Swonderful at 95 Victoria Street is an ideal port of call. The name of the shop is a song title from the film Funny Face, and it sums up the zesty thinking behind the items for sale. Like so many enterprises it began as a market stall but then transformed itself into a shop in late 2008 under the navigation of mother and daughter partnership Frances and Virginia McMullen. Stock comes from a number of designers who work away with great passion but do not necessarily possess the big machinery of marketing and seasonal ranges which typify larger design houses.
One such offering is a range of hand-warming muffs with their brilliant satin bows from the label Bettie Sue Boutique. These muffs take us back to a time of Edwardian opening nights at the theatre, or perhaps a portrait of a family about to go off to a morning service in a cold church.
Swonderful is also the retail showcase for the partners’ own label, Papercup. Papercup explores a range of fabrics, cuts, patterns and graphics and effortlessly creates what it finds attractive, Over the shoulders of one mannequin may be arranged a fine velvet capelet reminiscent of something a Vogue pattern book might have published in the 1960s, while other mannequins, like the ones in the photo of the shop window, proclaim graphics as a strong contributor to style. The graphics here were drafted by Devon Smith of Wellington.