What was once somewhat of a secret for Melbourne vintage lovers is now swiftly riding the information autobahn – the word is out about Circa Vintage not only in Melbourne but amongst illustrious international types. Nevertheless, I will assume there are still some poor deprived souls who love individual couture and all things retrospective and classic but haven’t heard of this most cool and cultivated of couture emporia.
Nestled away in South Fitzroy (yes, there is such a postcode) on Gertrude Street, just up from Brunswick Street, Circa is unashamedly a specialist shop. Unlike your Retrostar/Revival type shops, it’s not a grab bag of oldish sellables, it’s a cultivated collection of wardrobe highlights from the turn of the century to (roughly) the sixties. Nicole Jenkins, the owner, is very well versed in the history of the frock and suit, and has handpicked everything from skirts, ballroom gowns, shoes, gloves, waistcoats, hats… etc etc. You’ll find deco to victorian, mod to tasteful repro and much more. Jewellery, cards, accessories oh goodness I can’t keep going it’s just a trip you’ll have to make for yourself. What you will definitely find is a kick in the behind re: contemporary design – it’s difficult to avoid coming to the conclusion that 50 years ago attention to detail and fabric quality was – excuse the pun – a cut above what we accept these days. Most items seem to be lined, lots of nice individual or matching buttons, beautifully finished seams etc etc. Worth a look even if you don’t end up buying anything, just to remind yourself what it was like to have clothes made properly and casts even more doubt on buying new off shore sweat shop made clothing.
The best thing about Circa: well, basically it’s just that it’s Circa – as an entity or phenomenon. Fantastically unique and anachronistic, stepping into Circa is like stepping into some 40s glamour movie. The staff are always amazingly dressed, the music is usually period-related, the lighting, furnishings: pretty much everything is in keeping with the vintage theme. No wonder Dita Von Teese dropped in here on her way through town a year or 2 ago.
The second best thing about Circa: unlike most vintage places around and on the ‘net, Circa caters for the Vintage Gentleman. A fair amount of actual old things – including ties and braces – but also some excellent repro to match the old things: Circa does the classy gent all manner of justice.
The downside: well, it’s not a downside but consider it a caveat. While everything is reasonably priced for what it is, and some lovingly restored to former glory when brought into the hands of Nicole Jenkins: Circa is not a bargain basement. Don’t go there expecting to find something you know is worth $500 for $5. Go there to find quality vintage at a price that is reasonable but worthy of what it is. Certainly you won’t find contemporary gowns with a similar fabric and design quality for less – probably much more – so remember what you’re paying for.
Fabulous vintage for fabulous people.Shop 1, 102 Gertrude StreetFitzroy, Victoria 3065Australia
Phone : 03 9419 8899 Fax : 03 9415 6765
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday11am to 6pm or by appointment.
Summer opening hours:
For the month of January, we’ll be open just three days a week, but available by appointment at other times (please call 9419 8899 to arrange).
Monday – Closed
Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday – Closed
Thursday – 11am to 6pm
Friday – 11am to 6pm
Saturday – 11am to 6pm
Sunday – Closed