Interview: Annie Abbott
“When I’m in Italy and am over there taking snaps of all the shoes then posting them online, people back home are just fascinated by that. I think we in Melbourne are just so curious with an appreciation of the craftsmanship that goes in to making shoes – more than clothes. As an object of wear there is so much presence in that three dimensional form.” - Annie Abbott
We are early to a mid-morning appointment in High Street, Armadale, the location of shoemaker Annie Abbott’s latest retail space. But she is too busy to stop: the clients that have become devoted to her bright take on classic brogue, loafer and Chelsea shapes are keeping her attention well occupied. Eventually she breaks, taking the time to talk before a scheduled trip to Italy the next morning.
Annie: “What is Melbourne fashion? It’s about an embrace of new design and new designers. We are celebrated more here than in other cities. People like a point of difference and they like to get in to the fibre of where something’s coming from.” Annie retells her story: her years buying at Net-A-Porter when the online behemoth was but a start-up. Her time spent in production for an Australian footwear company. Her desire to strike out on her own, building the types of shoes she knew Melbourne would go made for under her Habbot brand. Shoes that are finely detailed, elegant but wearable.
It’s this aesthetic she sees being played out by Melbourne men as they embrace their individuality and up the style stakes.
Annie: “There’re two things going on. First is an Italian approach – that relaxed but tailored approach that has purpose and intention. Nice shirts and relaxed pants finished with a good dress shoe. The other is a kind of preppy-ness in an awesome framed glasses, crazy Victor & Rolf kind of way; a bit more quirky, finished with a brogue or Chelsea boot.”
The common theme, as Annie sees it, is in the personalisation. Taking a story and making it ones own with personality that is playfully and thoughtfully inserted. The result of a citywide style confidence that the men of Melbourne possess in spades.
1011 High Street, Armadale; Royal Arcade Bourke Street Mall.
ph: 03 9822 8484