This page has moved to our new address, If you're not redirected within a few seconds, please click below. If you still have issues, please clear your cache and try again.

Hidden Treasures


Rss Feed


Assignment Photography and Syndication



This entire site ⓒ 2005-2011 The Sartorialist. All of the photographs herein, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted by the photographer. No part of this site, or any of the content contained herein, may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without express permission of the copyright holder(s).


Thursday, April 08, 2010

Hidden Treasures

Why is it that old-school boutiques seem to be the only retailers left that understand the idea of the "hidden treasure".

Shops today over-indulge in the visual display of product and images. Shouting at customers to dance to their music and submit to their own experience. Shops of yesteryear seduced, like a strip tease, slowly revealing themselves to those that gave their time and attetion.

It is strange that these shops of yesterday are so much more seductive than the "tits-out" stores of today.

Le Louvre, Melbourne

A shop in Barcelona

Comments on "Hidden Treasures"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:43 PM) : 

oh, i seen some here in my town as well! they are truly hidden treasure! thanks for the great time in Berlin! enjoyed your insider information and had a lot of fun! ;) hope to see you again someday! hope for an official book signing, maybe! (NYC Stripes!)


Anonymous envious desire said ... (6:52 PM) : 

So true. Time for them to make a come back!


Blogger FASHION SNAG said ... (6:54 PM) : 

Barcelona rocks and has many cute hidden shops. I agree that these should not be overlooked.


Anonymous Justine Ray said ... (6:54 PM) : 

I totally agree! I would much rather shop here than some ear drum busting over perfumed chain store!


Blogger Jordan G said ... (7:17 PM) : 

I couldn't agree more. A friend and myself are creating a business plan for a boutique/cafe, and it is inspiring to see that small boutique stores aren't getting lost in the sea of big box stores.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:24 PM) : 

Unfortunately, the iconic and fabulous Le Louvre is closing its Collins Street doors and moving to South Yarra.

Dommage, indeed.


Anonymous Joan said ... (7:33 PM) : 

those doors make me want to go inside and explore.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:37 PM) : 

Le Louvre is an amazing store - in the process of relocating at the moment.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:45 PM) : 

Ah...Le Louvre. Those doors and the tressures behind them! A Melbourne landmark. But sadly I here they are to move (if they haven't already?).


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:45 PM) : 

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Anonymous Janelle said ... (7:50 PM) : 

I agree...much more appealing and enticing.


Blogger Nedda Ebo said ... (7:57 PM) : 

lmao @ "tits-out" stores...I have to agree though, and its the old boutiques like these that usually have the nicest display; they'll have one or two gorgeous dresses out, and nothing else, but it really draws you in.

Mustart x


Blogger M.Kim said ... (8:03 PM) : 

Lack of visual display makes you wanna go into the store even more....very mysterious.
I love the curtain on the door.


Blogger Lisa Petrarca said ... (8:22 PM) : 

Yes the best treasures are always hidden. Let the masses rummage through the obvious while us gold diggers dig!


Anonymous Trudie F said ... (8:29 PM) : 

As soon as I saw the first pic I thought mmm that looks like that lovely little shop in the Paris Quarter in Melbourne! I've always love the mystery of that store.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:32 PM) : 

Sadly, Le Louvre has a moving out sign in the window. I am not sure where it is going or what is moving in but hopefully something as beautiful and classic as thestore is now. Even more sad because it was the store that gave the name the "Paris end " of Collins Street.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:35 PM) : 

Alas, Le Louvre is moving from this sweet location, where it's been for years to make way for big new development.


Blogger i.c. blogspot said ... (8:38 PM) : 



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:40 PM) : 

Old-school no longer! Le Louvre Melbourne has recently moved from this "hidden" boutique to a contemporary new retail space (announced by a flashy pink neon sign) closer to Melbourne's more commercial shopping district. A sign of the times perhaps?


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:44 PM) : 

i wanna visit barcelona(:



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:03 PM) : 

I completely agree...these shops entice one to walk in and explore.

Retailers do forget the importance of intrigue.


Blogger Alice Liddell Blog said ... (9:18 PM) : 

You're so right! One of my favourite hidden treasures is David Met Nicole, a little antiques store in Sydney. The people who own it are so great, and the shop itself is like diving into a treasure chest filled with old british paraphernalia. I particularly like the old glass beaker collection and two surgery lamps from the 60s!


Blogger Unknown said ... (9:46 PM) : 



Anonymous The Red Velvet Shoe said ... (9:50 PM) : 

Whenever I envision "TRVS" as a brick & mortar shoppe, this is almost exactly what I see in my mind's eye . . . both wonderful examples of old~world style boutiques & that almost extinct intimate boutique shopping experience . . . sigh.


Blogger lintmag said ... (9:53 PM) : 

As a person who has done visual display for 20-plus years, I completely agree! There are so few stores that are intriguing or even attractive in their displays. I have no idea why, even in luxury stores, people think customers will be more interested in an item if there are 100 of them out instead of just a few. Wouldn't that make you think they aren't special at all and also that they'd go on sale because no one wanted them?
The windows of larger stores are now mainly done with the hideous "plan-o-gram" where the main office sends down the dictate of what goes in and every store looks pretty much the same, no matter where it is.
It is a very sad time for display. I wish there were more innovative and daring people in power both in small boutiques and the large stores.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:55 PM) : 

I must say these beautiful little hidden treasures are a little intimidating. I often feel like a bull in a china shop, too afraid to disrupt the preciously manicured environment... They are wonderful though!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:07 PM) : 

Actually sadly because I knew what kind of wonderful expensive designer clothes were in Le Louvre I never went in.. was too scared. I just used to walk past and sigh wistfully.. although if you are imagining a Breakfast at Tiffany's moment.. not quite.. I always felt to scruffy to be there .. I may as well go before it closes though.


Blogger Jenny D. said ... (10:49 PM) : 

I read this entry as a comparison to young woman these days as opposed to young woman in earlier years and I really loved the way you wrote it. As a twenty year old, I like to think of myself as more of a "hidden treasure" and agree with you in both aspects.


Anonymous Alison said ... (11:00 PM) : 

Thank you for featuring Le Louvre in's always been a special place in a beautiful part of our city. What a shame it's moving - the Paris end won't be the same!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:31 AM) : 

HIdden treasure it is!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:58 AM) : 

Le Louvre will live on in Melbourne folklore. I agree these stores are intimidating though if you're not in the market to buy. Case in point, I entered Le Louvre last week for the first time ever in my life, emboldened by the open door and empty shop, a few rolls of European silk and a tiny rack of clothes the only things left.


Anonymous Megan said ... (2:49 AM) : 

I agree with everyone. I like it that it's old fashioned and it's like going through a wardrobe yourself (like in Narnia) and you try to find a treasure within. It creates an old of mystery.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:02 AM) : 

The shop in Barcelona (Spain) is Bel y Cía. ( stablished in 1842.


Blogger Sara Lee Bentley said ... (3:39 AM) : 

So true... stores like these are hidden gems that need to be supported if they are to withstand the test of time. Most new stores try to be "unique," but there is such a thing as a visual and acoustic overdrive that can get in the way of the shopping experience. Good post!


Anonymous mc king said ... (3:42 AM) : 

Bel y Cia is fantastic shop and top classy.


Blogger Jack Daniel said ... (4:05 AM) : 

Woah, never seen anything like this. But as a very nosy person that I am, I would definitely knock on the door and take a peek inside....


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:20 AM) : 

excellent post. completely agree!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:00 AM) : 

Bel y Cia is not "a" shop in Barcelona. It is very well known and hardly hidden. It is on the paseo de gracia!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:13 AM) : 

Este es el escaparate de hombre, el de mujer , que se encuentra justo a la izquierda, en el local de al lado, es muchisimo mejor , con una clase extraordinaria, muy chic....
Es una opinion desde Asturias, España


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:08 AM) : 

As I was looking at the first picture and reading the text I was thinking about the second one you show us!

I live in Barcelona and "Bel & Cia" (that's the boutique's name) is an amazing place and a perfect example of old school ratailers, they even have separated stores for men and women!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:38 AM) : 

Rome! Rome is the epitome if hidden treasure shopping. Well loved new and vintage. The pride in production and presentation of the wares is evident. Its a pleasure to discover in that city.


Anonymous indianna said ... (8:06 AM) : 

Totally agree Sart! There are still so many of us who are completely seduced by the mystery, beauty and art of fashion; not just the empty noise of 'The Brand'. Wonderful memories of Le Louvre in Melbourne....


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:44 AM) : 

So glad you've featured Le Louvre. I have never been in there: I never wanted to: when I was a little uni student I caught the tram up Collins Street every week to go to my singing lesson, and it was literally the highlight of my week to see what they had in the window, sometimes it was something unwearable; more often it was something just too fabulous for words.

For the last 20 years I have always had to go and check out what is new in the Le Louvre window.

But there was a sign up as we walked past tonight on our way to a show - they are moving from Collins St and that wonderful, mysterious shop! (of course, being Le Louvre, they have not said WHERE they are moving to...)

end of an era - glad you captured it...



Blogger Kathleen said ... (9:10 AM) : 

I am reminded of a time in my early adulthood when my mother used to take me to boutiques, yes stores that existed downtown or on a street corner tucked away and hardly noticeable. We would walk through the doors, my mother holding my hand, tempted by something very special displayed in the window. Once inside, we would spend delightful hours trying on clothing, shoes, accessories, whatever stock they had available on that given day. The neat thing about these little store was you never knew what they were going to have when you went inside, this is what made it such an adventure. We would walk out with something special, smelling lovely because we had tried all the perfumes, and then have a lovely lunch together. Yes, the world used to move more slowly and was much less complicated. I miss it greatly. These words echo in my memory to this day... "Ah miss, I have something perfect for you. It's as if we ordered this just for you. You are going to love this dress!"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:35 AM) : 

Bel & Cía... Ah! The spanish elegance...


Blogger Unknown said ... (9:37 AM) : 

The new Le Louvre is in South Yarra? I was oh so excited by the thought of entering Collins Street.. Imagine the delights of the new Daly Street store..! je l'aime xx


Anonymous michael edwards said ... (10:07 AM) : 

yes, you are right. These two you have here are much more inviting than what is the usual today. mind you, I'm never really opposed to the "tits out" approach in general :-)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11:26 AM) : 

Oh I adore this store! Classic Melbourne. I wish they were not moving out of that divine copper-skinned building; in fact out of the city.


Blogger Megui said ... (11:37 AM) : 

BEL is the perfect store for a man.
men in my family get their suits done there, they're amazing. so classic, so elegant.
i'm glad you uploaded this picture ;)


Blogger Megui said ... (11:37 AM) : 

BEL is the perfect store for a man.
men in my family get their suits done there, they're amazing. so classic, so elegant.
i'm glad you uploaded this picture ;)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:07 PM) : 

you're soo right...I completely agree


Blogger Heather Feemster said ... (12:24 PM) : 

That first door is amazing!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:02 PM) : 

Bel & Cia is the best kept secret of all the true gentelmans in BCN. The quality is, far, far away from the other stores in the city, including ARAMIS in Rambla de Catalunya (that is the only serious option). A lot of man from the upper class of the city buy all his entire wardrobe in this store. A REAL, REAL CLASSIC!!
Ahh, the store is really nice indoors!!! All wood furnished,plenty of pure cashmere sweaters, perfect suits, gorgeus shoes. I love it!!
PS: Excuse my poor english ...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:35 PM) : 

It is the same way a perfect tailored white blouse buttoned to the top is way more attractive on a woman than having your boobs hang out.


Blogger Mumei said ... (1:48 PM) : 

larger stores aren't meant to cater to individuals. they're meant for fast fashion and what's on the cover of the tabloids that week.

zara, forever 21, h&m and those hideous american apparel stores are just as bad as the gap because all they do is churn out poorly manufactured merchandise and the same look over and over.

give me a small store in the basement of an old movie theatre or backalley that specialize in a few quality pieces any day.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:50 PM) : 

THANK YOU!!! As someone who runs a boutique, and we try to keep displays clean and neat. So many people tell us to clutter up our windows. Finally people who appreciate the clothes and not the displays around them!


Blogger kristy said ... (2:31 PM) : 

i agree with you wholeheartedly. i'm a big fan of the art of window display, but i feel it should be done with that seduction that you mention. i want a shop to whisper 'come hither' to me, not scream for attention with every piece of clothing in their window and music blaring out the doors. i love the first picture you posted of le louvre, that one is my favorite.

Vogue Gone Rogue


Anonymous Victor said ... (5:43 PM) : 


It makes me think "We have secret pleasures for you, but would you have money enough to pay for it???"


Blogger Unknown said ... (6:09 PM) : 

I agree Scott. I love it when I can stumble upon a shop that shows enough but not too much. Thus luring me inside to peek and then ultimately make a purchase fueled by my intrigue. Instead you get A&F that you can HEAR and SMELL from the parking lot for crying out loud! Hideous.


Anonymous sherie' said ... (6:20 PM) : 

what we don't quite see is alluring


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10:28 PM) : 

I am in agreement across the board. Same for what is considered sexy in the States- the difference between US and any foreign fashion mag. Same for how people think it better to announce status over the practice of distinction.
Everyone knows that humans have either, jugs or balls what about showing or appealing to those things by way of the biggest sex organ - the brain?


Anonymous Designer t-shirts said ... (3:38 AM) : 

I've got a bit of thing for doors! Great post this.


Blogger Unknown said ... (7:37 AM) : 

I want my own!


Blogger Anne said ... (1:00 PM) : 

There's this small hat shop in the city I live in that's just like the last photo. It's been there for ages and I love wandering through the store.


Anonymous Lippy said ... (1:24 PM) : 

I've never understood the concept of display windows so large that the passer-by can see everything inside without even going into the store. The most egregious example of this marketing ploy is the windows of the shops in Rockefeller Center that were grossly enlarged in recent years to no good effect on the architecture.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (2:45 PM) : 

Scott, I am so amused that you use "tits out" its so not you, but quite appropriate, captures what you mean perfectly.....


Blogger Rita Finn said ... (9:33 PM) : 

These door images are exquisite ... couldn't agree more with your take on the hidden treasure. I must remember to peek within to discover their riches!


Blogger bird of light said ... (8:13 AM) : 

; )


Anonymous Christine said ... (9:08 AM) : 

I live in Australia and this store is one of my favourties! It has been for many many years. To look at longingly from the outside of course! But yes, definitely one of the dying breed of dignified stores. For the lady with dignity perhaps.


Blogger Unknown said ... (9:45 AM) : 

Seductive would be an understatement...If I walked by, I would have to go in to see what is inside. Very interesting observation!


Blogger Britta said ... (10:31 AM) : 

Isn't mystery, a not showing-off all at once,(but by and by), the very core of seduction?


Anonymous the concept dresser said ... (12:46 PM) : 

What is interesting about Barcelona is that you still feel the traces of dictatorship mixed with wild excitement of new freedom


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:56 PM) : 

yeah!!! its one of the two best shops in barcelona, dont forget SANTA EULALIA since 1843!!!


Blogger nitiz said ... (6:07 PM) : 

rightly said ..
i concur


Blogger nitiz said ... (6:07 PM) : 

rightly said .....
i concur ....


Anonymous Girlosophy said ... (11:46 PM) : 

The old fashioned stores like Le Louvre have built a huge reputation on the basis that they are a salon - rather than just a retail store - and offer personalised service honed over years. They know that by having you come back again and again they will have a business for life. They rely on discretion and word-of-mouth which is the best marketing there is.
They go for the relationship and not the one night stand, like other more, er, 'tits-out' stores.
There's a mantra for life in there somewhere...


Blogger Prutha Raithatha said ... (12:29 AM) : 

brilliant picture of the first door


Blogger Irene said ... (6:21 AM) : 

Your comperative description is so spot-on.


Anonymous iambloodthirsty said ... (12:12 AM) : 

Umm do they make as much $$ as "tits-out"?


Anonymous kristi said ... (1:33 AM) : 

Hahahaha I love that you said "tits-out," such an inspired (and totally true) metaphor.

I love stores like this, and it's so sad that more of them don't exist in the U.S anymore. Everything is so corporate here. Personally I love finding a hidden treasure; a place that makes me feel like it's mine alone.

Speaking of hidden treasures, Scott, have you ever seen American Pickers on the History Channel? It doesn't pertain to fashion, but definitely to this "hidden treasure" mentality. If not, you should check it out. I think you'd probably like it. You seem to be an old-soul like me.


Blogger Amy @ Varnish said ... (6:00 PM) : 

Truly beautiful store front. Barcelona is one of the most amazing cities in the world!


Anonymous Fara said ... (7:36 AM) : 

My grandfather bought all of his clothes in Bel and Cia, he used to order it from the canary Islands, best shirts ever,I am a girl but I have a Chaquet of his that I just modified to use as coat.....timeless


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:53 PM) : 

Oh Scott. You are the King!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:00 AM) : 

What a concept? Their door has a curtain over it...they don't have a display in the window screaming out at you to come into their shop. It gives a homey and comfortable feeling. I would appreciate that.


post a comment
Newer Posts Older Posts
Best Web Hosting