Paddington, Potts Point, and the Prime Minister

Recently, after expressing boredom for the zillionth time (that’s what no car, no job, and no friends fetches the newbie expat), I was asked to make a list of things I want to see and do in Australia. I created a short list that instant and handed it over. At the top of the list was a visit to boutique haven Paddington, and a trek to Potts Point so that I may experience the glamarama that is Becker Minty.

Well yesterday was check-off-something-on-the-to-do-list-day. I put on my cutest outfit that goes with almost-flat boots (cause you know we’ll still have to walk and walk), jumped in the car, and off we went.

Suspended pod chair and frocks at Willow in Paddington.
Suspended pod chair and frocks at Willow.


Paddington, which is an eclectic mix of high-low boutiques (think SoHo), did not disappoint.  I happened to be lucky enough to accidentally find the gorrrr-jussssssssssssssssss Willow (more on Willow in another post), as well as the local Louboutin knock-off capital: Peep Toe Shoes.

The highlight of Paddington (for me, at least) was the Willow boutique. A spartan space composed of concrete, glass, and steel, it not only brilliantly showcases designer Kit Willow’s innovative but feminine pieces, but thoughtful and inspiring art as well. I was very impressed by the craftsmanship of her pieces, the fabrics, the creativity, all of it. Perhaps in my future is a stint at Willow…one can dream, non?

Vogue E+T feature on Becker Minty.
Vogue E+T feature on Becker Minty.

Potts Point

Many months ago, while flipping through an old issue of Vogue Entertaining + Travel Australia (November/December 2008), I was transfixed by a little blurb and this photo about boutique extraordinaire Becker Minty. I decided that very day that I must see this store, if for nothing else than the amazing decor and merchandising.

So from Paddington, we headed through the infamous Kings Cross into Potts Point. After circling once or twice, the gods bestowed on us a parking space only two blocks or so from the general vicinity, and before long I was strolling through Potts Point, enjoying the Georgetown/DC feel of it.

As we were walking, hubby was suddenly awestruck…a celebrity was in our midst. Actor David Wenham (of Lord of the Rings, 300, and Van Helsing), passed right by us on the sidewalk. Dressed in a green sweatshirt and jeans, with no entourage, no cameras, and no company, he strolled along, hands in pockets, not a care in the world. He was refreshingly low-key, just an ordinary bloke, if you will. While recovering from the shock of seeing him, we lost track of our original destination: Becker Minty. So we backtracked and after I recalled “enter on Manning Street,” we redirected ourselves there and once we stepped onto Manning, I saw the sign and the entry.

Becker Minty entry and courtyard.
Becker Minty entry and courtyard.

As we rounded the corner and headed into the shop, I was mesmerized by the massive windows and displays of the shop. My mate, on the other hand, was gobsmacked by something else entirely. As we approached the door, a gentleman was exiting, and still starstruck from only just having seen David Wenham, my mate tried in vain to discreetly inform me that the gentleman who had just passed us by was none other than the former Prime Minister of Australia, Paul Keating. Being a fresh expat, this did not have much effect on me, but hubby was absolutely rocked; he, like most Aussies, has seen Paul Keating on TV for years. He was also equally floored by the fact that an American requested to be taken to the very same boutique where the (former) PM himself shops. Hey…I’ve always said I have Champagne tastes! But my responsibility as a blogger is only to share in my explorations; the sweetness of serendipity is just a blessing to make blog fodder a little more seductive.

Back to Becker. I was not able to snap photos of the current range of items and interior at Becker Minty (accompanying are older photos), but suffice it to say that the many, many reams written about this boutique are warranted. It is eccentric; it is unexpected;  it is unparalleled in its quirkiness and chutzpah. It is a homewares-decor-jewelry-clothing-accessories-gifts Pandora’s Box of a boutique. Not overly large, but with massively high ceilings, it offers a little something at every price point, from estate pieces to deliciously soft stuffed toys for the little ones. I have never seen anything like it in all my life. The only thing that can top Becker Minty in Potts Point is Becker Minty itself: Becker Minty Woman.

Becker Minty Woman
Becker Minty Woman

Small but sumptuous, this is a boutique with a well-edited line of womenswear, gala-worthy gowns, and fantabulous handbags. Dressing rooms are draped in floor-to-ceiling medium grey silk curtains; the mirrors are large, lighting flattering and, and overall this is a space that is the equivalent of fashion Valium for yours truly. If I could build myself a boutique, this one comes very, very close.

1 comment

  1. OMG so much to say. First of all, we should totally get coffee or something! I had no idea your skedge was so flexible. Secondly, we happen to live right between Oxford St and Potts Point, with both in walking distance, and this Becker Minty place sounds intriguing (I must say I find Oxford Street to be no SoHo, however). Anyway, next time you go back feel free to spare the husband and bring me along. And finally, that’s totally hilarious about not recognizing the Aussie celebs. I suspect the same thing happens to me all the time, which is funny because in NYC and LA I always spot them like a hawk. It’s kind of fun to be so blissfully unaware, though.