Da Zoo, the new store from habitual boutique owner Peter Halpin, exemplifies the kind of cool, eccentric vibe that independent boutiques excel at and corporate-owned stores can never quite pull off. For the King West shop, Halpin teamed with another Toronto style stalwart, Jakub Szczepaniak, to find the right medley of established designers (Rick Owens Drkshdw, Vivienne Westwood, DSquared2) and lesser-known labels (Undercover by Jun Takahashi, Alexandre Plokhov and the insanely exclusive Geoffrey B. Small). A somewhat more reasonably-priced in-house line, 613 King, rounds out the mix.
Our favourite pieces have unique design details that, coupled with the taxidermy and oddities lining the walls, give the store a playful vibe. A pair of Maison Martin Margiela boots, for instance, have subtle reflective perforations that light up in flash photos ($1,250) and a rope-like scarf tapers into ends that looks like horse tails ($250). With Zeppelin pumping over the speakers and Bay Street wild-card Michael Wekerle as executive director, the shop exudes the swagger of an aging rocker—in the best way possible.