Words by Emma Do, photos by Aimee Han
Most people seem to know Dagmar Rousset only as the neon orb that lights up Gertrude street in the evenings. Sadly, the retina burning streaks (a work by artist Rowena Martinich) that were sprawled across the shop front have since been wiped clean, though Dagmar’s sparkle remains.
Through the red door is a blank canvas on which owner Julia Pound projects the contents of her mind. Dagmar is a true reflection of Ms.Pound. Formerly a French teacher at Monash Uni, she made the career leap, combining her many loves to create the boutique-cum-French school-cum art gallery. You get the feeling she is working on nothing but a whole lot of love, fizzy enthusiasm and gut instinct. With no initial experience in retail, Julia was hesitant to take the plunge but took the chance to live her childhood dream, starting out first in Brunswick then making the move to Fitzroy. “I’ve wanted my own store since I was about six!,” she says.
The name Dagmar Rousset (it may take a while to master the pronunciation– Julia recommends gargling to achieve the throaty accent on Rousset) is her own alter ego; in her words, “a brighter, shinier version of myself!”. Indeed the entire store lends itself to those exact words: bright and shiny, with a carefully edited range of quirky clothes from all over the world. The racks are a liquorice all sorts kind of affair – labels include New Zealand label Salasai, ALL Knitwear from New York, the Berlin based HowitzWeissBach and whichever gem she discovers online next. “The internet is a gold mine. I am a Gen X-er which means that I am old enough to find the interwebs a magical and mysterious place. I spend an embarrassing amount of time trawling,” she enthuses. “I have lots of crazy ideas for the shop- that will probably mean more artworks, objects and installations. Hopefully one day, the space will become a work of art in and of itself where the clothing, furniture and staff all become part of a beautiful tableau vivant”.
Pay Julia a visit at Dagmar Rousset – 157 Gertrude Street Fitzroy
and look out for a little tutorial she gave us which we’ll be posting online tomorrow.