A guide to the Nicholas Building

A vertical laneway of eclectic small businesses, the Nicholas Building is one of Melbourne’s key creative hubs. From the arcade to the 9th floor, discover some of our favourites in this 1926 Greek revival palazzo style building.

Hidden gems

Victoriana meets Victorian Gothic at Harold & Maude, a unique boutique of found objects and recycled materials remade and renewed. Browse the macabre vintage treasures, then glimpse the future with a Muses of Mystery tarot reading at the back of the shop.

vintage items at Harold and Maude

Kimono House is like a little piece of Kyoto in Melbourne’s heart. Owner Leanne O’Sullivan sources exquisite fabric and craft supplies during regular visits to Japan, and also organises frequent cultural classes. From learning how to wear kimonos to craft kits for elegant Japanese fabric flowers and swathes of distinctive textiles, look no further!

There’s a very good reason why L’uccello looks like an old-fashioned haberdashery store. Much of the stock has been rescued from many decades in storage, so from buttons to bows, it’s new yet authentically vintage. Whether you’re into sewing or just discovering pretty things from or inspired by the past, there’s so much to love.

Galleries

Expect the unexpected at Blindside Gallery, an independent contemporary art space managed by volunteer arts professionals. From sculpture, drawing, painting and craft to performance art, new media, video, sound and installations, there’s something new every week or two. Check out the regular talks, workshops and artist forums.

an artist painting a colourful painting

One level down, relative newcomer CAVES opened in 2015. Every few weeks, this curated, not-for-profit contemporary art space presents a new exhibition by local or international artists. Discover what’s happening in the art world beyond the major public and private galleries.

Fashion

Signet rings crafted from fine metals and precious and semi-precious stones are the specialty at Trickey, the studio and retail space of veteran Mark Trickey. Perfect for discerning folk.

One of the Nicholas Building’s legends, Brendan Dwyer Custom is the whispered byword for bespoke footwear in Melbourne. Step right into his old-fashioned studio, get measured up and start talking. Shoes or boots? Classic or contemporary? Which colour, materials and details? With Brendan’s guidance and traditional shoemaking skills, you’re in good hands.

vintage clothing inside a store

From 1940s frocks to 1990s band Tshirts, whatever your taste in vintage, Retrostar Vintage Clothing has it. Over 10,000 items sourced from around the world are somehow crammed into this little shop, including boots, bags, hats and hoodies. Find your next bold fashion statement at this stalwart of the Nicholson’s grand glass arcade.

Getting dolled up for a wedding or the spring racing season, or just looking for something special to brighten any old day? Louise MacDonald Milliner has crowned famous heads like Melissa George on Derby Day and Lizzy Bennett in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. Get your own gorgeous bespoke or ready-to-wear hat, and even learn how to DIY at the regular classes.

From casual turbans to Melbourne Cup sensations, Serena Lindeman Millinery is another top option for fashionistas. Like Louise two floors above, Serena offers made-to-order and prêt-à-porter headwear, as well as millinery workshops. Stop dreaming about getting that A-list look – it’s waiting for you at the Nicholas Building!

Finish with a browse of the ground floor of the Nicholas Building, Cathedral Arcade, where you’ll find Vintage Sole and Melbourne fashion labels Kuwaii and Obus.