THE IT: J+O tops up its Topshop connection

Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling

Jonathan + Olivia expanded its specially-selected Topshop line last week, adding another layer of accessible high street chic to the Ossington Avenue store-within-a-store by launching the label’s final Kate Moss collection, along with additional items from Topman menswear and the new Topshop Make-Up range.

Check out some scenes from the media preview below, including the panther dress made famous by Ms. Kate herself!

Continue reading

STYLE MAP: Coco’s Closet

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Coco’s Closet (413 Jane St., 647-981-6870).

Nadia Trelle, a former associate buyer at Holt Renfrew, could easily become any girl’s new best friend. Not only is she très enthusiastic about all things fashion, she’s also a girl’s girl—which becomes clear within just a few minutes of watching her interact with her customers. She wants them to find the perfect dress, the perfect bag, or the perfect shoe, and she makes it her mission to help them succeed. (With a few Chanel bags on the shelves, how could she steer you wrong?)

Nadia’s consignment boutique, Coco’s Closet, is one of the first to pop up in the Bloor West Village area, after the recent success of shops like Fashionably Yours and LAB  Consignment in the Queen West and Ossington neighbourhoods.

What strikes me most about the selection at Coco’s is the quality. The Postcard winter jacket with fur trim has surely never seen a Canadian winter, and a beautiful pair of Burberry rain boots have certainly never splashed in a puddle. The finds that particularly caught my eye were a Balenciaga Giant clutch and a Missoni knit twinset that I had to reach out and touch. You know, just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

What can we find in Coco’s Closet?

“I take things that are a year or two old, unless, of course, they’re classic pieces. An Hermès scarf from 20 years ago is still relevant, right? Ideally, I’m a mid-to-high end store. I have a Christian Dior dress, Armani, Prada, Gucci, Robert Rodriguez, but I also have some Theory pieces, as well as premium denim like Sevens and Citizens. I also carry the odd piece  of Banana Republic. I’m really looking for up-to-date fashion. The boutique is 70 percent on the higher end of things, but I’m always looking for that fun fashion piece. If something comes along that I think is right for me, I’ll put it in the store.”

Why consignment versus retail?

Continue reading

SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Mexx opening

Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté, principal dancers at the National Ballet of Canada, at the launch of the Mexx flagship (2529 Yonge St.).

Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Last week, Mexx celebrated the launch of a fabulous new flagship near Yonge and Eglinton. The party took place over the store’s two levels, as media and celeb guests, including Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté, browsed the fall collection to the tunes of DJ Abeille Gélinas.

Click through for our favourite looks— both in the crowd and on the mannequins.

Continue reading

STYLE MAP: Ruins

Josh Reichmann and the amazingly named Mikey Apples, co-owners of RUINS. Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

RUINS (960 Queen St. W., ruinstoronto.com, info@ruinstoronto.com)

For those who don’t call a dog a dog and a spoon a spoon*, you probably don’t call a blazer just a blazer. Well, neither do Josh Reichmann and Mikey Apples. Their new concept boutique, RUINS, is the closest thing to shopping for clothes in an actual gallery space—minus the “do not touch” signs and the attitude. In Reichmann’s words, Ruins is “an ever-mutating, creative project that is finely curated.” Whether you shop at RUINS to pick up a rare vintage piece, to enhance your music repertoire, or to get your hair cut in the single-chair salon out back, the duo promises to deliver an aesthetic experience that will linger long after you leave the store.

*”The passion of an aesthete is absolutely inaccessible to the man of ordinary concept who calls a dog a dog and a spoon a spoon.” —R. Huelsenbeck in En Avant Dada.

How do you two know each other?

Josh: “We both come from the music world in Toronto: Mikey in the capacity of managing touring bands like Crystal Castles. I was in a touring band so our paths were always crossing. Every time we talked, we found out that we had common interests in aesthetics, design, art, and music, so we kind of jived on those levels. Touring and recording is one thing for me, but I’ve always wanted to station myself and get involved in clothes and branding this whole world that I had envisioned.”

How does one go from envisioning this world to taking the plunge and opening a store?

Josh: “I had some connections to the fashion world from the music world, through labels in New York like Assembly and Opening Ceremony. The main questions were: What lines do we want, what lines can we get, and where do we want to be? It was really tough to locate the perfect space on Queen Street—over here, it changes block by block. We totally lucked into this place even though—unluckily—it needed tons of work. We spent the next couple of months rebuilding it into the space we envisioned.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this from skeptics along the way, but really: Another indie Queen West boutique? Continue reading

SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At Magnolia’s BASCH party

Brandon Dwyer, designer of BASCH outside Magnolia Boutique (333 Eglinton Ave. W.). Story by Paul Aguirre-Livingston. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

In Toronto, there are few reasons for the style set to travel north of Bloor: family, friends or, in my case, Magnolia Boutique. As a precursor to tonight’s BASCH by Brandon Spring 2010 presentation at 99 Sudbury, designer Brandon Dwyer teamed up with shop owner Juan Carlos for a sneak peak at the collection last week.

A cult haven for well-to-do Forest Hill-iates, Magnolia has been around since November 2008. Juan Carlos’s background in fashion design (he was an aspiring designer two lives ago) fueled his passion to get great work noticed. “Instead of being part of the designers that compete with each other, I wanted to help showcase local talent alongside international brands, so my customers would realize that fashion is not just European or American style,” Carlos explains.

Among Magnolia’s offerings for the upcoming season (shipments arrive daily): fur faves IZMA, painstakingly pretty Lucian Matis, the print piper Zoran Dobric, and body-con dresses and perfectly versatile tweeds from BASCH.

“I was happy to pair with BASCH because we share a value: uniqueness,” says Carlos. “That’s important at Magnolia: We don’t get more than three pieces per style, and we don’t reorder anything, no matter how fast it sells out. We don’t want our clients to think that they’re unique, only to run into a friend in the exact same outfit.”

Click through to check out our favourite looks from the night!

Continue reading

SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Ruins opening party

Story by Paul Aguirre-Livingston. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

“Is this the Ruins party?” I asked my co-cabbers as we pulled up at the corner of Queen and Shaw. Bright, busy, white walls. Drinks, art, crowds. Nope, definitely not Ruins, but an art gallery. Then we glanced to the right and saw a small sign in the corner window in neat block letters: “Come around the back.” Which we did.

Like its art gallery neighbour, the selection at Ruins, a new clothing haven for the Queen West set, is carefully curated. From Opening Ceremony to American menswear line Loden Dager, the shop feels like the cool, younger brother of Queen West comrades (rivals?) JacFlash.

The vision, courtesy of owners Josh Reichmann and Mikey Apples, seems to be simple enough: Bring back the independents and the no-fuss retail environment, where the boutique is an experience, not a chain. (It’s so chill that you can even get your hair cut in the back.) There weren’t any price tags on the clothing—that’s how ironic I thought the duo was being—but it turns out that they simply didn’t have time to price everything before the opening.

We’ll be posting an interview with Mikey and Josh next week, but in the meantime, check out our snaps from the opening party. (And check out Ruins too! It opened to the public this morning: 960 Queen St. W.)

Continue reading

STYLE MAP: Over the Rainbow

Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

Over the Rainbow (101 Yorkville Ave., 416-967-7448, rainbowjeans.com)

I spent yesterday morning hanging out with the fascinating Joel Carman, the owner of Over the Rainbow, Toronto’s premiere denim destination for 35 years. Joel showed me all the nooks and crannies of the 4,800-square-foot emporium, which includes an alterations room and a mini version of an Ikea warehouse—only this one is stocked with pairs and pairs of Seven for All Mankind.

Legend has it that you built your denim empire on $2,000 made from your time working as a cab driver? Is this true?

“Absolutely. I graduated from university, travelled around Europe for a couple of years, and then started driving a cab. It paid the bills and, back in 1973, driving a cab in Toronto meant that you were kind of an outlaw. All the young guys were driving cabs. We’d get together after a night’s work to party a bit—it was this whole subterranean lifestyle. But I knew that I wanted to do something, to build something, and that I wanted to work for myself. One night,  I picked up a gentleman in my cab; we started talking and I found out that he did alterations. He invited me to go to a party with him and his friends. I said sure. After that, I brought him a couple pairs of pants to fix. One day he asked me to go into business with him.”

What happened next?

Continue reading