It’s with excitement that I hit the Perth city streets to meet with the international fashion stylist Ivanna Fontana for one of her signature personal shopping sessions. She and photographer Susan Young lead me to Cabinet Noir, Edward ‘Edit’ Maradona’s luxury goods and streetwear store tucked away in Shafto Lane of Perth’s CBD.
Edit opens the store a few hours early for us, and he and Ivanna catch up whilst I take a look around. Thick iron interweaves with dark wooden tones, a classic motorcycle overwatches the varied range of handcrafted apparel and edgy footwear, and all throughout is the exhilarating feel of luxury, something that streetwear in Perth is not so accustomed to. Without doubt, Cabinet Noir is a welcome change of style.
I’m particularly taken with a sneaker by ETQ Amsterdam, of which Cabinet Noir is one of only two stockists in Australia, and another by Foot The Coacher, a Japanese range of luxury sneakers and boots that look more like art than footwear.
‘Shall we get started?’ Ivanna asks.
‘Sure,’ I say.
She goes to work, and it’s a flurry of looks, cuts and cloth. Guided by her inexorable style and on-trend judgment, a few hours later I find myself piling the counter with the finest in quality streetwear that’s perfect for me. But before I go I get a moment to pull Edit aside for a few questions.
What is your story? How did you get into fashion?
My background is in Hip Hop. I grew up in the scene, and as a part of the Hip Hop culture dressing well, or fresh, is a must. I’m a straight up B-boy so I love my fashion. But I really fell into it when I started my own clothing brand Alreis. I have always loved dressing differently and creating my own identity.
How did Cabinet Noir come about?
Cabinet Noir is a decade long project that I started in my head as a teenager. I’ve always wanted to own a footwear/apparel store. However as I grow older my fashion taste changed, and I became more aware of luxury brands and premium quality manufacturers.
There are a lot of luxury brands that aren’t available or accessible here in Australia, especially in Perth. My dream is to help people dress well, so Cabinet Noir was the perfect medium to bring luxury goods into this town.
And as for the name, well, Cabinet Noir means ‘black room’ in French. During the French Revolution era, a Cabinet Noir was a hidden room where officials would check suspicious letters before being delivered to the recipients. The idea of a hidden room, or in this case a shop, was very appealing to me. The name suits our aesthetics, direction and style. And black is my favourite colour.
What is your aim with Cabinet Noir?
Our aim is to be a globally recognised concept store, and to expand our brand worldwide. And ultimately to make everyone dress better!
Can you tell me a little about some of your exclusive products and how you source them?
With our product selection we are very careful of who we stock. The brand has to be able to connect with us and tell us stories. If we feel we do not connect with them or we feel that they don’t have an interesting story to tell then we don’t stock them. We need to be able to relate with the brands emotionally as well as aesthetically.
We carry a lot of Japanese brands because they still use traditional methods to produce their garments. Craftsmanship is very important to them. Some even believe in spiritual bonding when creating their products. Everything is handcrafted, and to us that level of manufacturing is very appealing.
We like exclusivity too, and are proud to bring to Australia pieces from CDG SHIRT, SOPHNET, Uniform Experiment, White Mountaineering, Mark McNairy, FC Real Bristol, OAMC, Merz b. Schwanen and Iron Heart.
What are your thoughts on current men’s fashion trends as you see them?
I see men’s fashion as becoming more intricate and interesting. I see an increasing number of brands that aren’t afraid to push the boundaries. I see streetwear as becoming a staple of modern menswear.
High fashion brands are becoming more accessible and consumers are beginning to want those luxury products. And social media is playing a huge role in encouraging consumers to experiment with these high end brands.
Got any style tips for the gents this summer?
Layers! Perth fashion is known to be a little bland because of our climate but I feel we need to start wearing more layers. Obviously during the hot weather lighter fabric would help, like a chambray shirt with light linen overcoat or blazer with chino shorts for the guys who want to be casual yet dressy.
For those who want to look rugged in summer, simple plain white tees with raw selvedge denim and tan coloured boots will work effortlessly. Bring back that Jimmy Dean look!