Designer Alexandra Smart shares her top Sydney shops

A relaxing shopping expedition one of your favourite indulgences? Then let stellar fashion designer Alexander Smart be your guide to seven sumptuous Sydney stores.

Alexandra Smart

Alexandra Smart

Jan 2022 -
min read

Alexandra Smart has a good eye. As the co-founder of high-end Australian fashion label Ginger & Smart with her sister Genevieve, she also appreciates the value of a great retail experience. No surprise then that what her favourite shops across Sydney have in common are a wealth of beautiful, indulgent things to buy and an emphasis on personal service.

Alexandra Smart and her sister, Genevieve

Planet Furniture

“It was the scent that first lured me into this shop in Surry Hills. There is a gold incense holder at the door where incense is always burning – it hooks you as you walk past. The scent has ingrained itself into the rugs and the linens, so it’s a lovely place to be. The owner sources beautiful rugs, wooden furniture, linens and homewares with an Asian-inspired vibe. I go there all the time to buy sandalwood incense, and it’s also a good place to buy gifts: Japanese pottery, beeswax candles. There is lovely furniture on the floor, but they also do bespoke pieces, working with Australian artisans.”
114 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills

Planet Furniture, Surry Hills - Credit: James Horan; Destination NSW

Planet Furniture, Surry Hills - Credit: James Horan

Berkelouw Paddington

“I don’t have room in my home for any more books, but I do love an amazing bookshop. I love the smell of them, the way that there’s often a reverence in there, a bit like an art gallery. I get a lot of inspiration from design books, whether they focus on interiors, typography or fashion. I love Berkelouw’s mix of new and used books and I love the fact that it has its own coffee shop and has a bit of a village vibe. The late opening hours are great, too. Berkelouw is located next to the Palace Verona cinema in Paddington, and after going to the cinema it’s great to drop in and have a bit of a browse.”
19 Oxford Street, Paddington

Inside the Berkelouw Paddington book store on Oxford Street, Paddington

Berkelouw Paddington book store, Paddington

Orchard St.

“The philosophy of Orchard St. is Activism through Herbalism, and when you step inside one of their outlets – they’re in Paddington, Bronte and Manly as well as North Bondi – it feels a bit like a modern apothecary. You can buy juices and all sorts of healthy food, beauty creams and crystals, all sorts of things that help with rejuvenation. The vibe is quite Moroccan, with stripey fabrics and wooden shelving, and there are also lovely things like candles and teas and good books that you can also pick up. You can consult with a qualified naturopath or just enjoy a coffee out the front.”
2 Brighton Boulevard, North Bondi

Friends catching up for coffee and drink at Orchard St Raw Takeaway, Paddington

Orchard St, Paddington

Montmartre Concept Store

“Sometimes you walk into a store that looks absolutely beautiful but you walk out empty-handed because there is nothing you want to buy. But not this stunning Mosman store. Virginie, the owner, regularly travels to Paris and brings back gorgeous linens and earrings, glassware and tablecloths. I’ve bought beautiful velvet cushions and linen curtains for my two elder children’s bedrooms here, I’ve bought outdoor cushions, and make-up purses and earrings. There is also the most gorgeous coffee shop out the back that makes you feel like you’re in Paris. It’s very understated, and they serve truffle eggs to die for and the best coffee.”
527 Military Road, Mosman

Montmartre Concept Store - Mosman

Montmartre Concept Store in Mosman - Credit: Montmartre Concept Store

Saint Cloche

“I’ve fallen in love with this art gallery, which is located around the corner from Ginger & Smart’s Paddington store. I found out about it through an Indigenous artist called Tracey Deep, who created pieces for our 2015 Fashion Week event. Saint Cloche represents her and as a consequence, I’ve kept my eye on the gallery, which is run by an entrepreneurial young woman. I like that she’s not predictable – she has both up-and-coming and established artists, and not everything is expensive: she also shows entry-level art, which I appreciate.”
37 MacDonald Street, Paddington

Saint Cloche in Paddington, Inner Sydney

Saint Cloche, Paddington - Credit: Jacqui Turk

The Drink Hive

“This beautiful boutique wine shop is right opposite my studio in Rosebery, and they are really committed to finding really different and interesting bottles of wine. They work with local artisan brands, and even offer refillable beer and wine stations. The Drink Hive is one of those places that gives you a sense of discovery, which I love. It’s part of a retail centre called The Cannery, which is a great shopping destination: you’ll also find Three Blue Ducks restaurant and Koskela furniture here, too. “
61-71 Mentmore Avenue, Rosebery 

The Drink Hive - Rosebery

The Drink Hive in Rosebery

Mecca Cosmetica

I go here for everything from perfume to foundation, and I take my daughter, too – she always has a field day. You find the most interesting brands, usually developed by a make-up artist or beauty writer, people who are focused on quality. I have a bit of a girl crush on Mecca’s founder, Jo Horgan. She does retail really well. Mecca now has both department store outlets and outpost stores, but whichever store you go to, they have really nailed the level of personal care and customer service they offer. That’s hard to do when you’re a large organisation, but they make it look effortless. “
1 Glenmore Road, Paddington

Women shopping at Mecca Cosmetica on Glenmore Road, Paddington

Mecca Cosmetica, Paddington

Keep shopping at these fabulous stores


More articles by theme


You may also like...