Charley Weaver – what a contradictory palace of curios this is! One part Gimcracks and novelties, one part overpriced ‘original’ pieces, one part genuinely unique curios: it’s certainly a difficult place to pigeonhole. Named presumably after the 5o’s American television character famous for his shambolic shirt, hat and braces look and predictable “take my wife” style humour (although I’m really not sure why it would be named after that), Charley Weaver’s emporium has been haunting Melbourne for over ten years, first in Barkly Street, St Kilda and now in Chapel Street Windsor.
The thematic mainstay of this shop is gothic/horror with a token nod to wicca: from cheap statuettes to vintage couture, corsets and the occasional bona fide antique piece. Charley Weaver’s walls and shelves are over-filled with the sublime and the ridiculous to the point where it can be difficult to tell the method from the madness. However, that’s part of the fun, and the main reason to visit Charley Weaver (apart from the days you need to buy your gothic friend a present) is to explore their eccentricity laden nooks. It can be like walking through a Tim Burton theme park put together by Ed Wood in some ways, as limply camp as the Luna Park ghost train but with a heavily theatrical ‘gothic’ sensibility. Noone but Charley Weaver would try to exist just selling this schtick. I say good on them for keeping goth just a little bit gaudy.
The best thing about Charley Weaver: the unpredictability and the camp. Occasionally there is a covetable piece in there, with special mention to corsetry and what they call ‘museum pieces’ and the chase is always a motivating force to poke one’s nose in a store.
The downside: unless you have a lot of gothic friends who secretly love a knick-knack, this shop only bears limited repetition: once every month or two seems to be plenty often enough to see the stock change and be ready for this particular brand of distraction. However there really are sometimes interesting pieces on offer in jewellery or decor: eg they do have from time to time some impressively classic looking gargoyles to hang on your wall. They do also stock some handy staple items like fishnets and hair colours. The following is what Charley Weaver state on their (extremely dodgy 1995 interwebs chic – check those gifs! ) website is their stock range:
GOTHIC CLOTHING & JEWELLERY, ROEBUCK COFFIN & CORSET BAGS, SWORDS, DAGGERS, & ATHAMES, FISHNET TOPS & STOCKINGS, DIRECTIONS HAIR COLOUR, EMILY THE STRANGE, VOLLERS CORSETS, MUSEUM SPECIMENS, WILDCAT BODY JEWELLERY, STUDDED COLLARS, CUFFS, & BELTS, LIVING DEAD & BLEEDING EDGE GOTH DOLLS
ADDRESS: 38a Chapel St. Windsor, Vic. 3181 (Melbourne, Australia)
PHONE: (03) 9529-GOTH (That’s 9529-4684 if you’d rather use numbers!)