Saturday, May 10, 2014

An Innovative Brisbane Department Store: Allan and Stark

Imagine that you are a young fashion-conscious lady in Edwardian Brisbane with some money.  You want to purchase some new clothes and hats.  Surprisingly, there is a wide choice of large stores, including Allan and Stark, Finneys of the Isles and Bayards.  Trading hours are also long - most shops stay open quite late.There is even Sunday trading in the suburbs.

You look through the new fashion catalogue from Allan and Stark, and see delightful illustrations of models from the great design centres of Europe.  There are pretty blouses, lace goods, silk underskirts and several different types of hats.

It is a good idea to go to the showroom before buying anything, and you are especially anxious to see the hats.  The millinery showroom is magnificent.  Decorated with cool green carpets and curtains, the room features long mirrors surrounded by masses of foliage, emerald velvet stands and Japanese baskets filled with  colourful flowers, including forget-me-nots, poppies and cornflowers.  There is also a famous 'crimson' table with roses, poppies and crimson hats.

You love the new hats. You can choose between the Gainsborough, the Leghorn and the Bow hat.  The bow hat in the showroom is made of black crinoline with a cluster of roses and large black bows. Another one is made of blue crinoline and has blue roses and bows with a Japanese buckle.

After looking at the dresses, you decide to buy a blue dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a rich applique trimming to match your new Bow hat.

Next time, I will write about the history of this wonderful store.  If only I could go time-travelling and see these beautiful fashions!


Hels said...

Does any photo survive of the stage, curtains, carpets, mirrors and plants? The shopping experience was dependent on the clothes and hats of course, but also on the decorations, lunches, models etc. i too would have loved it,

Viola said...

Thank you so much for your comments, Hels. Unfortunately, I can't find any photos of them. However, there are some illustrations of dresses at Trove, and there are lots of advertisements as well. There are more photos of Finney's.