Bernadette Wyer is the brains behind Izzi and Popo. A great little shop selling antiques and specialty items from Belgium. It’s been delighting locals now for six and a half years. In that time Bernadette and husband Harry Silman have built it into a very bouyant business. Harry has friends in Belgium who assists with sourcing their stock. He’s godfather to their two children, Isobelle and Sophie, hence the name Izzi and Popo…the two girls nicknames.
The shop’s in an unlikely spot, at 258 Ferrars Street South Melbourne. It’s not within a shopping strip but there is a high volume of traffic on Ferrars Street. I can remember driving past it and almost running into someone, trying to check out what was in the window. Shortly after that was my first visit. I’ve been a customer ever since. The thing I love most about it is that their merchandise invites me to be creative. I bought an enormous old French dough trough. It’s great filled with wattle or lined with banana leaves ready to serve dips and olives and all sorts of scrummy befores.
Products on offer range from glassware to art nouveau wrought iron. They sell an enormous range of flour bags and flour bag fabric(see the first photo). The stripes differ on each one. Each mill had it’s own designated stripes and colours so that their flour could be recognised from the bags.
In addition to the flour bags, Bernadette satisfies her great love of textiles by surrounding herself with exquisite, antique embroidered linen. Her office is filled with shelves stacked high with a wide selection.
The only brand new linen available is their own range of bed linen (below) called “Frank and Mint”. It’s one hundred percent, best quality linen, manufactured in Portugal. It’s made in exquisite colours…two greens, sand, indigo, two shades of grey, plum, and of course white. It’s the sort of bed linen that works well with the antiques and items they sell in the shop but equally well in a contemporary setting.
The following photos are a small sample of what’s on offer storewide. It’s easy to see why Sibella Court names it in her gorgeous book “Etcetera”. A lot of Izzi and Popo’s clientele are interior designers, looking for unique touches. Make sure that you go down into the “cellar” as there are treasures aplenty there too.
One day, when I arrived at the shop, there were several art students sketching . There are always charming little vignettes set up, just waiting to be sketched or photographed. The merchandising is fun and quirky.
Izzi and Popo have a new website. To keep an eye on what’s new in the store click on this link. They’re expecting a new shipment some time in June.