City lights

It’s not yet Christmas but I have now visited the city twice in the one week. It was a long awaited (i.e. postponed) birthday dinner for my bestie Jules at Hazel Restaurant in Flinders Lane on Saturday night. Given I started this year at Gimlet (diagonally opposite to Hazel) – I’ve topped and tailed 2021 with visits to two of Melbourne’s fine dining establishments which is a nice way to end the year and perhaps something to remember instead of the time in between!). While perhaps not quite in the same league as Gimlet (which the newly opened Society Restaurant may supersede) Hazel has a similarly stylish feel and an Eastern European-inspired shared plate set menu. I’m aware that such indulgences are a true privilege in what has been a very hard year for so many people and going out was a chance to count our blessings for me and my best friends.

The birthday girl and me @Hazel Restaurant

It will take the city time to recover from the shuttering of businesses this year and last and hopefully the return of Midweek Melbourne Money for weekday dining will help the hospitality industry. Melbourne Fashion Week starts today and I was interested to read about the Museums Victoria Clothing and Textiles virtual tour as part of it. I’m also very much looking forward to visiting the NGV Chanel exhibition in the new year as Gabrielle Chanel is my all time fashion hero and it’s been interesting to read about the rise of second-hand, vintage and more sustainable fashion being designed and sold over the past few months.

Vault Vintage Clothing run by the National Trust has opened at The Block arcade in the city while op shop retailers Salvos and Vinnies can now be found at shopping malls or large format hubs – I’ve donated over the pandemic to the relatively new Salvos store on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg and Kids First Op Shop in Rosanna (who accept books unlike Savers in Greensborough).

Australians are apparently the second-largest textile consumers in the world with a terrible amount of textile waste ending up in landfill due to our fast fashion addiction, which is why I think innovative Australian fashion retailers like Showroom X are leading the way with a move to a circular economy. I know I’ve become a more conscious consumer as I’ve grown older and I love vintage fashion for myriad reasons including environmental.

It’s been good too, to read about bra companies changing their promotional campaigns to reflect real women instead of super models. In my past fashion PR days, I was responsible for selecting models to parade for smaller fashion showings and it was something I took into serious consideration then but has taken on greater relevance and significance now in these more diverse times. Lastly, while we’re on the topic of bras – my friend Kath Elliott has been a busy woman this year not only launching her Alcohol Mindset Coach business but also her My Breast Friend range of body products (that incorporate self-check reminders) as a breast cancer survivor with a percentage of profits donated to Breast Cancer Network Australia.