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History Week: The House of Merivale

Bethan Donnelly revisits the Sixties fashion boutique ‘The House of Merivale’ and the fascinating part this landmark fashion retailer played in Sydney’s youth identity politics in the 1960s.

John and Merivale Hemmes were the mavericks of Australian fashion. The first “swinging” boutique in Australia, House of Merivale connected with the frivolity of Carnaby Street and Kings Road in the heyday of Swinging London. Catering to 18-25 year olds, the boutique significantly influenced a generation of young Australians.

The House of Merivale was THE place to go to for the latest trends in music, fashion and make-up and was the first store in Australia to sell the mini.

Offering an alternative to the conservative department stores, the style of Merivale was fashionably disheveled and junky. It was so popular that teenagers would be lined up outside the door.

FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC