by Jodi Panayotov
Paddington's historic main streets are the place to find some of Brisbane's best retro fashion, collectables and wares in shops that occupy heritage halls, cottages and an old theatre.
Paddington Antique Centre
The old Plaza Theatre with its ornate alcove balconies and original faded vintage curtains is as much retro as antique these days, with a sizable stash of fabulous vintage finds within its aisles. Get lost amongst the frocks, gowns and shoes, hats, accessories and collectables, with enough to fill a wardrobe and furnish a house in the style of a favourite era. Then finish the fossicking with a whistle stop for some old-fashioned in-house baked treats and a cup of tea on old bone china in the charming Plaza Theatre Café.
Like a time capsule of the past tucked into an old Queenslander cottage, Adornments has rooms that are packed VJ wall to wall with memorabilia, kitchen wares, collectables and glamorous fashion: gloves, beaded bags, fur stoles, fascinators and feather boas as well as day wear from the 1930's to the 1970's.
Long time veteran of the Paddington retro scene, Retro Metro has two outlets within cooee of each other – the street store that holds a small cache of wares (think vinyl LP bowls and German 1970's lamps), a collection of his'n'hers fashion that is a mix of the genuine vintage article and, for those who like their clothes new and vintage style, fresh clever replicas by emerging designer talent. Meantime down at the cusp of Given and Latrobe Tce, underneath a peeling weatherboard house is Retro Metro's clearance store where a mix of street wear and costumery can be found at bargain prices.
Within the timber walls of the beautifully preserved 19th century Forester's Hall can be found the best bargains in Paddington for retro clothes, vinyl, accessories, bits of furniture, jewellery and homewares. Out front is a permanent $2 rack and upstairs in the gallery overlooking the hall is the evening wear section with a small stash of children's dress-ups such as tap shoes and pirate vests.
The old Salvation Army Hall has recently been given a makeover yet despite its shiny spruced up digs Endo's (Endeavour Foundation) is still a hot spot for well-priced pre-loved and retro wear. Catering well to both him and her from day to evening wear, this is also a place to pick up shoes, bags, accessories and vinyl.
Mannequins stand guard on the footpath at the entrance and down the pink carpeted alley beside the Laundromat is charming little boutique Ra Ra Superstar, the local go-to outlet for a mix of vintage wear, accessories and retro inspired handmade designs.
Behind the picket fence and up the garden path past the patio setting is a semi-detached cottage full of splendid finds, collectables, fashion and wares hand-picked by the savvy owners. Vintage signs, chandeliers and lamps, furnishings, clothes, and eccentric bits and bobs are all in the unique rummage-worthy mix.
A little off the beaten track and down on the edge of Rosalie Village the bright red corner cottage has a labyrinth of rooms with all nooks and crannies packed with bargain basement pre-loved and retro wear for both genders and all ages, shoes, bags, jewellery, table wares, toys and collectables. A bonus here is the stock room where bargain hunters can rummage through stock before it hits the racks and shelves.
This is more of a pre-loved designer outfit but the tiny boutique secreted inside a Given Tce commercial centre is a goldmine of top Oz and overseas labels that have barely been worn. Coats, shoes, bags, day and evening wear all squeeze into the closet-sized space and are there for the budget conscious taking.