Inside an Aussie Fashion Boutique With a Bohemian Spirit
If you ever get the chance to visit the easternmost part of Australia, there’s one place you simply must visit: Spell and the Gypsy Collective. The bohemian brand just swung open its 200-year-old Moroccan doors to its stunning Byron Bay flagship, and it’s gypset heaven. It‘s been a veritable roller-coaster ride for the label’s co-founders, Isabella Pennefather and Elizabeth Abegg, since they launched the brand from their home office in 2009. The talented sister act’s festival-inspired fashions have garnered a global cult following with a who’s who of celebrity fans including Nicole Trunfio and Vanessa Hudgens.
Spell Design’s free-spirited aesthetic runs through the store’s interior design with rustic beams sourced from old bridges, worldly treasures, antique furniture, sentimental collectibles, and the cactus garden of your dreams. We spoke with one-half of the creative duo, Abegg, to delve deeper into the duo’s boho-chic inspirations and creative decorating process.
MYDOMAINE: You have a bohemian state of mind, from your way of life to your personal style. How did this influence the layout and design of the store?
ELIZABETH ABEGG: I wanted to create a tangible space to harness all the creativity that flows through us, and somewhere our customers could experience the aesthetic of our brand beyond the elusive world of social media. We infused everything we love into this space. It feels like us, and it feels like home.
MD: Can you name some key influences that had a major impact on the look and feel of the store?
EA: We’ve always been inspired by far-off cultures and beautifully timeworn natural materials. The space has an eclectic mix of contrasting surfaces and eras; white resin floors are paired with 200-year-old antique Moroccan doors. We drew on our love of the exotic but sourced locally as much as possible.
The exposed beams were reclaimed from the old Bangalow Bridge, and our counter was made from an old footbridge. We’ve spent the last seven years immersed in so many incredible interiors and imagery that it wasn’t hard to create a striking mood board that we could refer back to.
MD: What is your favorite part of the store?
EA: Every time I walk into the store, there’s something else I fall a little more in love with. Sometimes it’s the feather pendant lights hanging over the counter (Isabella designed them herself and handmade them on site), other times I sit in the courtyard under the huge reclaimed wood arbor and fall further in love with our cactus garden. Although, I still think my favorite is our private shopping space on the small mezzanine level overlooking the store. Light streams in through the little bay window, and you can look down on the store through the exposed beams.
MD: How did you work together on the design? Do you have similar aesthetics going into it? Do you have mood boards?
EA: We had a tight team and a keen builder who allowed us free rein but also offered a lot of input and great design ideas. Isabella and I have very aligned aesthetics, so she trusted me with the build. I had a clear vision of what I wanted, but I’m also very visual and needed a mood board on site to refer back to when my imagination led me off track.
MD: The brand is now recognized and worshiped globally thanks to your plethora of devoted celebrity fans. How do your fans influence the boutique design?
EA: Yes, we do have a very loyal and supportive Spell community, and like us, many of them share our love of capturing moments that inspire them and sharing it across their Instagram or Snapchat. So, of course, we wanted to create a space that was worthy of that.
MD: What do you hope for the new store?
EA: I think about the shopping experiences that I’ve traveled far and wide to find—gorgeous vintage stores on Kings Road in London, the Rose Bowl market in L.A., and when I lived in Sydney, the Island Luxe in Bangalow. We hope that our Byron store excites people in the way those locations inspired me. We dream that this space becomes a destination people come from far and wide to visit and keep coming back to again and again.