I met them on the plane going down. I'd heard them ribbing in the lounge as we all waited for the voice to bounce over our heads, too bright for such an early start, telling us we could board. 'What happens in Melbourne stays in Melbourne, boys!' and the deep gruff laughter of men whose voices have years of belly and shaved throat to contend with.
So I struggled to my seat ('struggled' because my bag was inevitably overstuffed with clothes and it bumped and kicked petulantly at my legs as I tried to walk) and as I looked up he was there, a man, big all over and with a friendly face. We got chatting and he said they were going down for the Formula One. "Hot rods on Saturday, don't know if we'll go to that, and F1 on Sunday." I asked what they were going to do until Sunday and he laughed. "Drink."
Something so lovely and, to me, quintessentially Australian about a stranger striking up a conversation on a plane out of sheer curiosity and friendliness. Just a really nice bloke. And he didn't even stare when I pulled out my camera and started taking photographs of the clouds.
A yoghurt, lemon and waffle muffin. It had pieces of waffle in the muffin! The one in the background is Mum's berry one but it didn't have waffle in the muffin so... you know...
And an artistic shot of my half-eaten butter: look at the play of light on the gold foil! Mesmerising.
And then to the business of the day.
Top to Bottom: The Block Arcade (ten points for those who looked at it and thought, 'Benjamin!'); Junya Watanabe for CdG which I tried on in Marais- 1st floor Royal Arcade, 314 Little Collins St. (All of the shapes on the pictured dress and the skirt I am midst trying on are handsewn together so they have the most beautiful shape on the body. Just a strange, forming, curving life of their own. Oher than CdG, Marais carry Alexander McQueen, Givenchy (Givenchy!), Balmain, Viktor & Rolf, Balenciaga, Lanvin... also known as labels that are rarely, if ever, stocked in Sydney. And the space sits high over the city, with light streaming over the textural blacks and sharp shoulders of the clothes- simply beautiful); the pink fluorescent light in the stairwell outside Marais; the pink-washed EXIT sign; the GPO banner; what I tried on in Acne; the window display of sass+bide.
Stickers that gleam white and out-of-place on the grubby walls. Even in broad daylight they retain the furtive air that was pasted up with them in the half-dark alley with a swift slight of hand. These little tokens of subversion or black humour or the momentary clarity of a fragment of someone's soul expressed in ink and paper. Or walls of soaring pink green silver blue, swelling in a silent but furious cacophony as they come into sight. Step to the left and you are no longer surrounded by close shops that elbow out over your head but you are motionless before the brilliance of the unexpected.
We took some dorky shots here: T by Alexander Wang jumper, second-hand David Lawrence linen shirt, Romance Was Born silk tights, vintage Coach bag, Diva necklace, scarf from Gigi from Buenos Aires, vintage green boots from the last time I was in Melbourne. I think the rubbish skips add a lovely atmosphere, don't you? They certainly match my shoes, which is of paramount importance.