Tag Archives: Bloor Street

Putting the Gap back on the map

The Gap’s Bloor Street store has recently undergone a facelift, and the retailer celebrated the store’s new look with Toronto shoppers this week.Gap1

With the renovations just barely complete, the grand unveiling on Wednesday revealed a bright and fresh new feel. The main floor, which features women’s apparel and the Gap Body collection, is nicely spaced out, with a cluster of cash registers in the center of the space and fitting rooms at the back.

The upper level houses the Gap Kids and Gap Baby collections – complete with adorable pint-sized t-shirts and flip-flops – and the lower level is jam-packed full of men’s apparel.Gap2

Currently, bright coloured clothing permeates all three levels of the store. The Gap’s spring and summer collections are dominated by bold shades and fun patterns, from gingham, plaid and stripes to mini animal and insect shapes. Even the collections of shoes, belts and other accessories are far from neutral, boasting all colours of the rainbow.

At the re-launch event, hosted in collaboration with Fashion Magazine, shoppers sipped on cocktails while browsing the newest fashions.Gap3

For anyone who missed out, this weekend is the ideal time to check out the revamped store: nearly everything in the store will be on sale as part of a weekend-long promotion.

The store is located at 60 Bloor Street West, at Bay.

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A celebration, 60s style

Fashion chain Banana Republic is launching a new collection inspired by the popular TV series Mad Men, and Toronto shoppers are invited to help celebrate.

The new collection was designed in collaboration with Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant, and it certainly reflects the distinct 1960s-era styles portrayed in the show: think bold colours and patterns – including plenty of gingham and stripes – and ultra sharp tailoring.

The limited edition collection includes both men’s and women’s styles.

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On Thursday, February 28th, certain Banana Republic stores across Canada will host cocktail parties in celebration of the new collection. Participating locations in Toronto include Bloor Street West, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, and both stores in the Toronto Eaton Centre. The fun begins at 5 pm.

MadMen

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Miu Miu moves in with Holts

Designer fashion brand Miu Miu has opened its first Toronto boutique inside Holt Renfrew’s Bloor Street store.

The small new boutique is the first point of sale in the Canadian retail market for the international brand, which is owned by the Prada fashion house. The brand operates boutiques around the world.

The new boutique is dedicated entirely to the high-end brand’s collection of handbags and accessories.

The new section of Holts closely resembles Miu Miu’s other international stores, having been designed by Roberto Baciocchi – the Italy-based architect who designed many of the other Prada and Miu Miu boutiques.miu miu

The walls are draped with neutral-coloured damask curtains, and the space is enhanced by mat gold counters, mirrors and crystal display cases.

The space appears to be designed to let the products speak for themselves, and they certainly do. The bags, in particular – many of which come in bright shades of pink, red, blue and orange – stand out boldly in the new boutique.

Miu Miu joins Holt Renfrew’s already extensive roster of high end fashion brands, such as Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Marc Jacobs and Longchamp.

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An unexpected exit for French Connection

French Connection appears to have vacated the premises of its Bloor Street store.

Upon passing the central Yonge and Bloor location last week, I noticed signs plastered on the windows of the boutique announcing its closure. And already, the merchandise seems to have been cleared from the store’s floors.French Connection Bloor

The international fashion retailer has three other locations in Toronto, including Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Queen Street West, and the Toronto Eaton Centre, along with a few locations in the surrounding suburbs, so shoppers still have options for getting their French Connection fix.

But I was surprised to see the brand vacate a location in such a central and sought-after part of the city, well known for high-end fashion retailers.

The Bloor Street store was large, with two storeys of merchandise, and from what I could tell, it was usually busy with shoppers.

With rental rates in that neighbourhood more expensive than any other retail strip in Canada, however, perhaps the cost of operating the location became too much for the retailer.

I’m curious to see what will pop up in this coveted location next.

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Versace, H&M and elbow pads

H&M stores in the city were overflowing with fashionistas this weekend. Versace’s collection for the Swedish retailer was unveiled at certain stores on Saturday, including three Toronto locations: the Eaton Centre, Bloor Street and Yorkdale Mall.

I’ve never seen shoppers quite so eager to make a purchase at H&M. In fact, some were so eager to check out the new designer collection that they pitched tents and camped outside the Bloor Street location Friday night to ensure they’d be the first in the store when the doors opened Saturday morning.

At the Eaton Centre on Saturday afternoon, dozens of ladies waited patiently in line for their chance to see the Versace women’s line for H&M. The retailer fenced off the section, lined it with security guards and let in just 20 shoppers at a time.

Shoppers at H&M's Eaton Centre location eagerly await their chance to see the Versace collection.

Shoppers were limited to buying just two items each, but it appears that hasn’t stopped people from buying merchandise to resell online at sharply inflated prices in the days since the collection hit shelves.

At this rate, any remaining pieces in the collection won’t last long, so stop by one of the stores sooner rather than later if you want the chance to add some of these limited edition Versace items to your wardrobe. If the crowds are anywhere as large as they were on Saturday, you might want to bring your elbow pads.

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The North Face comes north of the border

Outdoor apparel and equipment company The North Face will be opening its first store in Canada on Bloor Street this fall.

Catering to those with active lifestyles, the company manufactures gear specially designed for such activities as yoga, biking, skiing, snowboarding and hiking. This includes apparel, outerwear, tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and other equipment.

The North Face was founded in San Francisco 40 years ago, and now operates dozens of retail stores in the United States and abroad.

In Canada, the company’s products are sold through such retailers as Sporting Life, North by Northwest and Sport Chek.

The new store, located on Bloor Street near Avenue Road, will be the company’s first direct-to-customer owned store in Canada.

I wouldn’t have considered Bloor-Yorkville the most obvious location for the store, given the upscale, high-fashion nature of the shopping district in that part of the city.

However, the high-traffic location will certainly give the North Face plenty of visibility among the affluent shoppers frequenting the area – and perhaps that’s the company’s goal as it begins boosting its profile in the Canadian market.

Keep an eye out for the large new store in the next couple of months — hopefully just in time for ski and snowboard season.

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Bloor Street braces for MK

The rumours are true: a brand new flagship Michael Kors store is coming to Bloor Street – and soon.

Speculation around the new store started spreading in February, and sure enough, construction is now underway. The retailer has also begun recruiting staff for positions at the new location.

I figured it was only a matter of time before this hugely popular designer popped up in Toronto’s go-to destination for luxury fashion and accessories. The new flagship will be located on the south side of Bloor between Bay Street and Avenue Road, surrounded by such high-end retailers as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Gucci and Cartier.

The area has been plagued by a seemingly endless amount of construction lately, between new condo buildings and Bloor Street’s beautification project. But construction is starting to taper off, and it seems to have been worthwhile – the “fashion mile” is looking more elegant with wider granite sidewalks and an abundance of new trees and flowerbeds.

So, it seems MK has picked a good time for his arrival into this high profile part of the city. I’m anxiously awaiting the grand opening of the new boutique, and I know many other Torontonians are too.

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