You’re walking down Gertrude St when a pop of yellow catches your eye. It’s either a rogue canary, or this place—Variety Hour.
You might have heard the name before. Variety Hour is an online Melbourne-based label from textile designer Cassie Byrnes. It started up back in 2016. This spot on Gertrude St is Cassie’s first bricks and mortar home: a little 6-month pop-up to give fans a taste of the brand IRL.
First impressions? Gorman-esque. And that’s a good thing. Bold prints and eye-blasting colours are definitely on-trend right now (turns out the perks of being a wallflower are few and far between).
“To me, fashion is all about the customer and making them feel fabulous,” Cassie says. “I love being able to make women feel beautiful, no matter age or size. I’ll often get a mother-daughter duo visit my stall and both find something perfect for them, which I really love to see.”
Cassie still designs everything herself, and the process is pretty full-on. The design itself can take upwards of 100 hours, then there’s fabric sampling and colour development, months of tweaking and tailoring to get the right fit. The result is what you can see—funky, often floral, nothing bland.
The brand has grown pretty organically over the last couple of years, mostly through design markets and e-commerce sales (although Cassie launched a two-week pop-up earlier this year). The Victorian label is even being stocked in the US—you can find it handing in Anthropologie stores as we speak.
The new collection out now is called Honeymoon. Each piece is made from ethically sourced, 100% biodegradable fabric, and the sizes range from 8 to 18 (a thoughtful touch—retailers take note).
Our favourite pieces are definitely the protea-blooming ‘Elko’ dress and the ‘Arvo’ top with stylized galahs (a lot of Cassie’s designs have that bush-beaten Australiana twang).
Looking for a Gorman alternative? Give this place a go. You’ll find it at 155 Gertrude St for the next six months.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White