STYLE MAP: My Favourite Dresses

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Joseph Vocics.

My Favourite Dresses (634 Yonge St., 2nd floor, 416-944-9207, myfavouritedresses.com)

Guess what? Just a few blocks south of Yonge and Bloor—otherwise known as Toronto’s high-end shopping mecca—you can snag a Chanel bag for a fraction of the price, or shamelessly pimp out your prized designer items to repair some of the financial damage previously incurred on Bloor.

For the sake of honest journalism, I chose to do the latter on my first visit to My Favourite Dresses, the consignment/rental boutique recently opened by jewellery designer and stylist Trisha Mishich and fashion designer Salem Moussallam. With a gold leather Gucci belt in hand, I climbed the staircase beside a shady, all-Lycra dress shop and ascended to a private showroom that looked like it could have been Christian Dior’s bedroom on the Right Bank—the pretty Dior bags on display and sparkling chandelier adding to my Parisian vision.

Although there are a few Louis Vuittons, a couple Chanels, Balenciaga, Gucci, Prada and Dior bags to rent à la Jennifer Hudson (or to buy à la Carrie Bradshaw) the main attraction here are the dresses.

From extravagant Lafée gowns with all the trimmings for a night at the opera to the Brose crystalline mini tube dress for a night on the dance floor, My Favourite Dresses is a one-stop shop when it comes to compiling a killer outfit for any occasion. I’m especially in love with the Hervé Léger electric coral and black striped mini-dress and the double-lined jersey cocktail dresses by Joeffer Caoc in lime green, lilac, navy and white. At just $50 to $100 dollars per rental, why would anyone ever choose to be caught dead wearing the same dress twice?

Salem shares the sentiment. He tells The Style Notebook why.

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STYLE MAP: Robber

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Joseph Vocics.

ROBBER (863 Queen St. W., 647-351-0724, robberstore.wordpress.com)

Shopping on Queen West one Sunday while trying to avoid the pending thunderstorm, I was relieved to walk into the sunny breath of fresh air that is Robber. The simple white-washed walls and minimal decor made all the pretty pastels and flowing dresses feel like lovely harbingers of spring. It’s no wonder that the duo from Vancouver, Erin Hall and Robin de Pelham, opened this boutique so they could bring a little west coast cool to this east coast kind of town.

Erin showed me around the store as we chit chatted about everything from the perfect T-shirt to the burgeoning population of savvy shoppers looking precisely for the class of pieces they carry, like the light, flowing blouses from Dace and the bright polka dot patterned jumpers from Karen Walker.

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STYLE MAP: Chasse Gardée

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Natalie Castellino.

CHASSE GARDÉE (1084 Queen St. W., 416-901-9613, chassegardee.com)

Named after the French term for private hunting ground, Chasse Gardée is as well-curated as its name suggests. The boutique specializes in recherché brands, such as Mona Kowalska’s private label, A’Détacher, and LD Tuttle, the masters in layered-leather footwear. Fans of Jeffrey Campbell’s popular line—and men who have a thing for Belstaff, the Italian military brand—will be pleased to find both resting on pedestals against the brick wall. Yet the most unexpected, made-my-heart-skip-a-beat find were the grey Jules Power sweatpants I had seen only a few weeks earlier on the runway. I’ve put them on my shopping list along with the candy-coloured oxfords by Dieppa Restrepo and the stunning yet understated black leather Belstaff doctor bag that called to me from one of the highest pedestals.

As I chatted with owner Daniela Bosco on the big comfy couch in the “living room” area of the store, she confessed that, aside from offering excellent accessories, what she really wants is to envelop her customers in the warm, hearth-like atmosphere of Chasse Gardée amid the area’s austere warehouse aesthetic. Her wish appears to be coming true. During our conversation, the sun shone in through the glass storefront, Daniela’s sweet dog, Max, lounged in the corner and friendly neighbours dropped in to say hello.

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STYLE MAP: Green Shag

Photography by Giovanna Castiglione.

GREEN SHAG (670 Queen St. W., 416-360-7424, greenshag.com)

You know those ads for Dos Equis beer? “The Most Interesting Man in the World”— the one who is sky-diving in the morning before performing neural surgery, then hosting a lunch/lecture in Paris at the Pompidou Centre, followed by attending the ballet in New York and rounding off the day jamming at CBGBs? Yeah, that man. Now imagine him as Pierre Berton.

You’ve walked into Green Shag.

The Queen Street store’s motto is: “Think Evel Knievel meets Cary Grant.” They dress men on Bay Street and those who like to experiment. They offer custom apparel from head-to-toe: bespoke suits, shirts, pants, ties, cufflinks, socks and boxers.

Victoria McPhedran, the creative director, and I sat down to discuss a little bit of everything last week. First, the suit.

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PORTRAIT IN STYLE: Andy Thé-Anh

Photograph courtesy of Andy Thé-Anh.

Andy Thé-Anh designs for shiny-haired happy people. His devotees expect careful finishing, polish and a pretty silhouette. Based in Montreal, Andy was recently in Toronto to celebrate the opening of two new stores (one in Yorkville, one in Bayview Village), and a successful Fall 2010 collection shown at LG Fashion Week.  He took some time to reflect with our Portrait in Style questionnaire.

Did you have a favourite model in your show?

“I love all the red-haired girls—especially when they know how to walk on the runway.”

What’s your favourite part of Fashion Week? Least favourite?

“I liked the venue this season, but I still favour the Nathan Philips Square—it’s more ‘grand’ in front of City Hall. The Allstream Centre is big and accommodating, but it has no soul.”

Do you read your horoscope the day of the show?

No.”

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STYLE MAP: Andy Thé-Anh

Illustrator Ayalah Hutchins was inspired by a geometric patterned dress from Andy Thé-Anh’s Spring 2010 collection.

ANDY THÉ-ANH (27 Bellair St., 416-921-2639).

Andy Thé-Anh knows how to take a theme and run with it. At his new Yorkville location (just around the corner from his old one), the yellow line is a prominent motif, running vertically down the walls and showing up on the store bags and press materials. (To further enforce the brand, the girls checking names at the shop opening wielded yellow highlighters.)

Andy told The Style Notebook all about the new space.

How do you want this location to be different from your previous Yorkville spot?

“I want to create an intimate space, less splashy, more polished, more minimalist and modern. I want to put the focus on the clothes and not the store decoration.”

What is the significance of the yellow line in the new design?

“It’s my trademark, my lucky charm and my favourite colour. For me, yellow represents modernism, urbanism and most of all hope and happiness. I always have something yellow on me—well most of the time…”

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STYLE MAP: Oz Studio

A stylish crowd at the opening of Oz Studio on Ossington

All photography by Natalie Castellino.

OZ STUDIO (134 Ossington Avenue, 416-537-6379).

At a recent media cocktail to celebrate the opening of Oz, his studio-cum-boutique, Evan Biddell was voluble and relaxed as writers and editors sipped mimosas, admired the spring collection, and took notes on their BlackBerries. Star stylist Peter Papapetrou adjusted the outfits worn by up-and-coming model Dajana, as photographer and Oz co-owner Joe Fuda snapped photos, sometimes lying on the floor to get the best shot.

Later that night, a bartender from next-door tequila bar Reposado mixed up something a little stronger, while Evan’s friend, a musician, played first the harp, and then a crazy looking electronic music box she had brought back from Japan. She was sweet, self-deprecating, and talented. Everyone loved it.

A couple of days later, the Style Notebook talked to Evan.

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