Thursday, 22 January 2015

Promenade with my Parapluie III - The Brisbane Arcade

Well, I won't gild the lily.

It's not exactly Galerie Vivienne in Paris.

You know, that gorgeous covered passage in the 2nd arrondissement with the glass roof, beautiful mosiac tiles, cosy Le Grand Wine Bar, fabulous boutiques like Jean-Paul Gaultier, Arts & Science (an exquisite 'petite' boutique in Paris), Le Grand Colbert bistro next door, made popular by Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson in 'that' movie, and other little holes in the wall selling antique books, postcards and papery delights etc etc.

I could go on and on about Gallerie Vivienne...but I won't.

However, if you like, he's a link to a post that I did in 2012

Have a'll find Gallerie Vivienne special.

This post is all about our beautiful, heritage listed Brisbane Arcade.
It's Brisbane oldest covered passage connecting Adelaide Street to the Queen Street Mall, Brisbane's main shopping mall.
Sit back, sip a darjeeling, smell the roses and check the credit cards...preferably plutonium!

Built in 1923, the heritage listed Brisbane Arcade is one of the city's oldest shopping arcades and certainly the only still in its original form.

The history of Brisbane Arcade is intriguing and involves some scandal but also some of Brisbane most noted philanthropists.

The arcade has always been an exclusive retail spot, selling all many of exquisite frippery and items of adornment.

I remember well the 'parapluie' shop that was there in the 1960s and 1970s.

Yes, I was mad about parapluies way back then.  That little shop also sold fab black, felt matador hats.  I bought one but have no idea how I afforded it back then!  Wore it too...during my Spanish Period.  I know Pablo would have approved!

There was also a small perfumerie in the arcade in the 1960s and a charming, softly-spoken gentleman, Mr Delahunty, known as 'The Nose' (le nez), because of his perfumery and olfactory talent, owned the shop.

Mr Delahunty enjoyed my 'fragrance' visits, allowing me to sniff whatever fragrance I chose...and sample them too.    One day he introduced me to Guerlain and Caron perfumes....and a lifelong love of fine French fragrance has continued ever since.  Thank you Mr Delahunty!

That first time I inhaled Mitsouko (Guerlain) and Narcisse Noir (Caron) I was hooked!

When the 'then' boyfriend (now the hubster) bought me Mitsouko Parfum from Mr Delahunty's perfumerie, his 'interest factor' increased substantially!

Anyway, I have very fond memories of The Brisbane Arcade.

Today there are quaint tea shops, a very special hat shop, European fabrics on offer, Australian couturiers, gemstones, diamonds and pearls as big as marbles, luxury writing implements that need to be used again and get the idea.  I'm smitten.
Downstairs.... and this is the little
shop that used to sell the parapluies.  It's now The Pen Shoppe, selling
all sorts of luxury caligraphic implements...and papery delights.
The Pen Shoppe doesn't just limit itself to 'writing sticks'.
These silver-handled ebony sticks would work extremely well with my new chapeau!
Nothing like a beautiful pen for beautiful mark-making and letter writing.  
You can even sell your old (vintage) Cartier and Bulgari watches here!!!!!!!!
A large bit of silver bling centre stage! 
Yes...they've all come back into fashion. 
Great teas and great for that antioxidant hit!
Ooohhh...this is one of my favourites.  The exquisite "Hat Box".
Dale Olsson, the charming owner of The Hat Box has an incredible eye for the BEST
chapeaux...and they're all gathered under one little roof...upstairs in The Brisbane Arcade.  Check out
Dale's website if you're interested....the list of milliners is fantastic!  As good as anything I saw in Paris!‎
Thank you're a *STAR*.
My Brisbane blogging friend, Flora Fascinata, designed this little item of adornment.
Flora's frippery is available at The Hat Box and they're all delicious.
Look at those red cabbage roses below!
Red, red roses...and petal pink straw and feathers.
Flora's frippery looks essential to me.  I think we all NEED one of these don't we?
So, do yourself a favour...rush up to The Hat Box...and you can view more of Flora Fascinata's frippery (and talents) at
Wow Factor Chapeau!!!!!!!!!
Straight out of Chanel's High Summer SS2015!  Not really, but it could be!
Emma your heart out darling!!!!!!  You'd need very high leather boots to go with this wouldn't you?
Daniel Lightfoot....couturier extraordinaire!
Daniel's a wonderful designer.  He's won so many silver dollies for his talent over the years.
Here's 6 of his silver ladies below....but he's probably got another 66 stashed away.
Now Kellies Antique jewellery can, if you let it, become an addiction.
Take care ladies and gentlemen.
Beautiful stained glass, polished wood and lovely white porcelain lighting.
Adore the brass light fittings....saw lots of these in Paris and Brussels.
More silver and gold dollies.
Yes, that plutonium credit card WILL be necessary in The Brisbane Arcade.
Well...maybe not!
Skilled craftsmen and women are located in Brisbane's oldest arcade.  I remember I had gold cufflinks
engraved here for the hubster years and years ago....a Miro inspired design!  They did a superb job too!
And down the marble staircase I go, outside to the Queen Street mall, Brisbane's main shopping mall.
Jewels, jewels, jewels!!  A bit like Burlington's Arcade in London really.

And lastly here's some very old photographs of how it used to look.  Enjoy!
Brisbane Arcade....entrance Adelaide Street.
The arcade went through to Queen Street...where the cinemas were located.  Circa 1950s.
Photograph taken around 1957.   The parapluie shop
and doily shop where both located downstairs...where the flower shop was!
Simple butter cakes, jam rolls and lamingtons.  Perfect for that High Tea.
Oh....the good old days!!!
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  1. This is the most adorable account of the Brisbane Arcade ever! I want everything! So excited about Daniel Lightfoot and how beautiful is Dale Olsson? What a doyenne of style she is! Fascinating retrospectives, too.

    1. Thank you Flora is a treasure isn't it! And your creations 'perch' perfectly in this most glorious arcade. See you at the Japanese Fashion Up Late tonight......I'll look for a stunning headpiece!!



  2. loved seeing the brisbane arcade + what a treat! + great images.

    1. Hi Peggy...and thanks so much for your lovely comments. I know you'd have lots and lots of fabulous places over there in the States!!!! but Brissy is truly gorgeous. Come on over and we'll have a darjeeling and smell the roses together! With your eye for great style I know you'd just love a little retail therapy in The Brisbane Arcade.



  3. I spent 20 years of my life in the Brisbane Arcade. I think it is the best shopping arcade in the city.

    1. 20 years!!! How fortunate you are 'dear unknown'. (Is that you Deb???).

      Isn't it wonderful to appreciate and conserve our heritage. This is what Europe has done over the centuries...and why tourists still flock to it.

      Restoring such beautiful buildings enhances our pride in, and our appreciation of Brisbane (and enjoyment of shopping)!!!!! Let's not forget the shopping!



  4. Oh Robyn.....The Brisbane Arcade!!!! that is a 'blast from the past'....your detailed tour through this iconic landmark is definitely reflective for me.....also great to see that the arcade is still a favourite abode for niche market shopping...and dear Daniel is still in the trade...I must congratulate Flora Fasinata on her stunning creations...very chic indeed!!! Again a beautiful post...thanks for sharing it Jude

    1. Beautiful retail therapy Jude....and yes, it is a blast from the past....but isn't The Arcade looking trés elegant!!



    2. Thank you, dear Jude. The arcade really is so special. x

    3. Yes FF the arcade is special indeed....a perfect precinct to display beautifully designed chapeaux!!

  5. Hi, dear Robyn! How's your Saturday going? Thank you very much for putting forth so much effort to assemble this pictorial tour of the Brisbane Arcade. Mrs. Shady and I would be ecstatic if we had a place like this close to us. The trend in shopping centers here in Central Florida is away from covered space. The newest mall in my town is essentially a small village with a town square, fountains, a band playing music and intersecting streets lined with shops. I enjoy visiting that mall but would go bonkers if I had the opportunity to stroll for hours through your gigantic enclosed Brisbane Aracade, behold its grand scale, soak up the historic atmosphere and duck in and out of stores. You are very fortunate indeed to have such a magnificent place to shop.

    Thank you again, dear friend Robyn, and enjoy the rest of your weekend!