The Department Store is awesome. I've been saying so since it first opened. In fact, my exact words were:
"What better way to while away an afternoon than a trip to The Department Store. Clothing - check. Knick knacks, furniture, books, art - check. Did I mention the salon? The real peppermint tea? The particularly attractive staff? I'm already petitioning for a second, south o' the bridge location."Well now I can say I told you so, and boo the haters who commented that it wouldn't work, that it would fail, that it was a dumb idea... Because Monocle Magazine, the global arbiters of cool when it comes to luxury, travel and shopping, have come out and called it the number one new store in the world, praising its 'vernacular’ of celebrating local talent. And those guys know what they're talking about. They devote their entire lives to roaming the globe seeking out the best of everything. And they're bloody good at what they do - people who know say they're people who know.
Here's the thing. In my opinion, New Zealanders are very cautious people. We judge first, and ask questions later. It takes us a while to warm up to things. And we generally don't like anything until it's been validated by somebody or something bigger than us. You see it time and time again - New Zealanders being shunned by their own until they go out into the world and make something of themselves. Then they'll come back and be heaped with praise. Or the opposite happening, where a non-New Zealander will come here and suddenly be seen as the global expert on something... just because they're from London or New York or Sydney.
I must admit that when I heard about The Department Store's award, I shook my head in disbelief and thought to myself, 'Surely there must be a better store somewhere else.' But that's just the cultural cringing New Zealander in me rearing its ugly head. I've travelled a lot in the last year and I can honestly say that I haven't been into a cooler store. Not in New York, not in London, not in Paris or Milan or Los Angeles.
So congratulations to Karen Walker, the Black Box guys and Stephen Marr - plus the other pop up stores within The Department Store - for creating a retail location that really does hold up on the world stage.
What they say is true - a shore store's a shore thing.
I LIKE YOU!