Antons – dapper dreams for a drab world. Level 3, Melbourne CentralJanuary 20, 2008
Antons clothing is a Melbourne Must!
Have you ever visited the lofty 3rd floor of Melbourne Central? If so, have you walked past – or even dropped into – the 40s timetrip that is Antons? Even the outside of the shop tells you that this shop doesn’t belong in a chainstore mall – its coppery deco-reminiscent window frames hold what is usually some kind of themed window display using their retro-styled mannequins and some unusual props and curios: Antons’ owner is a collector of ephemera from monster and alien figurines to stuffed animals and other brilliant oddities. It’s like nectar to the eyes after row after row of bleak generic stores to see their idiosyncratic display winking brightly at you.
While Antons is ostensibly a clothing shop it s true that one’s first visit is more like a step into a film set: think Casablanca or Cairo in the early 20th century. There are racks of clothing within a 40s to burlesque style – magnificent opulently lined coats and suits for men, coquettish bustiers, corsets and skirts for women plus some ubersharp womens’ suiting. The staff are dressed according to the Anton World and are helpful and often quite gregarious: they seem happy – keen even – to absorb you into their era and aesthetic as though you were casting to be an extra in their filmic world. So, be prepared to surrender yourself to their vast Powers of Styling.
The interior of Antons is like the exterior – adding to the sense of changed-reality you feel when inside. More and more curios in hidden corners attract your eye: many from old films or popular culture you had forgotten, some others like trophies of an imperial raider. While you’re casting an admiring eye at a well cut suit or an unusual fabric, you can easily be distracted by a figurine or trinket and after a while you wonder which world you’ve walked into and why you should ever have to leave. Antons fabrics and cuts are classic and stylish and quite unusual in the 21st century, more Bogart than Beckham, more Bergman than Britney. They are considerately devoted to the full dressing experience – just like being styled for a film you can leave Antons transformed top to toe – including jewellery or cufflinks. Antons really is unique and their clothing just as much so: everything is small run and the shop also does some bespoke tailoring – just in case you can’t quite find the garment you’re looking for or the colour on the shelf doesn’t suit.
Antons is not website friendly, so you’ll need to visit to see their dapper era repro suits, burlesque corsets and tops and every other dazzling distraction in store.
The best thing about Antons: being honest, I’d have to say their eccentricity attracts me even more than the fine clothing: it’s a must passing by Antons once or twice a month to see the new window display and gaze in awe at the collectables, gaze admiringly at the staff bedecked in that day’s finery and – if time permits – to enter for a browse at the beauty of their well cut garb.
The downside: Antons is priced fairly – but fairly isn’t cheaply. It’s likely to burn a hole in your card if you go crazy so Antons is great for feature pieces or that special occasion wear. Unless of course, you are reckless or incredibly well-stocked cashwise: in which case there is no end of opportunity to invest in beautiful clothing which will last you years.
Details: ***NOTE NEW ADDRESS***
Shop GD10 Menzies Lane
211 Latrobe Street
Phone: 03 9663 8610
Opening Hours: normal Melbourne Central hours