Introducing: V, Toronto’s latest vintage shop—it sells everything, including the owner’s clothes

Introducing: V, Toronto’s latest vintage shop—it sells everything, including the owner’s clothes

Kealan Sullivan is Toronto’s queen of vintage (Image: Irina Luca)  

The place: V is a stone’s throw from Trinity Bellwoods Park on Walnut Avenue, and it’s the kind of store we’d hope to find off the 401 when making a pit stop at The Big Apple, lined with trinkets and knick-knacks that would make the Hipster Mermaid jealous. Owner Kealan Sullivan, who brought us neighbouring 69 Vintage and 69 Vintage Collective/Buy the Pound in Bloordale, sets the bar high, offering a carefully selected collection of her most prized high-end finds, tracing back as far as the ’30s, which she won’t sell in her other outposts. If we saw something in the store, it was available for purchase, because everything is for sale, Sullivan says, no matter how small or how decorative, right down to her own outfit (a floor-length embroidered linen short-sleeved coat and silk 1930s nightie). See inside Sullivan’s latest vintage shop in our gallery after the jump.

The stuff: The shop is Sullivan’s most ambitious and creatively driven project yet, because each month till October, V will rotate stock according to a new theme, and everything in the 400-square-foot space—from the fixtures to the garments—will be de nouveau. Until June 1, customers can shop Sullivan’s “Victory Gardens” motif, a well-selected mixture of essentials to wear to a summery garden party: every-floral-you-can-imagine silk shifts, lace on everything we’d ever want and more formal pieces like full-pleat big black dresses we’re sure belonged to a 1930s headmistress. No stone has been left unturned, nor will any be for future themes—1961 copies of Brontë books with family trees pencilled in the margins lie about, Union Pacific Railroad ads from 1944 double as art, and a crafty installation of gardening necessities by right-hand woman Maggie Garot served as the centerpiece we’ll be sad to see go.

Our favourite things: We loved a 1950s 100 per cent silk kimono ($525), a 1930s rayon wrap dress ($425) that’s already started a bidding war, and a gingham junior dress straight from 1950 for the petite girl ($150). The price points are higher, but worth it, since most garments have been restored for quality (not altered for size, though) with repaired seams and fabric. Plus, it’s about time Toronto got a shop akin to New York’s Amarcord.

There’s even a small selection for men that Sullivan says will grow with each theme, including—this time around—’50s bowties ($25) and, um, shovels. And yes, there are plants for sale too, in case the buy-everything-in-sight suggestion seemed like an exaggeration. A hint on next month’s theme: “Either all black or all white, for a totally different girl.”