Le Louvre is a world-famous institution, showcasing exquisitely and meticulously crafted pieces created by some of the greatest artists of the past and the present. It is inarguably a destination of both cultural and historical significance. Le Louvre is an awe-eliciting space that inspires and motivates many of its visitors to return again and again. So as to eliminate any potential confusion, it is worth mentioning that the aforementioned accolades are not in praise of the wildly popular Parisian fine art museum. Rather, this Le Louvre is a touch more accessibly situated at 2 Daly Street, South Yarra. It houses Melbourne’s most exclusive curated collection of women’s fashion, clothing, shoes, jewellery and accessories from some of the leading and most sought-after designers around the world. And, wow, does it have a truly amazing story to tell!

Believe it or not, Le Louvre has managed to remain a significant staple in women’s high-end retail fashion since the 1920s. During the aptly named Roaring Twenties, an acuminous woman by the name of Lillian Wightman founded the small couture boutique. After building a steady clientele amongst the well heeled ladies of Melbourne’s burgeoning social scene, Lillian took her business to the Paris End – needless to say – of Collins Street. Le Louvre’s current proprietor, Lillian’s daughter Georgina Weir, lived above the hustling and bustling retail shop that had by then made quite the name for itself. In other words, Georgina was a born retailer and she found herself in the most fortunate of situations, being able to learn from one of the city’s best, her mother. In the 1970s, Georgina redirected Le Louvre, evolving from a couture focus to one singing the praises of a European ready-to-wear collection. The Melbourne fashion revolution had officially begun. Resulting from a need for a greater amount of space, closer proximity to her clients and to escape Collins Street overdevelopment, Georgina moved her wonderful wares in 2010 to the current location in Daly Street, the site of a former power station – perfectly appropriate, really.

 

Le Louvre, South Yarra

Le Louvre, South Yarra


Le Louvre, South Yarra

Georgina’s ongoing love affair with the bricks-and-mortar shop is overwhelmingly evident as you cross the threshold of this designer fashion wonderland. To say that the space is atypical is a gross understatement. Think light, bright, glass, perspex, mirrors and graffiti – yes, graffiti. Not surprisingly, this graffiti is more than the imagined indecipherable scrawls that accompany a glance out the window of any major metropolitan train. Le Louvre’s version is the creation of local artist Dan Wenn, founder and creative director at 90 Degrees Art. And it’s fluorescent pink. And it adorns an entire panel of the magnificent glass staircase accented with mirrored stairs. Original vintage 1930s lights sourced from Paris provide a pleasant juxtaposition to the space’s overall modern slant. The interior also pays homage to the former Collins Street address by including a console featuring one of the original shop’s glass windows. All of these elements combine harmoniously to create a beautiful and comfortable retail environment while remaining light hearted and a touch frivolous, even. Le Louvre’s physical space reminds its visitors that shopping should be fun and enjoyable. Further to that, who could not enjoy herself while perusing the latest and greatest from such designers as Balmain Paris, Dolce & Gabbana, Jil Sander, Marchesa, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney, Stephen Jones and Vivienne Westwood, to name but a few? The cutting-edge collection perfectly complements the cutting-edge space.

Le Louvre is quite possibly the perfect retail experience. It is no coincidence that it received the Prix de Marie Claire in 2013 for Best Boutique in Australia. As well, Georgina boasts a return clientele base that simply does not shop anywhere else. Now, that is loyalty. It is a loyalty, however, that has evolved and developed through years of paying attention to clients’ individual needs and creating meaningful relationships. For, at the end of the day, though Georgina loves the retail life and loves the physical retail space, it is these special and unique client relationships that continue to make Le Louvre truly fresh and exciting.

Lifestyle & Design

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