You can’t help smile at Phare’s new pop-up store on Malvern Rd. It looks like someone designed it on The Sims (with excellent taste and a cheat code generating lots of money).
The whole thing is decked out in pops of magenta and fuchsia and millennial pink. Big ol’ curved mirror reaching to the ceiling, an outrageous purple leopard print ottoman, and eight or so beautifully designed, Italian-crafted shoes on display. As retail goes, this is about as far as you can get from somewhere like Myer.
Phare is the brainchild of designer Petrina Hare (take the initial from her first name and add it to her last name—voila!) Petrina used to work as a product designer for Scanlan Theodore and Mimco, but she struck out on her own in 2017, launching Phare to plug a gap in the market: where do you buy Italian footwear that won’t cost an Italian airfare?
This is Phare’s first bricks and mortar space. A beautifully designed test zone. High-end footwear is a sizing game, there’s no room for “almost there”, and Petrina wanted somewhere that people could come and learn about the brand—see what they like, have a chat, find a shoe that fits perfectly.
Let’s talk shoes. Phare stocks a boutique range of pumps, flats, sandals and boots, all designed by Petrina, and all cobbled high in the Italian Alps by Trappist monks (slight Editorialising there, but they are all hand-made in Italy).
Price-wise, expect to pay upwards of $500. But these aren’t ordinary shoes. For one thing, they’re not stocked anywhere else. The odds of you running into a shoe twin are slim. The quality is also exceptional—the whole point of the brand is to channel some old-world Italian quality (without the 4-figure price tag). If you look after the pumps, they’ll keep you looking swish for years.
Phare’s Malvern Rd boutique will be popping up for six months. After that, who knows? Even though retail is struggling right now, Petrina says the public response to the store has been great. Let’s hope she puts down roots and makes this a permanent thing.
Image credit: Phare