Some things in life are just perfectly pretty. There is simply no other word to describe them. Rosewater macarons, fields of softly, softly lavender and sparkly ballet flats to name a few. Add to that list the Mrs. Press Dressing Room boutique on Paddington’s busy Oxford Street.
Mrs. Press Dressing Room is the flagship store of Vogue Features Director turned designer, Clare Press. The shop is filled with her whimsical designs, a smattering of perfectly edited vintage, the Mrs. Press dressing table beauty range and the designs of close friends, like Fernando Frisoni and Inge Holst. The clothes themselves are just the ticket for spring time picture-perfect picnics – think silky playsuits in enchanting mint green, ballerina tutu skirts with layer upon layer of magical tulle and cute tea dresses in bold ivory. Big and white and full of light, the boutique is a welcome distraction from the chain stores that litter the Oxford Street shopping strip. Pretty, certainly, but it’s also pretty marvellous too.
We caught up with Mrs. Press Fashion Assistant Brooke Hart to hear all about their Paddington flagship store Mrs. Press Dressing Room over rosewater macarons, of course!
Tell us all about the store:
This is Mrs. Press Dressing Room and we’re in Paddington. We opened about 4 months ago now and we’ve been here in the offices upstairs for about 6 months. We used to be in Darlinghurst, in a little shop on Darlinghurst road, but then we moved here obviously. All Clare’s designs are inspired by vintage pieces, so she’ll take the sleeve of a gorgeous 1930s dress that she found at the market and use it as inspiration for modern garments. We’re vintage influenced, very classic and relaxed. It’s a lovely atmosphere where you like to use room spray and have rose petals and be grown up. Very chic!
Why did you choose Paddington?
We decided to move from Darlinghurst to Paddington for a couple of reasons. Mainly the better traffic, great location and the markets just across the road on Saturday. It’s really lovely being here. We have offices upstairs and it’s really light and airy and it suits us well.
Aside from Mrs. Press what labels do you stock?
We stock mainly Mrs. Press. We also stock a small amount of very, very special vintage. Clare has a bit of a vintage habit and she buys things which we stock in here. They’re all very popular. We also stock some Fernando Frisoni because he is a really good friend of Clare’s. He has some beautiful pieces that fit into our design aesthetic and it’s really lovely to have those here as well. We also have some headpieces, neck-pieces, brooches and bits and pieces from an artist friend of ours called Inge Holst. She hand makes every single thing and she hand cuts every single petal from vintage millinery tools. A single head piece will take her around 24 hours to complete in total, so they are very special. For some of them she takes the fabric and dips it in a weak solution of tea to give it a vintage look. That really encapsulates what we’re about, that special knowledge that a lot of work has gone into something. All our pieces are hand made in Australia by a seamstress, there are no factories or anything, everything is cut and made in Australia, so that is what makes our pieces special.
What look were you going for in the design of the store?
We wanted something very chic and open, slightly minimalist but also with that very Clare tendency to have vintage things everywhere. Our store in Darlinghurst was a lot more filled with bits and bobs and very cute – books and decorations and all that – whereas our Paddington store is more open. It’s very white, airy and light. Clean, simple but still beautiful.
What is your favourite thing about Mrs. Press Dressing Room?
I love walking in here in the morning and the light is streaming in, the pretty smells of the Mrs.Press Dressing Table products and the beautiful clothes. It is such a lovely place to work.
What is your favourite thing about Sydney?
I love that there is always more to find in Sydney. I love that the urban sprawl is so huge that you can spend a day in inner western Sydney and not even see anything. I love that there is always more out there to see and enjoy.
Visit Mrs. Press Dressing Room at 436 Oxford St Paddington, (02) 9331 7732. Or go to their website for catalogues and their online store. Or if you still can’t get enough, try the Mrs.Press blog, where Clare Press shares all the pretty things in her life.