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Store Guide: Da Zoo, a King West boutique with an impressive lineup of avant-garde designers

Store Guide: Da Zoo
Name: Da Zo0
Sells: Avant-garde menswear, womenswear, accessories and shoes
Contact info: 613 King St. W., 416-792-5050, da-zooo.com
Hours: M-W 10-6, Th-F 10-8, Sa 10-6, Su 1-5
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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.

See inside »

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Store Guide: White House Black Market brings its office-appropriate basics to Yorkdale Mall

Store Guide: White House Black Market
Name: White House Black Market
Sells: Work-appropriate clothing, shoes, jewellery and accessories for women
Contact info: Yorkdale Mall, 3401 Dufferin St., 416-789-3261, whitehouseblackmarket.com
Hours: M–F 10–9, Sa 9:30–9, Su 11–7
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Yorkdale Shopping Centre has become the location of choice for incoming foreign retailers (Zara Home, AllSaints and J.Crew each opened their first Canadian store in the mall). The latest arrival: White House Black Market, a hugely successful American womenswear retailer. The brand—one of Michelle Obama’s faves—is known for its slimming dresses and budget-friendly basics in a palette of predominantly (you guessed it) white and black.

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A high-end consignment store stocked with hip, designer clothing opens on Dundas West

(Images: V S P)

After more than two years managing Ossington boutique Jonathan and Olivia, Britt Rawlinson has developed a clear sense of what west-end women want to wear. To wit, V S P, Rawlinson’s new consignment shop at Dundas and Brock, is full of crisp basics and playful dresses from labels like Marni, Dries van Noten, Celine, Acne and Rag and Bone, as well as a tightly edited selection of designer shoes, bags and jewellery. Most of it comes from Vespucci Consignment, her mother’s 10,000-square-foot consignment institution in Calgary, with new shipments arriving regularly (“I go visit her and take all the good stuff,” says Rawlinson). Prices are around a third of the original value, which translates into $14 for a lower-end shirt; about $60 to over $150 for designer tops; and $1,500 for a vintage Chanel suit in impeccable condition. For those looking to sell, consigners can bring by items at any time and generally receive about 45 per cent of the final sale price.

V S P Consignment, 1594 Dundas St. W., 416-588-9821, vspconsignment.com

The Goods

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UPDATED: Target’s collaboration with 3.1 Phillip Lim hits stores on September 15

3.1 Phillip Lim for TargetFast-fashion chains continue to churn out a flood of designer capsule collections, some amazing and some total flops. Target’s fall collection by 3.1 Phillip Lim is one of the former. The 100-plus pieces, ranging from $20 to $300, are practical, modern and feel less gimmicky than a lot of designer collabs. For women, demure cuts and a neutral palatte with splashes of colour and print translate into some great basics: work-appropriate dresses, feminine blouses, versatile trousers and the perfect crisp poplin trench. For guys, we love the autumnal sweaters, leather jackets and moody camo print. The line-up also includes a bunch of cool bags and two shoe styles for men, but, disappointingly, no footwear for women. Not that the omission will thin the crowds when collection hits stores on September 15.

UPDATE: Heading into the fray this Sunday? Doors open at 8 a.m., but line-ups will likely form hours earlier. Our recommended plan of action: comb through the lookbook and make a list of your top picks; wear comfortable shoes; and, once in the store, head for bags and trenches first—we’re betting they’ll go the fastest.

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The Find: 10 pairs of low-heeled shoes that look as good as they feel

The Find: Sweet and Low Down

Stilettos are out. Taking their place, mercifully, are super-low, almost-like-you’re-wearing-flats heels. Here, ten ladylike pairs that you’ll be able to stroll in all summer.

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Store Guide: Annie Aime, a new Eurocentric boutique on Ossington from the owner of French Accents

Store Guide: Annie Aime, a Euro-centric new Ossington boutique from a Yorkville retail veteran

Name: Annie Aime
Sells: Clothing, shoes, accessories and skincare for men and women
Contact info: 42 Ossington Ave., 416-840-5227, annieaime.com
Hours: M–Sa 11–7, Su 12–5
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The latest arrival to the Ossington strip’s burgeoning south end is a colourful, quirky departure from the owner of Yorkville personal shopping institution French Accents. At Annie Aime, Parisienne expat Annie Mesenge emphasizes clever, avant-garde clothing and accessories that cater to the artsy set: favourites include zippered shoes from Italy’s Veeshoo and collapsable leather bags from Dutch label Frrry.

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Shop Talk: new stores and shopping websites from March 2013

Gerhard Supply, a menswear shop in the Junction, was one of several stores to launch last month (Image: Erin Seaman)

Opened


Target
After two years and more than a little controversy, the trendy mass-market giant finally arrived in Canada. Now open: locations in East York Town Centre, Centrepoint Mall, Shoppers World Danforth, Cloverdale Mall and Square One Shopping Centre.

For store addresses and hours, see target.ca


Tiger of Sweden
The popular European maker of slim-cut suits and minimalist separates opened a spacious flagship on Ossington Avenue catering to young professionals of both sexes. Learn more »

56 Ossington Ave., 416-588-4437, tigerofsweden.com


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Preppy Toronto label Pink Tartan launches its online store

(Image: Pink Tartan)

Pink Tartan, the upmarket womenswear brand by Kimberley Newport-Mimran, launched its e-commerce site today in Canada and the U.S. (It’s a busy week for Mimran, who will be showing at Toronto Fashion Week Monday night and likely also supporting hubby Joe Mimran at the Joe Fresh show on Wednesday.) The site offers free shipping across Canada (excluding some Northern locations) for purchases over $195. Conveniently, the cheapest item available right now is priced at exactly that.

The Goods

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Store Guide: Tiger of Sweden’s new Ossington outpost for hip professionals

Store Guide: Toronto’s first Tiger of Sweden store on Ossington

Name: Tiger of Sweden
Sells: Clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women
Contact info: 56 Ossington Ave., 416-588-4437, TigerOfSweden.com
Hours: M–W and Sa 11–7, Th and F 11–8, Su 12–5
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Though Ossington remains a mecca for vintage hunters, the neighbourhood now has its share of more upscale boutiques. The latest to land: Tiger of Sweden, whose slim-cut suits and minimalist separates have made it extremely popular in Europe. The label’s hip Scandinavian spirit fits in on the Ossington strip, although with garments targeted to the office and high-mid-range prices (men’s suits run $700–$1,000 and women’s, $450–$650), it caters to the area’s professionals over its hipster faction.

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Yorkdale Mall is getting 12 new stores in 2013, including AllSaints, John Varvatos and Zara Home

AllSaints is one of the international retailers coming to Yorkdale in 2013 (Image: Facebook)

Despite pricey renovations at Sherway Gardens, Vaughan Mills and Square One, Yorkdale Shopping Centre keeps strengthening its claim to the title of the GTA’s best mega-mall. In the wake of some high-profile store launches in 2012, six more global brands are opening their first Canadian location there in 2013. They include: American jeweller David Yurman; upscale menswear designer John Varvatos; British luxury brand Mulberry; U.S. womenswear giant White House Black Market; Zara Home, a home furnishings spinoff from the fast-fashion giant; and AllSaints, a fast-growing British retailer with mid-priced, sombre-coloured clothes for both sexes. Toronto’s first Ferragamo store is also slated to open at Yorkdale this year, as are new locations from Massimo Dutti, Honey and several others. See below for the full list of new and expanded retailers.

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Ports 1961 marks the closure of its Bloor Street store with a blow-out sale

Sadly, Ports 1961, the upscale ready-to-wear label owned by Toronto-founded fashion powerhouse Ports International, is shutting its Bloor Street womenswear store at the end of January. President Randy Federgreen told the Toronto Star that the company is now primarily focused on distributing to high-end departments stores like The Room at The Bay and specialty stores like Harry Rosen (though the majority of Ports 1961’s nearly two dozen global boutiques, including the Montreal location, are staying open). He added that the narrow shopfront on the Mink Mile was too small to accomodate the eight-year-old brand’s menswear collection—less of a problem for footwear label Stuart Weitzman, which is reportedly taking over the space. Shoppers who stop by to say goodbye will be rewarded: all pre-fall and fall stock is 70 per cent off, and the vintage collection is 85 per cent off. [Toronto Star]

The Goods

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Introducing: Gotstyle’s new Distillery District store, with clothes for men and women

Introducing: Gotstyle Distillery

Although Gotstyle’s new two-storey store in the Distillery District is still a work-in-progress, the stunning space—originally a stable building—already has the elements of a retail destination. Currently in soft launch mode, Gotstyle Distillery breaks from the menswear-only catalogue of the Bathurst and Wellington location with a range of fashion-forward women’s brands like Cuchara, Sashin and Babi and Rebecca Minkoff. The prices reflect the diversity of the wares, with some button-ups just clearing $100 and outerwear breaking the $1,000 mark.

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Introducing: British clothier Ted Baker London opens its first store in Canada at Yorkdale mall in Toronto

Ted Baker London is one of five reputed international brands to open its first Canadian store at the newly renovated Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto (the others are Loft, Kate Spade New York, Microsoft and Tesla Motors). The label started as a men’s shirt specialist in Glasgow in the late 80s, but has since expanded into accessories, shoes and women’s apparel. The collections for both genders—as well as the store’s Canadian-wilderness-meets-British-countryside decor—show a fondness for colour and pattern, subtle British-inspired details and a sharp sense of humour.

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Introducing: Gravity Pope, a massive Toronto location from the popular Western Canadian shoe boutique

Gravity Pope, a trend-focused shoe store much beloved in Western Canada, opened its first Toronto location on Friday at Queen and Ossington. Although the soaring two-level space has good-sized clothing sections for men and women, the main draw is the rows upon rows of shoes dominating the main floor. With a wide-ranging portfolio of brands—including a reasonably priced house label as well as Converse, Repetto, Camper, Cacharel and Marni—the footwear selection caters to everyone from the hipster set to fashion-conscious moms and dads and glamour girls looking for night-out heels.

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The Find: 10 winter coats that are every bit as stylish as they are warm

There’s no way around it: winter is coming, which means it’s time to stop browsing and make a decision about which winter coat to invest in this year. Here are our picks for the season’s top cold-weather toppers for men and women, each of which will help you stay cozy without sacrificing style.

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