Trend report: Best of fall style
Toronto is overflowing with shiny new stores, fresh-faced designers and an endless supply of irresistible stuff. Here, eight excellent reasons to shop the city this season
Reason No. 1
These local brands are booming
For city uniforms
The cultish clothing line by Toronto sisters Chloé and Parris Gordon channels the kind of easy ensembles you see on women in Paris and Milan. The best pieces are tough but polished—like distressed moto jackets made from soft faux leather. $920. Beaufille.com.
For skinny jeans
After struggling for years to find the perfect pair of skinnies, Lindsay Fernlund and Jess Shvili decided to design their own. The result is Iris Denim, a line of moderately high-waisted pants with just the right amount of give. Bad Reputation, a style in dark blue denim, was inspired by ’80s rock icon Joan Jett. $185. Irisdenim.com.
For perfect T-shirts
This new start-up sells one thing: super-soft T-shirts made from organic Egyptian cotton. The brand gives subsidies to cotton farmers in the Nile Delta, producing slim-fitting black and white tees in scoop-neck, V-neck or classic crewneck styles. $42, or 3 for $90. Kotn.co.
For everything bags
The designer behind this eponymous line balances a full-time job in accounting with mom duties (her kids are five and three) and an exploding handbag business. Fittingly, her pieces are as practical as they are stylish. The Monaco, her most versatile shopper, is a sporty tote with an optional shoulder strap. $275. Snehavarma.com.
For live-in lingerie
The Ryerson grad crafts delicate underthings for women who’d rather not choose between style and comfort. Her pretty bralettes, made from a soft bamboo blend, provide support without padding or wires; sheer mesh panels add subtle sex appeal. $72–$78. Maryyoung.ca.
Reason No. 2
Chic streetwear is not an oxymoron
Haculla is a new line of tees, harem pants and $200 hoodies emblazoned with gritty graffiti tags by Harif Guzman, a former street artist turned celebrated painter. Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor St. W., 416-922-2333.
Needs and Wants makes letterman jackets à la Friday Night Lights with an asymmetrical twist: each hand-stitched article has one leather sleeve in a contrasting colour. $425. Needsandwantsstudios.com.
Kollar’s new collection of artfully tailored button-downs and form-fitting joggers debuted at Men’s Fashion Week in March, and was snapped up by stores like Gotstyle and Model Citizen. Kollarclothing.com.
Reason No. 3
Korean beauty is big
The Face Shop’s silky solution is a blend of jojoba oil and rice water. $17. 220 Yonge St., 416-340-7377.
Nature Republic’s “mist essence” contains bee venom, a natural anti-inflammatory. Canadabeautysupply.ca.
Holika Holika sells microfibre masks infused with snail slime—a proven collagen booster. $8. 4300 Steeles Ave. E., 905-604-0087.
This rich salve contains a nourishing extract derived from swallows’ nests. $150. Holika Holika, 4300 Steeles Ave. E., 905-604-0087.
Amore Pacific makes this next-gen BB cream, laced with hydrating bamboo sap. $60. Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor St. W., 416-922-2333.
Reason No. 4
Far-flung goods have never been more gettable
Park and Province
927 Queen St. W., 647-348-3311
This new men’s boutique near Trinity Bellwoods (formerly an online-only shop) carries all the cool-guy basics, like Asics sneakers and Steven Alan specs. But some of the best finds are sourced from lesser-known manufacturers in Italy, Portugal and even Uganda.
Look for: Button-downs from Portuguese Flannel, which are hand-brushed for optimal softness ($165).
220 Yonge St., 416-304-9599
Kate Middleton solidified her status as the everygal princess when she posed for her royal engagement photos wearing the Brit retailer’s $310 ruffled white Nanette dress. The brand’s clothes are polished and practical, but also edgy—like J.Crew minus the prep.
Look for: The tailored Manola jumpsuit—a trendy twist on the LBD ($580).
2570 Yonge St., 416-486-7693
Derrick Adams sold fancy designer shoes at Holt Renfrew for over two decades before opening his own footwear boutique near Yonge and Eglinton. The airy space is stocked with embellished stilettos, elegant leather boots and flashy statement sneakers from a mix of French and Italian labels. Accessories include sparkly miniature clutch purses from Toronto designer Ela.
Look for: Parisian label Rodolphe Menudier’s electric blue pumps ($695) and $725 gold-plated sneakers (Pharrell Williams is a fan).
754 Queen St. W., 416-363-7676
Jennifer Shotbolt and Daniela Figliomeni are obsessed with Aussie and Kiwi design. The entrepreneurial pair flew Down Under for Fashion Week last spring and came back with a million ideas for their new Queen West boutique. Browsers will find flowy tops, frayed denim and other laid-back items from up-and-coming brands like Sydney-based Jennifer Kate and Auckland’s Georgia Alice.
Look for: Metallic tasselled loafers from fledgling footwear label Extraordinary Ordinary Day ($398).
Reason No. 5
Hometown pride is at an all-time high
We blame Drake, Toronto’s peppiest pom-pom shaker, for the recent explosion of city-loving fashion. The latest comes from Thank You Toronto, maker of five-panel caps stamped with pro-GTA sentiments—which doesn’t sound cool, but somehow is (we love the red-white-blue design). There’s even a philanthropic twist: for every snapback sold, the company donates one meal to a person in need. $40. Thankyoutoronto.com.
Reason No. 6
Fancy baubles come in bold new shapes
The Mono Earring
This pearl-capped ellipse from designer Sophie Bille Brahe is sold as a single earring—it looks best paired with a simple stud. $1,638. Archives, 1275 Bay St., 416-922-2229.
The Knuckle Duster
Toronto jeweller Anne Sportun crafts this delicate double ring studded with pavé diamonds. $2,510. Anne Sportun, 742 Queen St. W., 416-363-4114.
An off-centre moonstone cabochon decorates this futuristic brass choker from New York designer Pamela Love. $509. The Narwahl, 8 Price St., 647-351-5011.
The Screw Cuff
Giving new meaning to the expression “hardware”: Miami-based Miansai’s gold-plated cuff. $229. Elevator, 1273 Queen St. W., 416-535-9671.
Instead of dangling down, Melanie Auld’s elegant earrings crawl up toward the top of the ear. $95. Mint Boutique, 45 Tank House Ln., 416-368-6468.
The Shield Ring
Nordic designer Bjorg Nordli-Mathisen’s knuckle-spanning statement ring is topped with a tiny circular mirror. $343. Club Monaco, various locations.
The Ear Jacket
Jacquie Aiche’s diamond-studded spike rests just beneath the lobe, adding drama to any stud. $1,250 for single jacket. Gilding the Lily, 47 Tank House Ln., 416-360-5459.
The double-sided stud
Emma Watson and Rihanna are fans of Dior’s spherical earrings (the bigger bulb peeks out from the back). $470–$930. Holt Renfrew, 3401 Dufferin St., 416-789-5377.
Reason No. 7
Ink is in (real or faux)
Commitment level: HIGH
Forever Young Ink is the coolest tattoo shop you’ve never heard of. (“I don’t believe in advertising,” says owner Lee Baxter. “When you do good work, that’s your advertising.”) The place specializes in eerily realistic portrait tattoos, but celeb stalkers may want to mark it on their maps—Drake, Trey Songz and the Biebs have all dropped by for skin-art sessions.
522 Queen St. W., 416-792-5670.
Commitment level: LOW
The “two week tattoos” from Toronto start-up Inkbox look like the real thing, but the results fade in 14 days. The skin-staining solution, made from a South American fruit, is applied directly on skin over an adhesive stencil. From $25. Getinkbox.ca.
Commitment level: SUPER-LOW
Designer Lulu DK’s metallic “flash tattoos” create the effect of glittery layered jewellery—without all the jangle. The gold and silver designs disappear naturally in four to six days. $35–$40. Over the Rainbow, 101 Yorkville Ave., 416-967-7448.
Reason No. 8
Unisex = Sexy
Jo Malone’s gender-neutral Birch and Black Pepper perfume is spicy and woodsy, with a faint hint of cardamom. $75. Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor St. W., 416-922-2223.
Blanc de Noir’s shoes are made for male or female feet and named after Toronto streets. We like the Dundas boot, an ankle style with a subtle heel. $240. Blancdenoir.ca.
Rad Hourani is the king of ambisexual haute couture. This sleeveless jersey, from his ready-to-wear line, can be worn as a tunic or a dress. $545. Radhourani.com.