, buttery leather jackets and classic stripe tees – there is a careful selection of curious objects and essentials sourced from the team’s travels.
Pink LouLou, a fine jewellery brand abounding with delicate gold charms and keepsakes has its own little nook in store, as do Buddy’s white-soled shoes (“I always try to get a pair in Japan but you can never find your size!”). There’s a handpicked selection of Australian magazines (Paper Sea, The Blackmail and BRACE) and ritual-inspiring grooming products from New Zealand’s Triumph and Disaster. Leather comes courtesy of the husband-and-wife team at Tailfeather, in painstakingly crafted bags and understated casings for Apple goods.
If you’re in need of something classic, Vanishing Elephant are finally, thankfully here at your service.
Vanishing Elephant Sydney
Shop 3022 Westfield Bondi Junction
500 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction
(02) 9389 4138
Mon to Wed 9.30am–6pm