5 reasons to visit Melbourne now.

If the name Jean Paul Gaultier is not immediately familiar to you, you definitely know his clothes. He is the man responsible for Madonna’s conical bras during her 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour.

In the time I’ve worked at Mamamia I’ve had many pinch-worthy moments, but none as huge as when I met the man himself.

I was invited to attend the opening of The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to Australia, a retrospective in his honour, at the National Gallery of Victoria.

I thought I’d get the opportunity with a group of other journalists to ask him maybe one question if that, but I was shocked when he sat down with us (me plus two other journos) for just shy of an hour. He was friendly, warm, sometimes hard to understand (thick French accent), and generous. Afterwards he paused for photos, signed our catalogues and kissed us on the cheeks – twice, in the French way, naturally.

Gaultier, like Mamamia, has always championed diverse models. He is a huge fan of Australia’s first transgender model, (she now identifies as a woman) Andrej Pejic, and was instrumental in launching her career. But he’s been doing it longer than most. When other designer were using blonde, blue-eyed models in the 80s, he sought anything but. He placed casting calls for his catwalk shows in the classifieds that read:

“Non-conformist designer seeks unusual models —the conventionally pretty need not apply”

Taking in the exhibition is obviously my number one reason why I think you should visit Melbourne right now, but I found four other reasons that make the trip worthwhile. It wasn’t hard, and they mostly revolve around food.

1. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Catwalk to Australia.


This one is obviously going to appeal to fashion lovers, and if you are one of those expect to be there for more than a few hours. There’s a lot to take in, but if you’re taking a partner or friend for whom it might not be their thing, don’t worry they are going to love it too.

Inside you’ll find stage costumes worn by Beyonce, Madonna’s infamous conical bra corset, the gown Nicole Kidman accepted her Best Actress Oscar in and Cate Blanchett’s red carpet gowns – including the black and gold leaf-jewel, open backed black dress that put her on the world’s fashion radar back in 2000. It’s heaven, go now before it closes.

On until the 8th February, at the National Gallery of Victoria.

 2. The crab spaghettini at Fatto.

After you take in the JPG exhibition you’re going to need refueling. Walk around the corner and you are at Fatto located on River Terrace. Do not pass go until you’ve eaten one of their signature dishes, the crab spaghettini. It’s heaven on a plate. It isn’t heavy in the way you know most pastas to be, but light, zesty and moreish. If you have room for dessert, try the ricotta cannoli with rose jelly and strawberry sorbet. It’s bucket list worthy.

Fatto – 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne.

3. The vintage shopping.

Forget the Emporium (sorry guys!) but vintage shopping is where it’s at in Melbourne. I was taken on a shopping tour by Sarah Wilcocks of Style Melbourne, who let slip some of the city’s best vintage spots. Your must-do spots include: Circa Vintage, Christine’s and Hawkeye Vintage. And if you find yourself in Melbourne at Cup time, head to Louise MacDonald Millinery who does the most exquisite and on-trend hat designs.


Circa Vintage – Level 1, Mitchell House, 358 Lonsdale St, Melbourne.
Christine’s – 181 FLinders Lane, Melbourne.
Louise MacDonald Millinery (studio) – Level 8, 37 Swanston St, Melbourne.

4. The sushi at Nobu.

If you can’t afford to stay at the Crown when in Melbourne, save your bickies to eat at Nobu one of the hotel’s best restaurants.  It’s known as the world’s most recognised Japanese restaurant (Robert De Niro is a co-owner) and the Melbourne version does not disappoint.

It is some of the best sushi I have ever eaten – this side of Japan. The lunch menu is well priced (provided you don’t go all out), and I’m trying to recommend a dish, but honestly it’s all good.

Nobu – Riverside at Crown Metropol.

5. The coffee at Pellegrini’s.

Melbourne is renowned for its coffee, and since I don’t think we do a bad latte up south I never really got it – until now. For those who haven’t been, Pellegrini’s is an institution. Word is (by the owners!) that this was where Melbourne’s first espresso machine was delivered in 1954. The coffee is excellent, the decor hasn’t been changed in decades, and their cheap, hearty and delicious traditional meals are favoured among students, men in suits and early bird theatre-goers. During summer, ask for the watermelon granita (it’s not on the menu).

Pellegrini – 66 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Nicky flew to Melbourne courtesy of Qantas and was a guest of Tourism Victoria.