Fashion’s Night Out in Melbourne

Or how we found ourselves in vogue, if only for a night while traveling

If you likewise embrace our lightweight approach to packing, you’ll know how important it can be to prioritize function and utility over the latest trends. So I wouldn’t exactly call us “fashion people,” but last year in Melbourne, we were for a single night.

After several sweltering weeks in Asia, we checked the forecast for our next destination: Melbourne. I certainly expected cooler temperatures than our summer stops in Seoul and Singapore, but I didn’t know it would be downright cold. In fact, our first order of business was to venture out into the drizzling chilliness to buy Eliza a winter coat. But we found ourselves stuck between fashion seasons: the tail end of Australia’s winter meant the clothing stores were looking ahead, full of spring styles. Thankfully, we found one option: a somewhat-drab, gray, and puffy Uniqlo coat in Eliza’s size that (rather unsurprisingly) hadn’t sold out. “It’ll be versatile,” Sean said, optimistic despite the limited selection. Well, we put our purchase immediately to use.

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I mean, there’s nothing she doesn’t look cute in, but it’s not exactly high fashion

While walking around the city together (still damp and chilly, but at least Eliza was kept warm by her new coat), we noticed colorful tents on some of the streets and large signs advertising an event: Melbourne’s very own Fashion’s Night Out. I’d attended Fashion Week in New York so trusted we would be in for some fun, but Sean was wary that the fashion activities were highly exclusive, that our little family wearing our somewhat clunky travel gear wouldn’t be exactly welcomed. But given the promise of clothing sales and free drinks, he agreed to give it a go later that night.

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American baseball caps were having a moment of high-fashion

That evening, I threw together my cleanest outfit and Sean wore our vintage (ahem, 2017-era) BabyBjörn carrier with a gray-coated baby bundled inside. We stepped out onto the runway* (*actually the streets of Melbourne, but full of high-fashion folks, so…) and traipsed over to the central David Jones department store at Bourke Street Mall together to start our Fashion’s Night Out. Friendly staff greeted us with glasses of champagne, and we began to browse. Maybe it was the bubbly, but Sean splurged on a few pairs of new socks and we wandered through the multi-level store. The next level had an actual bar featuring a taste of New Orleans, its bartenders serving up Sazeracs, which were delicious and out of our usual repertoire. Maybe we weren’t the most fashionable people in the room, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time with everyone else around us. It helped that Eliza was having the time of her life looking at everybody around her and their outfits, but the salespeople, bartenders, and other celebrants alike showed us such a warmth to Melbourne on a cold night. 

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As Madonna once urged, “Come on, vogue” with Vogue Australia.

Travel can allow the perfect time, space, and opportunity to try something new, even if it’s a deviation from what you’d normally do. Be sure to protect unclaimed blocks on your travel schedule to be even more open to the unplanned and unexpected, especially since you never know when even annual events like Fashion’s Night Out might abruptly end. And for goodness’ sake, always have at least one outfit that feels presentable in case you need to put your best fashion foot forward.

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I was somehow convinced to try on this hat; nice work Sean, plus two sips of champagne.

 

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