STYLE MAP: Love of Mine

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Love of Mine (781 Queen St. W., 416-368-4999, loveofmineboutique.com)

Anna Damelin’s infallible inner compass has made Love of Mine the coolest place to buy jewellery in Toronto. Her multi-faceted store is a collection of her favourite things from her heart to yours. Upon entering, a wall of colourful ceramic butterflies welcome you, while Alexis Bittar and Wendy Nichol pieces sparkle delicately in the distance.

A few of my loves? The kitschy pop-up, pavé diamond skull and bowtie rings that Anna brought back from New York, along with a pair of golden chicken feet by Swallow that are absolutely useless and irresistibly charming.

What’s the idea behind Love of Mine?

“I’ve always liked so many different things, and I just decided to put them all together. In Love of Mine, everything is curated—everything in here is hand-picked by me. I only pick things that I would love and cherish, and would have hanging on my own wall at home, or would wear on myself. It’s very personalized here.”

What are the most exotic and unexpected pieces currently in stock?

“The pieces by Swallow are phenomenal. She does the gold-plated heart paperweight, but not a cutesy heart, it’s like an actual biological heart. Stunning. The most unexpected piece I have in store right now is also from her collection. My husband thought I was completely crazy for having ordered them—they are two chicken feet, dipped in gold. That’s it. They don’t have a function; they don’t hang, they’re too light to be paperweights, they’re just there. And you know what? People love them! I keep selling out of these chicken legs. Who would’ve thought!”

How do you choose which designers are represented in the store?

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STYLE MAP: Independent Designers Outlet

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Independent Designers Outlet (1418 Dundas St. W., 416-238-7045, shop-ido.com)

The term “outlet shopping” usually conjures up images of frenzied women coming home from Buffalo, wearing five layers of Rodarte for Target dresses in an attempt to evade those tenacious Canadian customs officers. Back in Toronto, Lara Stephenson has, thankfully, given a whole new meaning to the word “outlet.”

The designer of Revolve Clothing, Stephenson is also the owner of the Independent Designer’s Outlet (IDO), which offers customers chic, reduced-price items from a wide range of local designers. And, although the clothes are overstock from last year’s collections, Stephenson selects only classic items that are easily re-invented, like the timeless LBD or a silk, patterned tunic from Dagg and Stacey. It’s a win-win: Shoppers get sweet deals on high-quality, non-outlet pieces and independent designers finally have a space into which their closets can overspill.

When people hear the word “outlet”, most of them think about rummaging through racks of ripped clothing—the word carries negative connotations. IDO is a totally different experience. Why did you choose to call it an outlet?

“I always wanted ‘outlet’ to be in the name of the store, but my intentions for IDO were different from what the term makes people think of. I think the main difference is quality. I wanted IDO to be a place where designers could sell their overstock, but at the same time, all the brands we stock make really high quality stuff—and we won’t have a gazillion XXS’s or one sample size of something. We usually get in a full range of sizes from our staple brands like Juma.”

What’s the hidden gem that’s in-store right now?

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STYLE MAP: LAB Consignment

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Ian Warong.

LAB Consignment (in the studio behind Silver Falls, 15 Ossington Ave., labconsignment.com)

The first time I went to LAB was for the store’s launch party: K-OS was spinning, flashbulbs were popping, and celebrities from the invite-only guest list were forming in cliques around the consignment merch on display. On my second LAB visit, things were much more low-key. I chatted with Lauren Baker, LAB’s owner and no-big-deal It girl on the backyard patio, which was complete with a ruby red BBQ and empty bottles of Veuve Clicquot.

LAB used to be synonymous with monthly pop-up sales that would cause spontaneous buzz and happiness in unsuspecting areas of the city. Now that Baker has opened her first-ever, permanent location, the waiting is over for deals on gently used, almost new designer fare like vintage Trussardi handbags, Rich and Skinny jeans, or a knitted Marc by Marc Jacobs summer sweater. The bad news? We may never want to shop retail again.

What does it take to make it into the LAB closet?

“The piece has to be contemporary, within two years, and it has to be in impeccable shape. The only mall stores I’ll accept are Club Monaco, Banana Republic, Aritzia (no TNA), and of course I accept major labels and designers. I’ll take vintage if I feel it’s on trend.”

What’s the difference between vintage and consignment? You chose to put a consignment store in the back room of a vintage boutique. Would someone walking through the space, going from Silver Falls into the LAB notice a transition of sorts?

“I’m so happy you asked that question. People have been calling LAB a vintage store because there’s a misconception that vintage is synonymous with resale and consignment, which it’s not. Vintage is a garment that is 20 years older or more. So the ’90s wouldn’t be vintage but the ’80s would. Consignment is just another term for resale—the majority of clothes in LAB are contemporary; most are less than two years old. [Silver Falls and LAB] have got a bit of everything in this space—furniture, vintage, and consignment. [laughing] We’re like a mini mall between the two of us!”

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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: 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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