Best Case Scenario:
Let’s talk about your baggage. Every traveller knows that a suitcase with wonky wheels or a broken latch makes every trip that little bit worse. Luckily, the Melbourne founders of July are hell-bent on a mission to democratise luggage that’ll last forever. They began by reading more than 4000 reviews of existing suitcases to understand the most common annoyances before attempting to iron them out. Viewing the results, it’s the little details that stand out, think reinforced corners, whisper-quiet wheels, built-in laundry bags and integrated USB ports to charge your laptop and phone. In short, they’re seriously functional. But what strikes you first is the head-turning design of the suitcases that are curvy, sleek and matte-finished. Our pick? The July Carry-On – a scratch-proof, 40-litre case that won gold in last year’s Melbourne Design Awards. The clinching detail: every case will trundle home with you accompanied by a lifetime guarantee.
GUBI PACHA LOUNGE CHAIR
According to Henri Matisse: “Art should be something like a good armchair in which to rest from physical fatigue.” Gubi have distilled that sentiment into their Pacha Lounge Chair to create a statement piece of furniture that’s also eye-rollingly comfortable. Essentially, the Scandinavian firm have amputated any limbs. They’ve done away with the arms and chair-legs to make a low-level armchair with real depth before softening all the edges with Kardashian curves.
It looks inviting enough, but sinking into the chair is soothing for both body and mind. You know when you nestle into the palm of a kindly giant who’s wearing a pair of extra padded mittens? The Pacha Lounge Chair is a bit like that.
Step on it:
The luxury sneaker market is flooded with elegantly streamlined kicks that thumb their nose at logos in favour of a simple, clean aesthetic. While Common Projects are still the OG low-tops in the less-is-more space, CQP are the up-and-comers to watch. The Stockholm-based sneakermaker ("Conversations & Quintessential Products" to use the company's full name) specialise in the sort of ultra versatile trainers that you can wear with everything from sweatpants to tailoring.
Their Jetty model - a contemporary loafer in supple suede – comes across like the more refined older brother of a classic Vans’ slip-on. Meanwhile the leather construction of the Racquet is unlined, making it deliciously soft and light to wear. Handmade and designed entirely in-house, CQP is the logical next step for any sneaker fetishist.
Whether it’s a glitchy pairing process or piss-poor battery life, Bluetooth speakers often prove a disappointment Luckily, the Sonos One is a super-dependable option that’s yours for under $300. Sleekly minimalist looks conceal sound quality that’ll make the fussiest audiophile beam, balancing well-rounded audio with dynamic range that’ll preserve decent treble while still capturing your booty-shaking bass. The smart speaker also puts Amazon's Alexa on 24/7 call.
For those of you who don’t enlist the services of a robotic-sounding virtual assistant, this means that, aside from playing music, you can also use the speaker to dial an Uber, make a video call or even find the best wine to pair with your meal. Somehow capable of hearing your request no matter how loud the music, Alexa will genuinely make your life easier. Just avoid going the full Joaquin Phoenix in Her.
On The Button:
CHRISTIAN KIMBER MENSWEAR
Winner of Australia’s 2019 National Designer Award, Chris is a British ex-pat who now calls Melbourne home. The sweet spot for his menswear is “the grey area between formal and casual”. What this actually translates to is clothing that’s refined yet relaxed – think knitted polos with open collars, herringbone overcoats and merino cardigans that offer a slouchy take on a blazer.
Shoes are also something of a speciality, whether it’s his Italian-made loafers that fit like slippers or low-top sneakers with contrasting recycled rubber soles. Still only 30, this guy has an intuitive grasp of how men truly aspire to dress.
The Hot Pot:
LE CREUSET COOKWARE
Reassuringly hefty and durable, there’s something truly life-affirming about a Le Creuset casserole dish bubbling on your stove on a cold winter’s night. Yes, this enamel cast-iron cookware is pricey. But if you want longevity and quality – Le Creuset’s products have lifetime guarantees – then you have to vote with your wallet. The expense is justified, too: each piece of Le Creuset is individually cast in sand moulds, that are used once and broken after use, making every pot truly unique.
More importantly, they’re great to cook with. The cast iron maintains a steady heat for slow-cooking and roasting, while the enamel finish is a doddle to clean. Whether in “volcanic orange”, “Marseille blue” or “soleil yellow” (Marilyn Monroe’s favourite) there’s a good reason why Le Creuset continues to appear on every wedding-gift list since the dawn of time.
AIMÉ LEON DORE
At the time of writing, there’s no footwear on the Aimé Leon Dore website. That’s because it’s completely sold out. Again. The brand’s latest collaboration with New Balance resulted in head-spinning remixes of the 827 sneaker in bold, colour-blocked designs that disappeared from online retailers faster that you could tie your shoelaces. The New York brand is renowned for these highly limited-edition capsule collections – previous hook-ups have included everyone from Porsche to Drake’s.
Clothing-wise, ALD is all about elevated basics and detail-conscious outerwear with a street-tough edge. But their footwear is particularly striking. Whether it’s their perforated update of the Puma State sneaker, their low-top / desert-boot hybrid or their boat-shoe twist on a Timberland boot, ALD’s approach is always fresh, ballsy and (sadly) always sold out.