7377 Bourke Street
Tel: 61 3 9650 3277
This large gallery in City Centre represents Aboriginal artists and artisans from around Australia, specializing in dot paintings from the Central and Western deserts. Two showrooms are chockablock with canvases, and you can watch videos of the artists at work. Each piece comes with a certification and information about the work. The associated adjacent gallery sells antique maps and prints.
17 Howey Place
Tel: 61 3 9654 9203
Coquettish designer (and Tasmanian native) Alannah Hill has gained a cult following in Melbourne for her unabashedly feminine clothes. Her collections are filled with floaty dresses in silk, chiffon, and lace; floral prints and polka dots; and girlie accessories, such as waist-cinching ribbon belts, slinky stockings, and camisoles. There's a second location in South Yarra (533 Chapel St.; 6-13-9826-2755).
185 Little Collins Street
Tel: 61 3 9663 4334
Jewelry-design duo Emma Goodsir and Ali Limb (the name's a clever amalgam of their initials but also, aptly, means "for example…and then some") showcase innovative handmade pieces from designers around the Antipodes. Some pieces are classic in design, like slim stacking rings in rose, yellow, and white gold; other pieces use precious stones; and still others incorporate hammered metals, pearls, and shells for a more ethnic look. There's another city center location at 167 Flinders Lane (61-3-9639-5111).
137 Flinders Lane
Tel: 61 3 9654 3332
This is the place to buy well-priced contemporary art from emerging and mid-career Australian painters, printmakers, and sculptors, including some standout indigenous artists (the "dreaming" paintings of Shorty Jangala Robertson and Liddy Napanangka Walker are especially vivid). The gallery's cool digital service lets you provide wall dimensions, then "virtually hang" work till you find the perfect piece.
Open Mondays through Saturdays; by appointment only on Sundays.
180 Collins Street
Tel: 61 3 9662 9126
For almost a century, Reginald Murray Williams has built a reputation for high-quality, hard-wearing bush gear. His best-selling boots are handcrafted from kangaroo, kid, or cowhide leather, double top-stitched, then oiled or polished. Extensively road-tested by real stockmen, this footwear is made to last—and it looks good, too. Other good buys include high-quality moleskin pants, oilskin coats, and heavy-duty cotton shirts for both men and women. There are also locations at 201 Spencer Street (61-3-8689-7535) and 300 Lonsdale Street (61-3-9663-7126).
190 Little Collins Street
Tel: 61 3 9654 9951
Designer Roy Christou creates smart, edgy street wear for men and, more recently, women. Best buys include funky printed tees, corduroys, casual structured jackets, and, for girls, sexy skinny-leg pants. There are several branches throughout the city. The latest, in the neighborhood of Armadale, has themed beach, barn, and boudoir rooms, and some store-exclusive pieces (1015 High St.; 61-3-9822-4344).
Melbourne's most concentrated style strip, Chapel Street, links the fashionable suburbs of South Yarra, Prahran, and Windsor (www.chapelstreet.com.au). The street bristles with sleek boutiques, including the flagship stores of most of Australia's name designers (homegrown luminaries Bettina Liano, Roy Christou, and Scanlan & Theodore all have outlets here), as well as bookshops, cinemas, and gift shops. Prahran Market, on Commercial Road, is a local institution, and a good source of fresh and gourmet produce (61-3-8290-8220; www.prahranmarket.com.au; closed Mon. and Wed.).