I once worked for a department store. Ballantynes in Christchurch. Not actually in the Ballantynes section, but in the ‘Contemporary Lounge’. Yes, it was really called that. They hired me because I’d come from Little Brother in Auckland and they wanted someone who knew something about menswear. In my first week I was put in the accessories section, the shoes section and the womenswear section. Everywhere but menswear. I lasted six weeks. Nevertheless, I do love a good department store, and The Department Store is a keeper. Karen Walker, Black Box, Flotsam and Jetsam, Simon James, The Marr Lab, Stephen Marr, Lucy and the Powder Room, Michael Lett Gallery and a little Supreme cafe. It’s a good mix. Walking in, it feels like a whole bunch of pop up stores all sitting next to each other. The first couple of metres are a bit cluttered for my liking but by the time you’ve gotten past all the mannequins and into the actual mini shops, you can see how clever it all is. Black Box feels entirely different to Karen Walker which feels entirely different to Flotsam and Jetsam and Simon James etc etc. Each store is its own little world.
Start at the tiny Supreme cafe at the back. Buy some ginger loaf, lamingtons and real peppermint tea, and sit down at the vintage table tennis/dining table or walk through the store with your goodies.
Check out the furniture, books and knick knacks at Simon James.
Step through the black door into Black Box, bang the drums.
Check out the cute girls at Karen Walker, spray lots of perfume.
Or check out Johnny at Flotsam and Jetsam, buy some balsa wood planes and a saint statue or two.
Then step up stairs…
Past the Powder Room, look at some art, then into the salon.
Lounge around on the custom designed basin chairs and take in the local flora.
And make sure you don’t leave empty handed! I didn’t, Lucy Vincent Marr was kind enough to give me a shampoo and conditioner from her new SANS range.
I LIKE YOU!