Chivalry isn’t dead. It’s reclining in a maroon tufted leather wingback club chair, having its tailor-made shoes polished, sipping on an aromatic espresso, flicking through the pages of an Oscar Wilde novel. And all in an impeccable 3-piece suit complete with silk pocket square and antique fob watch. The lucky bastard…
Festival of Steve celebrated it’s inaugural event at the tail-end of May, at the exclusive Kelvin Club, a private members guild dating back to 1865, full of sumptuous leather lounges, softly shining chandeliers and dark mahogany wood. Harking back to an era where men took time and consideration for their appearance, this old-world charm has seeped back into the famed laneways, corporate offices and laid back bars of Melbourne. The ‘gentleman’ is back and he definitely knows how to dress, and more importantly however, knows exactly where to find modern yet custom-made aesthetic bliss, thanks to the expertise of some standout bespoke stores.
Among the debonair shops that are changing the face of men’s fashion in Melbourne, Lord Coconut boasts the title of Melbourne’s only male jewellery store, stocking over 40 predominantly local designers, showcasing everything from re-purposed watch cufflinks to sterling silver ribcage rings.
Thom Grogan (otherwise known as the tailor that makes up the trio from Captains of Industry) has become the new in-house Needleman at the renowned Phillips Shirts, established in Australia back in 1952. Grogan’s tailored shirt collection, aptly titled Mr. Phillips debuted at Festival of Steve, and with the ability to allow clients the personalised choice of fabric, buttons, collar and cuff, it is an art that will happily be cultivated by those searching for a quintessential tailored shirt.
Rohan Browne, the creator of niche bow tie and kerchief company, His Handsome Self, is all about allowing his clientele to embrace their inner captivating character, with an outward wardrobe that screams success and confidence. Sourcing the finest materials and hand crafting all designs in Melbourne, his Handsome Self really is the finest compliment to any dapper get-up.
Not only did Festival of Steve exhibit clothing and jewellery stores, the likes of which included Pugnacious George, Carl Nave, Charlie Tinker and V&J Menswear, as well as the above mentioned, there was also super savvy bookstore Embiggen. Flaunting some exquisite titles such as Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails, The Russian Prison Tattoo Encyclopaedia and Why A Man Should Be Well-Dressed, it was hard not to want to possess a library of all the books housed at this Little Lonsdale Street store.
Jerome Miller from Meltours was also in attendance, and I can vouch for his wonderful tour of Melbourne’s bar scene, from first hand experience. Melbourne can be an exclusive place, full of secret laneways and secluded hot spots, but Jerome can lead you right into the action and to get you into some of the hottest drinking places going!
Beggar Man Thief, that much loved store on Clarendon Street, was assisting the gents with a complimentary shoe shine service, as well as a striking collection of shoes from the likes of Lacoste, Opening Ceremony, Church’s and Feit.
Clementine’s fine foods and gifts were also on display, including one of my favourite initiatives, Rooftop Honey – and this time, the batch of uber modern test tubes came from St Kilda. Highly recommend sampling these wonderful locally produced honeys!
And finally there was amazing nosh from Jack’s House – I sampled the Wagyu beef brisket roll with horseradish cream – absolutely delish, especially when coupled with a full-bodied shiraz from the bar, whilst lounging in one of the leather couches listening to the sweet blues tunes of Brooke Russel and the Mean Reds band.
All in all, a marvelous concept and very well executed. I very much look forward to the festival rolling around again, but til then keep your dashing selves in good and respectable order, and remember the immortal words of Oscar Wilde, “You can never be overdressed or over-educated.”