Costumier Rose Chong is strictly how I imagined. She loves the color pink, and wears a pink shirt, pink glasses and has a lightweight pink tint working via her hair. ‘It’s my favorite color!’ she beams. I’ve at all times been taken by her nook store on Gertrude Street with its spectacular leopard print façade, and have through the years tried to coach my mind to withstand the urge to look within the store window after I drive previous and preserve my deal with the highway. But there’s one thing about Rose and the world she creates… you merely can not look away.
Originally from the UK, Rose’s mom was a sewer. ‘I’ve simply at all times completed it,’ tells Rose. She educated as an apprentice, went to artwork faculty in London and labored as a dressmaker earlier than turning to costumery, and dealing for a theatre firm in Cambridge. In 1973, she moved to Melbourne, Australia.
‘I was lured by a man!’ she explains. ‘And I’m nonetheless with him!’ She’s speaking about Min Chong, the pair met when he was learning engineering at Oxford University, and so they moved so he may full his PhD at college in Melbourne. ‘He’s a world skilled in Turbulence,’ she says proudly. I ask if I can sit subsequent to him on a aircraft.
When Rose and Min had their first son (they’ve since had three extra), Rose determined to begin working for herself, and opened her iconic costume store in 1979. She labored within the movie trade for plenty of years making costumes earlier than the enterprise developed into the model of her store we all know immediately. This 12 months marks her 40th 12 months in enterprise – to have fun, she appeared on the information wearing a pink gorilla costume.
The store has at all times remained in the identical landmark location, however Rose and Min didn’t transfer into the residence above the store till 1996, which brings us to Rose’s good room – which is much less of a room, and extra of a pool. On. A. Rooftop. In Fitzroy!
‘I do all my thinking up here,’ she says. The resolution to place a pool within the sky is an ode to Rose’s mom. ‘At the time we were renovating, I lost my mother in the UK and she left me a bit of money, so I decided to put a pool on the roof because I knew it would make her very happy to see us sitting in the pool.’
Rose designed the rooftop in an all-blue palette. The floor is lined with blue astro-turf and seamlessly connects to the plunge pool. ‘You can see the whole thing on Google Earth’ she says.
The pool has turn into a central hub of celebration and congregation in Rose’s world. ‘I mean it’s not appropriate for top class swimming, it’s solely appropriate for sitting round, floating on the pineapple and a little bit of ingesting.’ Rose’s household use the pool on a regular basis, and he or she recurrently hosts ‘very productive’ workers conferences up there.
‘We once had a Christmas party where Min cooked satay prawns and everyone accidentally dropped the skins in the water, a few hours later we looked down and it was like we were swimming in a big satay soup!’ she laughs. The pool additionally served because the aquatic stage for a theatre manufacturing, the place a ship floated within the pool whereas an opera singer carried out. ‘Mermaids and mermen danced around it too, it was good fun.’
Rose by no means misses a possibility to get pleasure from her ‘good room’, and says it will likely be the right place to review subsequent 12 months. ‘I’m going again to high school to review fantastic artwork, as a result of I by no means really completed my diploma,’ she says. ‘It’s going to be two days per week for 2 years however on the finish I’ll get a certificates and can be so thrilled!’ I ask if the commencement certificates will go straight to the great room. ‘Of course, we’ll must waterproof it first’.