It might have a Parisian name - Le Louvre, it might look like it's in Paris, it might even be full of French products, but it is, after all, in Melbourne. I was walking along at the 'top', or 'Paris' end of central Melbourne's most fashionable street, Collins Street, last Thursday afternoon in brilliant Spring sunshine, and found an agreeable mix of light and shadow around this shop. I thought to myself, if you block out the surroundings it looks for all the world like Paris itself. I managed to take only one photo after 15 minutes' trying in which the non-Parisian surroundings were out of the frame and an appropriate figure presented herself in front of the shop.
Le Louvre is Melbourne's most venerable and expensive 'boutique', Parisian only to the extent that a Paris fashion house was imagined by a woman from the provincial Victorian city of Ballarat (home of the world's greatest gold rush in the 1850s) in 1922. The formidable Lillian Wightman who, according to an article in The Age newspaper on March 29, 2003:
"...figured that all the doctors who lived in Collins Street in those days were rich and their wives could afford expensive clothes. She called it Le Louvre because it sounded French, and she also coined the term the "Paris end" of Collins Street. High-profile clients have included Vivien Leigh, Dame Nellie Melba and Meryl Streep."
She died aged 90 in 1993.
Today, the business is still owned and run by her daughter, the also quite formidable (so it is said, but I have no direct experience to rely on) Mrs Georgina Weir. According to the same article in The Age:
"A look inside Le Louvre reveals its forbidding style. A few colourful feather boas have been flung over a cream couch and the room is decorated with zebra skins and a massive gilt mirror. Upstairs there are several 'girls' who serve tea in delicate bone china and fetch the clothes bought in Paris, London and New York. A jacket could set you back $5000, a wedding dress anything up to $50,000." It seems that there are no clothes to look at in the shop itself; they are all out the back. You are supposed to sit down and wait for various items to be brought out for you to have a look at.
Sadly for Melbourne, the famous "Paris End" of the street was partially ruined by developers and politicians from the 1960s on, when many ugly skyscrapers were built, some behind the lovely Victorian-era facades. Mrs Weir herself successfully sought council permission to build a 6-storey apartment block above her shop in 2003!
Go to Le Louvre's website if interested.
Edit: I completely forgot to mention the fact that in the 1970s my father, who was a top quality ladies' tailor, made many garments for Le Louvre, to patterns which were brought in from France. One of the coats was made to order for Barry Humphries, Australia's great comedian, who wore it in the person of his most famous stage character, Dame Edna Everidge!
Critiques | Translate
swiatopelk777 (0) 2008-12-15 4:29
Nice scene. Very nice street and houses. Good POV and capture. Original take.
Greetings from Warszawa!
banaei_nikon (777) 2008-12-15 4:33
Very nicy photo , Very well done
BennyV (20445) 2008-12-15 4:34
It would be interesting to see this shot without the location. First thought: it looks like Paris, but then you notice things like "le sale"! Very funny! Good light too!
PS: With this weather in December, it must be Melbourne!
hopsy_life (101) 2008-12-15 4:42
Excellent shot, beautiful captured, love the details and sharpness here
Greetings from Darmstadt,
papagolf21 (109086) 2008-12-15 4:53
Bonjour, cher Andrew,
C'est vrai, il serait bien difficile de savoir si nous sommes à Paris ou à Melbourne.
J'aime ce charme qui se dégage de cette composition qui mêle habilement ombres et lumières.
Longroute (19396) 2008-12-15 7:09
you really cheated me! I was distracted and didn't read the geographic position, so in the first moment I thought it was really Paris! you know something? Even the trees are tipycal of French cities: either plane-trees or horse-chestnut trees. One doesn't expect to find them in Australia!
A fine photo anyway well composed with the lady just at the door and the bicicles at the left. Bravo.
All the best,
besnard (57228) 2008-12-15 7:45
On aurait pu se poser la question mais tu nous a donné la réponse. Un joli cliché d'un endroit qui a l'air plein de charme.
Merci pour le partage et bonne journée.
Kielia (24077) 2008-12-15 9:38
the main feature of this beautiful composition is indeed the wonderful light of spring that is very nicely contrasting with the shadows. The overall impression of this place is inviting, it must be a pleasure to shop at “Le louvres”! I like your late passion for street corners very much and your note is nice too! TFS!
Wahclellaspirit (4107) 2008-12-15 11:27
An image with good play between light and shadow just as you saw it happen before your eyes. Well captured...
phwall (6785) 2008-12-15 13:22
A fine capture, and very well spotted, it does look very much like Paris.
The dappled light filtering through the trees creates a lovely mix of shadows and shafts of sunlight.
Great choice of POV, and along with your composition, sets the illusion perfectly.
Thanks too for the note, really interesting to read the history.
ribeiroantonio (22637) 2008-12-15 16:59
So, this shop is not totally strange to you. There is an always present relationship with it. It is great to see how the shop and building was spared from the ugly tall buildings. It is true, this corner could be anywhere in Paris, more precisely, close to the Champs Élysées Avenue or Foch Avenue. Well done.
jlbrthnn (76039) 2008-12-16 3:01
Excellent inspiration of the artist! There is indeed a piece of Paris in this image, with bicycles moreover. I like the aspect very “Bon chic, bon genre” of the shop, and of course his astonishing name. Very good quality of realization, congratulations.
Have a nice day
Jean-Luc (5488) 2008-12-16 3:09
Les couleurs sont très belles sous ce jeu des ombres et des lumières.
Je ne connais pas Melbourne et j'apprécie donc cette scène de rue qui peut faire penser à Paris.
Royaldevon (43259) 2008-12-16 7:45
I am heartened that you looked in the shop window and researched it but I would have loved to hear you quote some of these facts from your own experience. Is that a challenge?
I must admit, the Paris connection is certainly tangible! The light and shade is wonderful, not only on the dappled pavement but also on the shop facade ... and the unexpected model looks to be in a spotlight! I love how you have caught her with her heel down and toes up. A most uncharacteristic walk for a young lady but it shows a carefree and nonchalent disposition!
I like your pov with the shop as the main image but a hint of its context by the glimpses of other buildings, lamps and people leisurely ensconced on seats. Well balanced.
JCG (35129) 2008-12-16 9:02
With cold and wet time that we have on the Paris region in this moment I will prefer being in this beautiful city that is Melbourne !!! It is true that this street and the ensign of the store of clothing points out the style of certain Parisian streets but it is certain, taking into account the price of the jacket, that it is not here that I will make my purchases !!! Pretty point of view on this street with a good management of the shades and lights. Well done Andrew and thank you for the interesting note which supplements the image.
With all my friendships and with soon,
maltese (22907) 2008-12-16 13:41
Une très belle lumière sur "Le Louvre" et toujours étonnant de poser qu'aux antipodes vous êtes au printemps!!
Une très bonne photo et une note excellente!! (tout ce que j'aime dans TE)
Très bon travail, amicalement
PS thank you for your words in the forum thread
daddo (27890) 2008-12-16 17:30
Hi Andrew. A most pleasant shot showing us that the Melbourne of yore was a much more cosmopolitan city in architectural terms than the city of today with its many utilitarian, box-like, pre-fabricated structures that "adorn" our streets. Lovely use of light and shadow.Patience pays, proven by the right sort of pedestrian for your theme. Fascinating note. regards. Klaudio.
krug100 (397) 2008-12-16 22:42
I was pretty sure from a very first moment, this is Melbourne. I just love this city, I enjoyed every moment I was there. The city definitely has some kind of atmosphere which you could pick up instantly. I wish I had your talent to deliver all those tiny details to make shots to be so beautiful and recognizable. Thanks.
Disabled_A (0) 2008-12-16 23:56
this scene captured in the photo reminds me of a suspense effect - though in a very positive sense: as if in a moment or two something will happen :) for example, one or two more moments - and these two (whom I see in the photo) will walk close to each other... and then incredible things will start to happen!
I also like a very nice game of sunshine and shadows! :)
gildasjan (43824) 2008-12-17 0:04
Superbe le cadrage de la passante dans ce petit coin de rues entre ombre et lumière avec un bon dosage de l'exposition.
kschanna (6) 2008-12-17 1:52
Definetly Melbourne...I used to wait at a taxi rank which used to be opposite 80 collins street (before the new tram stop) and this scene is saved like anyting in my mind.
I really like the clever use of the light and shadows and the angle of the light along with careful selection of the PoV.
ChrisJ (117667) 2008-12-17 2:49
I'm back in Brisbane for a few weeks. I love Melbourne. It's the most European of all Australias cities. Well captured, with superb sharpness & colour. The French text adds to the French look & feel. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Tfs!
Gerrit (52283) 2008-12-17 3:46
Paris, I would say, but you're gonna tell me it's Melbourne.
Excellent photo with beautiful light and atmosphere,
azaf1 (15929) 2008-12-17 3:59
You are lucky to live in a place like that. Urban yet friendly ot its residents and visitors with bicycles and trees and shops of good taste. Excellent sharp details and nice colors
snunney (106359) 2008-12-17 8:34
Certainly has a French look about it. I like the point of view you have chosen and the juxtaposition between the shop front and the row of cycles. Also, the placement of the well dressed lady and the the man just coming into view around the corner. Some very interesting and appealing light and shadow contrasts. The interesting note adds to the mood somehow.
riclopes (35577) 2008-12-17 23:38
Olá Andrew, indeed it could be Paris except...that the city hall delivered new kind of bikes everywhere and they are not like the ones I see here :))) Very good note and beautiful light filtered by the trees. The best to me is the way you captured the two people approaching the corner. This woman and the business man are going to bump to each other next to the bikes and they'll start a romance... ;-) Anyway, it's a very good capture from a street in the 1st world, so diferent from Alexandria...
ewka (51) 2008-12-18 4:03
i've been in Paris... and you could've cheated me
lestans (17206) 2008-12-18 8:53
it is really a quiet lovely place, strange that it is Australia!!
I like your composition, simple but perfect, a great use of lights and shadows.
Useful rich note.
trekks (14348) 2008-12-18 19:29
I note your comparison of Paris and Melbourne because you have seen both places, unlike me although I am invited and persuaded by Santo to visit Melbourne next year. If I make it, then I know there are a few TE photographers based there and it will be fun to view some of the photos posted.
Interesting note about this place. The architecture, bicycles, facade etc but I do not suppose Paris can compare with Melbourne on the space and wide streets? I am sure some subtle differences like mode of transport, dress code. Perhaps as many claim, Melbourne is more historical than most other Australian cities.
But I remember Santo's remarks about the strong Italian influence. And lately the European cities are lined with rentable bikes, unlike these ones here. What else this photo can stir up?
ElAprendiz (30) 2008-12-18 20:07
A simple corner, but with some beautiful tones.
I like the composition, in particular by the various elements that are detailed, such as bicycles to the side and women as a dynamic scene. Good frame, and a large picture
tigra (2968) 2008-12-19 13:33
That's nice capture of an everyday life..
amaryllis (37039) 2008-12-20 4:11
un superbe cadrage de cette boutique en coin de rue avec ce jeu d'ombre et de lumière, cette personne qui passe sans regarder plus que celà, comme tu le dis, it's very expensive probably
c'est vrai que l'on aurait pu confondre avec Paris
Vasa (515) 2008-12-20 5:05
Third photo artistic similar in your presentation. This time it is not Paris, it is your everyday city. Your signature is going very well with this calm visual star. So proude of your work.
Have the best 2009 year!
carper (96) 2008-12-21 1:56
very nice street life shot here Andrew,
good atmosphere in the photo, well take4n and nice to look at, good one, have a nice day.
skippy007 (12510) 2008-12-21 4:36
Hello Andrew, Not only the writing but those bicycles suggest that it could very well be Paris but it just goes to show that Melbourne is very cosmopolitan & we can taste the world without going too far from home. An interesting & very informative note, I enjoyed reading not only because of it's historical & person content but because my father was also a tailor( mainly mens). The image is first class as always.
gilou530 (34) 2008-12-21 12:24
une photo vraiment belle avec ce jeu d'ombre et de lumiére tamisée d'un endroit qui pourrai trés bien etre a paris, comme tu le dis dans le titre, beau travail
paololg (31448) 2008-12-21 13:30
the composition of this photo is very beautiful with a good management of the lights and the shades. Excellent sharp that allows us to also see inside the showcases of the boutique. You have done really a good work, compliment!
Ciao, happy Christmas!
danyy (0) 2008-12-22 0:05
incroyable cette manière d'harmonier lumières basses et hautes.
Juste un peu de surexposition à l'arrière plan, mais je dois avouer c'est le genre de prise difficile au point de vue luminosités.
Un ensemble bien cadré aux couleurs naturelles.
Excellente fêtes de fin d'année.
Buin (42506) 2008-12-23 3:13
Yes, indeed, it looks quite "French". You show us an interesting photo with a fancy title and an excellent personal note. The light was difficult here - but you managed it skillfully.
Greeting from springlike Germany - and a Merry Christmas and a Happy and healthy New year to you and yours!
Anna-- (7791) 2008-12-24 2:04
really a Parisian atmosphere and a perfect subject waited.
The light and shadows are very good.
MarcT (20964) 2008-12-24 22:40
Very nice title and perfect composition around that idea.
MLINES (12516) 2008-12-28 20:14
Bonjour Andrew, Hope my few words or French are correct! I like the style and balance of this composition. The bikes resting near the trees are a special part of this photgraph. Having lived in Melbourne for 15 years i see what is one of the great attractions of this very livable city. TFS. Murray.
stego (24132) 2009-01-29 8:56
Indeed it has a very Parisian atmosphere, an inviting one, I must say. The casual appearance of the people adds to the charm of the architecture and the sunlight filtered by the trees. These reinforce the "French look" by being planes (sycamores?).
Very interesting note!
Flavia (10352) 2009-04-02 3:55
Such a special light! The elegant lady passing and admiring the shop windows complete very well the compositon. This place seems to be very nice with this old shop facades.
- Copyright: Andrew McRae (macondo) (19806)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2008-12-11
- Categories: Daily Life, Architecture
- Camera: Pentax K200D, Tamron 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII
- Exposure: f/4.5, 1/100 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2008-12-15 4:18
- Favorites: 1 [view]