Eclectic treasures: Horn Emporium

Seminyak’s shopping is a treasure trove of fabulousness, as Belinda Jackson discovers.


The
girls are clad in a uniform of floaty tunics and kaftans, strappy
sandals and big sunglasses, each arm jangling with bangles and glossy
paper shopping bags.

I run into them at three boutiques in a row
and at each stop, someone’s pulling out a gorgeous gauzy shirt or new
belt to show the rest of the gang.

They’re on a serious boutique hop,
riding the pure, glistening wave of the retail high.

It’s not
Rodeo Drive, it’s not Milan: it’s Bali. Seminyak, to be precise.
Balinese shopping isn’t all Bintang singlets and dyed sarongs guaranteed
to turn your laundry cerise. The chic enclave of Seminyak is a United
Nations of designers lured by sun, sand and a culture that breathes
beautiful design.

If
you’re expecting cheap Billabong surfwear, forget about it. You don’t
go to Bali to buy the big international brands: they’re imported, so
they’ll be expensive.

Once you’ve jumped that mental hurdle, then
you can start to explore the real treasures of Balinese shopping:
handmade clothes made with a level of detail and finishing for a price
you’d never pay in Australia. Additional tailoring is also fast, cheap
and most boutiques can organise it for you overnight.

Seminyak’s
boutiques gather in clusters on Jalan Laksmana and in Jalan Raya
Seminyak, and you’ll see a number of names crop up on both, including
Magali Pascal for beautiful lacework (177X Jl Laksmana), and the
Brazilians, Lily Jean (102 X Jl Laksmana) and Lulu Yasmine, for sexy and
standout statement pieces (100 Jl Laksmana).

Haveli homewares

Australian designer
Penny Pinkster’s Mist boutique is a favourite for those after soft,
yielding kaftans in a subdued palette (42 Jl Raya Seminyak), Namu will
kit you out, from totally covetable lunching ensembles to killer
cocktail kit (234X Jl Petitenget) and pick up your saucy nix at niconico
intimo
(12 Jl Raya Seminyak).

Shop fashion with a conscience at
Puravida
, owned by two Italian sisters, which produces all its bright,
easy-wearing cotton and jersey clothes locally, and supports Eco Bali
ventures (38b Jl Raya Seminyak). It also pays its staff fair wages with
healthcare, as does Buddha Wear, which also locally manufactures
gorgeous jerseys. Hot tip: nip upstairs to riffle through Buddha Wear’s
bargain racks if you’re on a tight budget (15X Jl Laksmana). Low-key
Jamila
is a must-stop for the basics (tees, leggings) in black, white
and grey, at very reasonable prices, with alterations done in-house (49
Jl Raya Seminyak).

Bargain hunters will love the boutique
clearance shops: try Animale for end-of-season flats, sandals and
costume jewellery that won’t fall apart after the first hour (31 Jl Raya
Seminyak). Steer clear of the overpriced kaftans and tatty fashion in
Seminyak market opposite Seminyak square.

Men, all is not
forgotten: French designer Jacque Ruc’s Animale does more tailored,
pared-back men’s fashion suitable for Australia’s sober streets, while
Susanna Perini’s super-chic Biasa is a hot stop for deconstructed
layering for both men and women and also has an artspace for
contemporary Indonesian artists (36 Jl Raya Seminyak).

You can
snap up cheap, emergency sunglasses, big earrings and your shell
jewellery in the stalls at the front of Seminyak Square. Hit Aura for
handmade, customised leather goods (21X Jl Laksmana) while Tasmaniac has
a cult following for its, er, high-quality, less original handbags (501
Jl Raya Seminyak).

Another little pocket of fabulousness is Jalan
Kunti, not far from the intersection of Laksmana and Raya Seminyak.
Think of it as “the Paris end of Seminyak”.

Here, the beautiful
people cool down with cocktails at Word of Mouth‘s cafe in between
cruising its deeply gorgeous homewares and fashion (9 Jl Kunti). Then,
it’s a few short steps down to the beautiful interiors of Sydney
designer Natasha Welsh’s Allegra for floaty, girly statement frocks:
beware, they’re cut small, so strapping lasses should steer clear to
avoid changing-room angst (6 Jl Kunti).

Colourful White Peacock

Homewares hunters are in
paradise in Bali, and not just lovers of the omnipresent Buddha statues.
Jalan Kerobokan is the place to buy lighting. Rice paper, woven
branches, statement chandeliers: choose your taste point. Jump in a taxi
and kerb-crawl, then hit The White Peacock for super-colourful throws
and cushions, located obligingly opposite the Grocer & Grind for
good coffee or nearby Petitenget for a luxe lunch and cocktail option.

Carga
is chockers full of gorgeous homewares and trinkets (886 Jl
Petitenget), and an absolute must-visit is Horn Emporium, by Anita Horn,
whose unerring eye will steer you into unchartered territory (100X Jl
Petitenget). For homewares with an ethical bent, make for indi vie, in
the Made’s Warung complex, which stocks the cutest little dolls made by
Bali’s street kids, under a not-for-profit charity (Jl Raya Seminyak).
They’re also sold at Press Ban cafe, one of the few places you’ll find
nuevo-retro and vintage fashion (50 Jl Laksmana). Put Kody Ko on the
list for knockout artworks (C002 Jl Kayu Cendana).

Seminyak takes
its after-shop care seriously: it knows how to reward and rejuvenate the
jaded shopper, with a foot massage at Jari Menari (47 Raya Basangkasa)
followed by sunset cocktails at Ku De Ta (dress up), La Plancha (dress
down) or Potato Head Beach Club (dress however you want, except Bintang
T-shirts) to celebrate a job well done.

Belinda Jackson was a guest of Space Villas.

Trip notes

Staying there Seminyak
is heaving with accommodation, from budget to break-the-bank. Try Space
Villas, No. 8 Jl Drupadi, Seminyak. +62 361 731100, spaceatbali.com.
Getting there Virgin Australia (virginaustralia.com), Jetstar (jetstar.com.au) and Garuda Indonesia (garuda-indonesia.com) fly Sydney to Denpasar direct.
More information indonesia.travel.