Tag Archives: Yorkville

A big ‘night out’ for Toronto fashionistas

Fashionistas will be out in full force this Thursday night, as Toronto retailers partake in an international celebration of all things fashion.

Fashion’s Night Out is coming to the streets of Toronto for the first time this year.

The window display at H&M’s Bloor Street store promotes Fashion’s Night Out. This location, along with the Eaton Centre one, will celebrate the event with drinks, music and special offers.

The international event launched in New York in 2009 as a collaboration between American Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, NYC & Company and the City of New York. It now brings together shoppers, retailers, designers, celebrities and media at swanky parties and shopping events in 18 countries around the world.

In Toronto, the celebration will be permeating all corners of the city’s retail scene. Here are some events to check out:

  • The Toronto Eaton Centre is extending mall hours, remaining open until 11 pm, and will host a public fashion show at 7:30 pm in Centre Court. Check it out to see the latest fashions from Stuart Weitzman, Juicy Couture and GAP.
  • Many retailers at Yorkdale Shopping Centre will also stay open until 11 pm, and while they’re there, shoppers can also enjoy presentations on beauty trends, fall and winter fashions and personal style tips.
  • Holt Renfrew’s ‘Hot in the City’ street party kicks off in front of the chain’s Bloor Street store at 7 pm, and runs until 10 pm. But the celebration needn’t stop there – the store will stay open until 11 pm.
  • Nearby in Yorkville, there will be plenty of sales and swanky shopping events. Cumberland will transform into a runway featuring trendy looks from New York fashion week, compliments of Aveda Canada, and MasterCard’s Stylicity Lounge at Hazelton Lanes will feature complimentary styling and make-up applications, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres until 11 pm.
  • Queen Street West will also be buzzing, with celebrations and special offers at retailers such as Rue Pigalle and Preloved.

Check out the full list of participants here.

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Minimalist style, straight from Montreal

Montreal-based leather design house m0851 has carved out a bigger and better presence in Toronto’s retail scene.

The company, known for its high-end men’s and women’s leather outerwear, bags and accessories, has recently opened two new Toronto boutiques: one on Avenue Road in Yorkville, and one in Bayview Village.

The Yorkville store, which opened just before Christmas, replaces a boutique that the company previously operated just a few blocks away, on St. Thomas Street just south of Bloor.

With a minimalist and casual style, m0851 pieces are generally versatile and functional – practical, but fashionable. The design team behind the collection aims for quality and durability in the materials and construction of the items.

The entire collection is produced in Montreal – a refreshing detail in a world where most of the items we buy seem to be manufactured in countries with questionable labour practices.

Similar to the company’s collections, its boutiques are modern, clean and simplistic.

It has four stores in the Montreal area, along with one in Vancouver and a new one in Calgary. Outside of Canada it operates stores in New York, Paris, Belgium and Taiwan.

The chain is certainly growing, and as it does, more Toronto locations could emerge. Keep an eye out for a potential new street-front store on either Queen Street West, King Street West, or in the Yonge-Eglinton area in the year ahead.

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Fresh Canadian fashion arrives in Yorkville

Yorkville fashion hub Homegrown Boutique is expanding its roster of Canadian design talent.

The boutique has announced that for the Spring/Summer 2012 season, it’s adding the collections of four Canadian designers to its lineup of fashionable offerings.

The new lines include:

  • LABEL Clothing– a clothing line produced in Toronto by designers Shawna Robinson and Natalie Sydoruk, who focus on offering clothing that’s comfortable, sustainable and wearable.

    A piece from LABEL's Spring/Summer 2012 Collection.

  • Anu Raina – a Toronto-based designer whose pieces incorporate bold prints and a variety of textures.
  • Denis Gagnon – a popular Montreal-based designer well-known for dramatic collections that typically incorporate leather, silk and floral prints.
  • Melissa Nepton – a designer based in Montreal whose label got its start when she was cast in La Collection, Québec’s version of Project Runway, a couple years ago. Her collections are designed to be feminine, comfortable and practical, targeting urban career women.

Homegrown Boutique, which opened in July 2011 (A patriotic boutique), is dedicated to the promotion and growth of Canadian designers. A cozy little shop on Cumberland Street, it currently carries the collections of seven different Montreal and Toronto-based designers.

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A patriotic boutique

As U.S. and international chains continue to infiltrate this country’s retail scene, Canadian products are getting harder to find. But a new boutique in Yorkville is about to make it easier.

Homegrown Boutique officially launched on Cumberland Street last night. The boutique carries Canadian – and only Canadian – designer clothing and accessories.

Cozy and charming, Homegrown boasts a modest but high quality collection of fashions, including cocktail dresses, skirts, pants and blouses.

A few of the featured designers include:

  • Arti Gogna, a designer from Montreal known for her flirty and fashionable dresses and skirts
  • Sarah Stevenson, a Toronto-based luxury designer whose collections are ethically made and eco-friendly
  • Rachel Sin, a designer in Toronto with a line of cocktail dresses, skirts and jumpers ideal for a night on the town
  • Zoran Dobric, a Toronto designer whose pieces incorporate his own distinct, hand-painted fabrics

Homegrown Boutique offers a welcome reminder that Canada boasts plenty of impressive and innovative talent in the world of fashion design. Torontonians should embrace the opportunity to support this domestic talent through this patriotic new boutique.

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A facelift in Yorkville

Upscale shopping centre Hazelton Lanes is getting a much-needed facelift. The shopping centre is embarking on a $10-million renovation project that will revitalize the complex and its indoor courtyard.

Located in Toronto’s ritzy Yorkville neighbourhood, Hazelton Lanes attracts an affluent base of customers with its spas and salons, jewellery stores, the prestigious Yorkville Club, and such high-end boutiques as Davids and Hugo Nicholson.

However, the shopping hub has a look and feel that’s somewhat dated, particularly as modern new condo buildings, shops and restaurants emerge in the neighbourhood.

Perhaps this project will help.

The renovations will include revamping Hazelton Lanes’ indoor courtyard into an “Oval Square” modern piazza where shoppers can sit and socialize, have lunch, and check their email on wifi internet.

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The square will also feature a raised seating area that will double as a stage for special events, such as fashion shows and community events.

Other changes include a major expansion of Whole Foods, with the creation of a 50,000 square-foot “food emporium” that will boast both gourmet take out and dine in facilities.

Also, Hazelton Lanes’ TNT The New Trend boutiques, including TNT Woman, TNT Blu Concept and TNT Gallerie, will come together into a new two-level boutique.

The company that owns Hazelton Lanes indicates that the renovations aim to boost the capacity of the shopping complex, in order to keep up with rapid population growth in the surrounding community.

From the sounds of it, this revitalization could turn Hazelton Lanes into less of a shopping destination, and more of an overall community destination.

At a time when many other Toronto shopping centres are undertaking their own expansion and renovation projects – think Eaton Centre, Yorkdale (A big mall gets even bigger), and not too long ago, Bayview Village (Fashion for a cause) and Scarborough Town Centre (A shiny new shopping hub for Scarborough), Hazelton Lanes will have some serious competition for traffic.

I’m anxious to see what this facelift brings!

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Travel in style with Taschen!

Luxury handbags from around the world are becoming more accessible to Toronto shoppers, as new Taschen! boutiques emerge around the city.

The retail chain, which carries high end handbags, briefcases, personal leather goods and luggage, recently opened a new Yorkville location. Taschen! now has two Yorkville locations, as well as one right downtown at King and Yonge, along with locations in Montreal and Calgary.

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I didn’t recognize all of the chain’s brands when I stopped by to check out the boutique earlier this week, but I was immediately impressed at the high quality of its merchandise. Most of the labels come from abroad, such as Bree, Rimowa and Porsche Design from Germany, Bric’s from Italy, and Le Sportsac and Kipling from the U.S.

I particularly like the Bree label leather handbags and wallets, which are both stylish and high quality.

More Taschen! stores could be on the way, as the company is looking to expand into other high-end Toronto neighbourhoods.

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Vaughan gets bold with Betsey

New York-based designer Betsey Johnson will be bringing more of her bold, eccentric fashions to the GTA this spring, with her label set to open a new location in Vaughan Mills.

It will be the second GTA location for the ladies’ fashion and accessories chain, which launched in New York City more than 30 years ago, and currently operates more than 65 stores throughout North America. The first Toronto location opened in Yorkville in 2003.

Johnson has won awards for her creative collections, which boast bright colours and patterns, plenty of frilly feminine embellishment and some distinct retro inspiration. Johnson’s love of costumes clearly shines through in her designs, some of which look as though they’d fit well in a Broadway number.

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While some of the label’s items may be a bit exuberant for my tastes, I find others adorable. I especially like the handbags and some of the summery-looking dresses currently available at Betsey Johnson.

The new store will be the chain’s fifth in Canada, and it sounds as though more could be on the way. The label has an ambitious growth strategy underway, with plans to have 100 stores by 2012.

It’s a bit surprising that the chain is pursuing such aggressive growth right now, though, given that it’s run into some financial trouble in the past year.

In October, the chain announced that Steven Madden, Ltd. had agreed to take over US$48 million of Betsey Johnson LLC’s outstanding debt, and had made a new loan to the company. Under the restructuring agreement, Steve Madden also acquired the trademarks and intellectual property of the chain, and a 10% stake in the chain.

These drastic measures suggest that perhaps the company’s financial situation was more than a little rocky. But who knows, maybe this new injection of capital was all that was needed to get the chain back on its feet and to get its growth strategy rolling.

Only time will tell. In the meantime, I look forward to checking out the new Vaughan Mills location in the next few months.

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