La Galerie, in the trendy neighborhood of Paddington, is and has been one of my favorite little stores to frequent whenever I am in Sydney. The boutique boasts an array of sexy cocktail dresses and casual dresses designed by local Aussie designers which is great to get your hands on if you’re from the Northern Hemisphere because it almost guarantees that you won’t be wearing the same dress as the girl a few barstools away. Owner, Sylvia Mesoina started her business during the wake of a worldwide downturn in 2007. She has since seen the ups, downs, and now the downs again with the tumultuous economy hitting her boutique as well as all of the other boutiques littered a long Oxford street. Once a bustling street of local style, many have boarded up shop and “For Lease” signs are visibly plastered on many of the storefronts that once boomed with business. La Galerie is still standing, but business is not like how it used to be even with Mesoina’s forte of superb customer service. I am hoping and praying that the economy picks up for this part of town because it is the uniquely unadvertised shopping walkway for trend-setters.
Here’s a brief conversation I had with La Galerie’s owner.
When did you open your boutique?
It was opened in October of 2007.
How is the fashion scene in Sydney?
I think that Sydney is quite a fashion forward city. Every one loves the variety of different styles, from their casual wears to the high-end designer look. Long maxi, casual dresses are very popular during summer. For the night life, every girl is in dresses. You rarely see a girl who goes to a club wearing jeans. Casual wear is also quite popular.
Do you feel it is up to date with the Northern Hemisphere?
Northern Hemisphere? Of course not.
Or do you feel it lags behind because of the seasonal difference?
Australia lags because we are not as advanced compared to Europe or the U.S. Our fashion trend follows those countries. The Australian population is not as big, and we don’t have famous designers to set the trend.
Do you feel Sydney and Melbourne has their own fashion personalities?
Yes, Sydney and Melbourne has their differences.
What kind of designers do you buy from?
I source mainly the local Sydney designers. Because my store is in one of the popular tourist areas for shopping, I get a lot of customers from overseas who are looking for clothing that is a bit different. And I also get customers from other states, from Melbourne, Perth, and such.
Has the world recession affected sales?
Yes, the recession definitely affected the sales. Everyone is more careful in their spending, but it doesn’t affect dramatically because I believe that people in Sydney still like to keep up with their fashion.
What’s the biggest trend you are selling the most?
The biggest trend that I sell the most is STRIPES. Everything in stripes sell well especially since the summer stripe trend hasn’t died yet coming into winter. A lot of clothing in other stores are all stripes, stripes, stripes.
Do you think your fashion design degree from the Whitehouse Institute of Design has helped you in marketing or buying for your business?
No, the design degree didn’t help at all.
What do you love the most about owning your boutique?
I love it because I am surrounded by beautiful clothing. It’s a dream come true. We could never have enough clothes and we always want something nicer and new. I have a joy in dressing girls and transforming them into looking hot in their new outfits! And of course I love that I am my own boss.
26 Oxford Street Paddington, NSW 2234
Or shop online: http://www.lagalerie.com.au/catalog