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October 19, 2023

Frida Las Vegas makes a colourful first impression

Fashion designer and artist Stavroula Adameitis’ new Adelaide store and showroom is a nostalgic blast from the past, viewed through the lens of her admiration for all things suburban and kitsch.

  • Words and pictures: David Simmons

When CityMag first visited the new Frida Las Vegas shop in Charles Street Plaza, the windows were still blocked out by plain old butchers’ paper stuck up to block sneak peeks from passersby who might catch a glimpse of Adameitis’ fully-formed retail vision.


Frida Las Vegas
Shop 24, Charles Street, Adelaide
Open Tues-Thurs 11am-4pm, Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 10am-4pm

Connect on Instagram and online.

The paper conceals a wonderland of neon and 80s glamour thrown through a time machine and impressed with the Adelaide born-and-raised designer’s love for Aussie kitsch culture; think kaftans emblazoned with Farmers Union Iced Coffee cartons, Passiona bottles, Gold Logies and Winnie Blues.

Having moved back from Sydney to Adelaide to open the store, Adameitis told CityMag she was excited to pursue the next stage in the Frida Las Vegas story with a bit of help from Renew Adelaide.

The brand itself is not a new venture for the artist, who has been designing her fluorescent ‘glamour kaftans’ for a number of years now. She’s dressed the likes of pop megastar Katy Perry, collaborated on prints with pyjama merchant Peter Alexander and even designed the interiors of hotel rooms at Ibiza hotel Paradiso.

But for Adameitis, she “couldn’t think of anywhere else” to set up her first showroom and retail store than Adelaide.

“I was happy living in Sydney, but I always thought maybe one day I might move back again. To be honest, I was really excited about the prospect of moving to Adelaide for reasons other than the usual settle down, have kids, adopt a ‘quieter lifestyle’,” the designer told CityMag.

“The more I thought about living and working in Adelaide, the more excited I got and found myself really getting enthusiastic about bringing something here that would only exist in Adelaide and nowhere else.

“People will create IP in Australia and then sell it to the world which is, to an extent, what I’ve done online. But in terms of a physical space, I couldn’t think of anywhere better. It just made perfect sense.”


The store itself was described by Adameitis as a “temple of kitsch” and is covered in 80s-inspired works of art painted directly onto the walls and embellished with sculptures made by the founder’s husband who also moved to Adelaide.

The racks drip with Frida Las Vegas’ staple glamour caftans which are available in sizes six to 26 – “very inclusive compared to most clothing labels” – that flow off the body rather than accentuate one’s shape.

“I’m interested in using textiles and clothing as a billboard, as signage,” Adameitis said.

“This is something that anyone of any age of any size can wear with fabulous aplomb.

“[The glamour kaftan] is probably what I’m most known for because people really love to swan around like some sort of fabulous, diaphanous pop-art Portuguese man o’ war down the street.”

Pop-kitsch glamour.

Beyond the kaftans, Frida Las Vegas has hand-made multi-coloured sweaters, t-shirts and earrings for sale. Prints of Adameitis’ artworks are also available, as are shoes from cult Brazilian brand Melissa and sweet-smelling mini-perfume bottles imported from Italy.

The store itself was set up to be more than just a retail outlet, with the founder telling CityMag that it is a “hybrid of an art gallery, a retail shop, a studio, a clothing atelier and a workshop space”.

“You’ve got the physical space to have fun and play with but also to interact and meet the audience,” she said.

“It’s great to have an audience online but it’s not everything. I really value the exchange and the interaction that I have with people when they’re interacting with an artwork or a piece of clothing or a pair of earrings.

“I thought it was worthwhile combining those different areas of my practice and putting them in one temple of kitsch.”

Her unique style was inspired by growing up in Adelaide in the late-80s/early-90s.

“I didn’t grow up on a beautiful property in the Hills or next to the ocean; I grew up smack bang in concrete suburbia,” she said.

“My formative years were spent taking trips to Bi-Lo with my grandfather and getting slabs of Passiona because it was cheap and putting it in the second outdoor fridge.”

We’ve never seen so much colour.

Her passion for unashamedly Aussie motifs came about after a stint living and working in New York City, when she realised “the level of creativity that comes out of Adelaide…was on par with what I’m seeing in New York”.

“But New York just has an incredible PR machine in the form of Hollywood movies. So I thought ‘what if that happened to Adelaide?’,” she said.

“Why do we always look afar when there’s this cultural gold ripe for panning and exploration and discovery right under our nose?

“That’s when I started to open my eyes and I found it quite charming. I stopped cringing and started laughing. Adelaide is the land of milk and honey Giant Twins.”

She said her designs were a mishmash of 50s space age design, Californian dreams, pastel colours, bold lines, the Art Deco era and the 80’s Memphis Milano movement.

“It’s not meant to be any one emblematic era – it’s a portal to another time that has a feeling of colour, warmth and optimism,” she said.

Where the magic happens.

Frida Las Vegas’ imminent launch will see the brand join the likes of vintage VHS merchant Vicious Video, vinyl emporium Rerun Records and second-hand threads retailer Sustainable Clothing Co. at Charles Street Plaza, giving shoppers an opportunity to “travel back in time” according to Adameitis.

“I hope that more like-minded businesses come to this area – that’s what it’s all about, having an area where a rising tide floats all boats,” she said.

“This is not a corporate precinct – these are individual people with niche businesses using their own sweat, equity and resources to make something different.

“We’re competing with Westfield and large multinational brands, so it’s a bit of a noble cause but I hope it’s something that can stick with shoppers and the people that come to these sorts of areas.

“I think Frida Las Vegas will make people laugh and smile, and what more noble pursuit can there be as an artist these days?”

Frida Las Vegas opens on Friday 20 October to coincide with Adelaide Fashion Week.

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