Tag Archives: Michael Kors

Bringing bargains closer to home

Outlet shoppers and bargain hunters, brace yourselves: you’ll soon be able to stay far closer to home when shopping your favourite brands.

In a few short months, a shiny new outlet mall will welcome to the GTA a variety of brands that have never before brought their outlet stores to Canada.

Toronto Premium Outlets is slated to open on Aug. 1st in Halton Hills, near Trafalgar Road and the 401.

An artistic rendering of the Toronto Premium Outlets.

An artistic rendering of the Toronto Premium Outlets.

Developed by Simon Property Group and Calloway Real Estate Investment Trust, the new retail hub represents the first Premium Outlet Center to open in Canada.

The upscale outlet mall concept has done well in U.S. markets and abroad, as Simon has continued to expand its roster of more than 300 malls.

Altogether, the mall will boast 85 upscale outlets, with at least eight representing outlet brands that are new to Canada. These include:

  • Cole Haan
  • Columbia Sportswear
  • DKNY
  • Icebreaker
  • Kate Spade New York
  • Polo Ralph Lauren
  • Restoration Hardware
  • Ted Baker London

With easier access to these and other brands, many Toronto-area shoppers may be taking fewer trips to the U.S. once the new shopping hub opens its doors. As a result, outlet malls south of the border may begin to see fewer Canadian shoppers browsing their offerings.

In particular, Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls – a popular destination among Canadians given its close proximity to the border – could see its traffic decline given that many of its retailers will now have Canadian locations.

Whether the merchandise offerings and prices are on par with the U.S. stores, however, remains to be seen.

Some of Toronto Premium Outlets’ other retailers include:

  • Banana Republic
  • Bench
  • Bose
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Coach
  • Dynamite
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Gap Outlet
  • Garage
  • Guess
  • J. Crew
  • Lucky Brand Jeans
  • Michael Kors
  • True Religion
  • Zumiez

In addition, the shopping centre will be anchored by the first ever Hudson’s Bay Outlet – something I’m personally curious to check out. Since The Bay has spent the past few years continuously improving the quality of merchandise it carries, an HBC outlet could be a good place to scoop up some high-end brands at affordable prices.

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Filed under Department Stores & Big Boxes, Sales & Deals, Shopping Hubs

Footwear, fashion and a glimpse of the past

One of Western Canada’s footwear institutions has made its debut in Toronto, with the unveiling of an impressive new Queen Street boutique that’s as rich in design as it is in merchandise.Gravity Storefront

Gravitypope, an independently owned retailer that began in the footwear business and more recently expanded into fashion, opened its first Ontario store last week. It represents the sixth store for the chain, with all five other stores located in Alberta and B.C.

Gravitypope is known for its wide selection of footwear brands, among them: Clarks, Hugo Boss, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Alexander McQueen, Toms, See by Chloe, and many more. The company’s collections of clothing and accessory labels are similarly extensive.

Gravity ShoesAltogether, the Toronto store carries more than 100 brands. This explains the vast size of the new boutique: with three floors of retail space, the store is quite a bit larger than most other boutiques in that part of the city.

Probably the most breath-taking part of the store is the vast quantity of shoes spread out across the main floor. Different styles of shoes and boots line the walls of the boutique, and are scattered across display tables everywhere you look.

A variety of men’s clothing can be found in a separate section on the main floor, and the second floor houses a selection of women’s clothing and accessories. But the shoe collection is clearly the main event in this store.Gravity Clothes

Layered beneath the merchandise are a variety of elegant design elements that add some serious charm to this boutique. The shop is decked out with chandeliers, antique mirrors, display cases and other charming artifacts that provide a look and feel reminiscent of times’ past.

Even the steps leading to the second level are nothing ordinary – they’re comprised of a 1930s’ Art Deco staircase, made of solid brass and round glass inserts, which was reclaimed from the Buenos Aires Paramount Theatre. Wow.

Gravity ChandelierThe store definitely caters to wealthier shoppers. Upon browsing, I was disappointed to find that most of the merchandise was too pricey for me to justify. Most of the shoes I saw were at least $300, and even most accessories boasted price tags of $100 or more. Many of the items I saw were upwards of $600.

Since the boutique is right around the corner from the high-end vintage retail strip on Lower Ossington, perhaps Gravitypope’s pricey offerings will resonate well among the shoppers in this part of town. But the store certainly isn’t for everybody.

Despite the high price of the goods, a visit to this unique new store is worthwhile – particularly if you have an appreciation historical design.

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Watch Station clocks into the GTA

Start counting the hours. A U.S. retailer specializing in fashionable, brand name watches is preparing to open its first Canadian store at Vaughan Mills shopping centre.

Texas-based Watch Station International, which operates about 20 locations throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia, is aiming to launch the new store on June 1st.

The Watch Station chain is owned by popular watch brand and retailer Fossil, Inc. In addition to Fossil’s own watches, the stores carry such brands as Michael Kors, Marc By Marc Jacobs, Emporio Armani, DKNY, Burberry and Diesel.

It will be nice to have a new destination for watches in the GTA. Aside from department stores like The Bay – where there are often too few staff members available to assist shoppers – there aren’t too many stores carrying a good selection of watch brands.

The new store at Vaughan Mills will be situated near the mall’s centre court.

Once it’s up and running, other locations could begin to appear in other Canadian cities, as the chain intends on expanding across the country.

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Fashion, fun and fierce competition at Mapleview

GTA fashion lovers congregated in the west end last week.

Mapleview Centre in Burlington hosted its 2011 style party on Tuesday, where attendees learned about fall trends and competed for the chance to become the Mapleview Style Icon: a gig that includes a $2,000 blogging contract and a $500 gift card for the mall.

The lucky finalists, including the winner, Krystin Lee, on the far left.

Of 80 semi-finalists who attended, three lucky finalists were chosen based on their savvy sense of style. They participated in a challenge that had them each spend an hour putting together a trendy fall outfit from stores throughout the mall, and then they modeled their creations for judges and guests.

Fashionista Krystin Lee, whose outfit included python print pants paired with an orange jacket, won the challenge and the blogging gig. (Congrats!)

Meanwhile, Flare Magazine’s associate editor of fashion news, Mosha Lundström Halbert, gave a thorough overview of the hottest trends for the season. Guests learned how to properly sport such trends as python print, menswear for ladies, and ‘naughty but nice’ looks.

Mosha Lundström Halbert, left, discusses trends for fall 2011 as they're modeled on the runway.

And models showed off sample fall outfits picked from the mall’s own retailers, such as Zara, Forever 21 and Guess.

With these and plenty of other fashionable retailers, Mapleview has certainly become a great destination for fashion since I was last there a couple years ago.  And some major retailers are taking notice.

Michael Kors, for instance, is set to open a location in the mall in early November, and a Victoria’s Secret location is also on the way.

Mapleview also has a fresh new look since I saw it last. Renovations in recent years have added a generous new chunk of space to the mall, and have created a modern and chic look and feel.

The style party was a great chance to rediscover this west-end mall. Hopefully I’ll find another excuse to visit the fashion hub again sometime soon.

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Bigger mall, bigger Holts

As Yorkdale’s expansion gets underway, the mall’s Holt Renfrew store is seizing the opportunity to embark on some growth of its own.

The store will be undergoing a complete redesign and an expansion that will bring 40% more retail space to the location: the new store will be 70,000 square feet, up from the current 51,000 square feet. The location will carry a more robust selection of its existing collections, along with a variety of new ones.

The new Holts store will anchor the mall’s new “luxury wing”, which I expect will include other high-end retailers such as Davids, Tiffany & Co., Swarovski, Coach and Michael Kors.

Holt Renfrew will remain open during the renovations. The expansion of both the mall and the store are poised to be complete by the end of 2012.

In the meantime, Yorkdale shoppers can expect some new stores to begin popping up in the shopping centre. J.Crew will be among the first, with its first Canadian location set to open at Yorkdale this August.

By the time shopping centre’s expansion is complete, a total of 40 new first-to-market and flagship brands will have landed at this major GTA shopping hub.

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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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A Michael Kors fan’s paradise

If you’re a fan of Michael Kors and you haven’t yet checked out the new outlet store at Vaughan Mills, take my word: it’s worth the trip to Vaughan.

I stopped by the store last weekend, and ever since, I’ve been kicking myself for not taking advantage of the great deals that this store has to offer.

Michael Kors handbags are my latest accessory obsession, and so it was no easy task keeping my credit card in check in a store full of these gorgeous bags, all marked down in price. I love the simple yet classy look of the handbags – especially the leather tote bags and the large Edie shoulder bags.

The Michael Kors Large Tote, in black; one of my favourites.

The outlet also has a decent sized selection of clothing, as well as some accessories and small leather goods, also discounted in price.

My only complaint about the outlet store is its location, which is a little too far from the city for me to be stopping by as often as I would like. Based on the crowds of people browsing the store on Sunday, however, it appears that many fashionistas are more than willing to make the trip.

If you appreciate Michael Kors’ designs as much as I do, I definitely recommend checking out this GTA retail gem.

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