When it first opened in 2011, Melbourne store Franque was set up as a private retail showroom, housed in a beautiful 1930’s apartment suite in a residential building in St Kilda.
Sarah Hook’s carefully considered edit of European antiques, objets d’art and Australian contemporary art quickly made her secret showroom a firm favourite amongst local stylists, designers and creatives. It also caught the eye of Pitzy Folk, hospitality entrepreneur and owner of CAPI mineral water (and, yes, he’s also Lucy Folk’s Dad).
Last year, Pitzy joined Franque as Sarah’s business partner, allowing her to expand her concept significantly, and to move the business from an ‘appointment only’ salon showroom, to an impressive new retail tenancy in Toorak.
With a philosophy to source the ‘best of the best’, Sarah scours France and Belgium annually to source antiques and vintage collectibles, alongside covetable homewares and gifts including Saint Louis Crystal porcelain and flatware from France, Cire Trudon candles and Santa Maria Novella fragrances from Florence. Beyond this offering, Sarah works regularly with local creatives and mid-career Australian artists, hosting a rotating schedule of exhibitions and events in the space.
Franque currently works with 30 Australian artists, including Sally Ross, Kate Rohde and Anna Varendorff to name a few. ‘Art is fundamental to the Franque concept’ says Sarah. Sitting somewhere between a traditional ‘retail’ space, a gallery and a private salon, Sarah aims to offer a unique, intimate environment in which to view, experience and purchase Australian art.
In their enchanting space, Sarah and Pitzy also host unique private dining and events. Presently, the pair are working with Leonard Joel’s Auction house for a theatrical pre-auction event, as well as hosting corporate dinners to coincide with the Grand Prix and Melbourne Fashion Festival.
Sarah’s greatest joy in running her business is the opportunity if affords for creative collaboration. ‘Having a business really is a beautiful thing’ she says. ‘You always find yourself in thrilling company, and feel you are actually creating something together beyond your own individual endeavours.’
597 Malvern Rd
Open Monday to Saturday, 10.00am to 5.00pm.