TIFF 2013 Insider’s Guide: Where To Get Dressed

TIFF 2013 Insider's Guide: Where To Get Dressed
Holt Renfrew (Image: courtesy Holt Renfrew)

Walking the red carpet means going stiletto to stiletto with styled-up celebs. Luckily, Toronto’s shopping scene has loads of luxury boutiques. Here are the best places to get decked out.

where to start the search

Holt Renfrew
50 Bloor St. W., 416-922-2333

If it’s designer and desirable, it’s probably at Holt’s Bloor Street flagship, which is why the store is always the first stop for visiting celebrities. During TIFFs gone by, Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Garner both stopped in; the star wattage has only increased since 2010, when Variety started holding all its photo shoots and interviews at Holt’s—visits by A-listers like Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Naomi Watts and Alexander Skarsgård are now routine. The racks are full of red carpet no-brainers like a plunging, deep red Gucci gown or a wildly graphic Peter Pilotto skirt (left), alongside homegrown talent like Jeremy Laing and such young designers of the moment as Tanya Taylor.

where the suits are special

62 Bathurst St.; 21 Trinity St., 416-260-9696

Gotstyle’s clubby atmosphere and convenient location next to the Thompson Hotel helps explain the menswear mecca’s popularity among celebs like Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig and Cee Lo Green. A new store in the Distillery District has a massive suit selection (we especially like the midnight blue tuxedo by Pal Zileri for TIFF galas) and a barber’s nook for last-minute grooming. The new store also makes the leap into women’s clothing, with party-ready dresses by Malene Birger and Rachel Roy, and cute clutches (like the one above) by Toronto’s Ela Aldorsson.

where everything’s special

The Room at The Bay
176 Yonge St., 416-861-4491

The third floor of the venerable department store houses a high-fashion enclave with an opulent array of designer clothes. The Room, curated by glamour-loving style sage Nicholas Mellamphy, is the only place in Canada that carries Roland Mouret’s pencil dresses, like the ultra-tight, ultra-flattering maroon number Emily Blunt wore on TIFF’s opening night last year. And the shoes—oh, the shoes. The country’s largest collection is now in its own space a few floors down, and includes pop-art Nicholas Kirkwood platforms, fanciful Charlotte Olympia heels and, of course, sexy Louboutins.

where there’s a perfect lbd

130 Bloor St. W., 416-925-0111

Pretty young things like Emma Roberts and Malin Akerman are devoted fans of the New York–based chain of boutiques, whose 2,200-square-foot Yorkville store is a good bet for the kind of hip, well-shy-of-black-tie ensemble that’s perfect for TIFF parties. (The festival’s dress code falls somewhere between Sundance’s laid-back indie outfits and the full-blown ball gowns that are de rigueur at Venice or Berlin.) Fur vests and leather jackets by Helmut Lang add edge to a basic LBD, and Herve Leger dresses (like the one at left) are celeb standbys and come in a wide range of colours.

where to dress down

Jonathan And Olivia
49 Ossington Ave., 416-849-5956

Most opening night parties don’t call for gowns. For the tank top and tight pants look, there’s this 2,400-square-foot shop—one of the first boutiques in Canada to introduce casual-cool designers like Band of Outsiders, Saturdays Surf NYC, Norse Projects and Creep by Hiroshi Awai. The women’s collection has a large selection of A.P.C., Rag and Bone and Isabel Marant, along with statement pieces like Helmut Lang’s washed leather jacket and Theyskens’ Theory Dirra Iplay silk print dress, which looks like a Monet on acid. The newly renovated menswear boutique, stocked with clothes from Engineered Garments and Our Legacy, is equipped with everything needed to clothe TIFF’s dapper dandies.

where handbags are built like cars

Porsche Design
77 Bloor St. W., 416-929-1800

The Porsche Design store opened about a year ago in Yorkville and has since become a destination for over-the-top awesomeness. Case in point: the Bounce shoes ($515–$550) have springs based on the suspension of the Carrera and are favoured by Sylvester Stallone and Jean Paul Gaultier. And then there’s our favourite red carpet–worthy accessory, the TwinBag (shown above). It’s designed to the same exacting specifications as the German performance car, is roomy enough to hold a tablet and comes in a range of finishes, from the relatively simple (Italian leather, $1,750) to the downright preposterous (crocodile and 18-karat gold, $28,900).

where there’s dark denim

682 Queen St. W., 416-603-3369

Sydney Mamane’s Queen West shop, an amalgam of dark woods and darker metal finishings, is just sparse enough that passersby might mistake it for a gallery. Inside, Mamane stocks a wide variety of Italian leather boots, slim-fitting dress shirts and the ultimate after-party essential: dark, hard-wearing denim. Here you’ll find United Stock jeans in an array of fits and washes ($135), any of which will take you through basically any TIFF event all week.

where to find frugal frocks

Craft and Guile
70 Yorkville Ave., 416-924-4369

Husband-and-wife team Chloe Liu and Jason Vallysedigh specialize in a cost-conscious selection of hot urban brands like Primary NY, Yumi Kim and Hartford. Stock includes anchor tees ($60–$100), a faded neon trapeze trench ($200) and the ideal late summer frock: a super-soft silk Alexia dress in trendy royal purple ($280). Baubles and statement necklaces ($40–$100) are a steal.

where the shoes are custom-made

24 Bellair St., 416-967-3668

Though only six months old, this men’s shoe boutique in Yorkville is already a hub for footwear junkies. Sleek derby boots by Saint Crispin’s ($1,690) will set off rocker-slim suits, while oxfords by Gaziano & Girling ($1,120) exude old-school sophistication. For the real star treatment, however, make like Frank Sinatra and go bespoke: $5,000 (and up) buys a completely custom-made pair formed to your foot.

where to get bedazzled

138 Cumberland St., 416-922-4248

Tucked down a narrow laneway, Augustina is worth a detour for the jewellery, which includes lines like Noir, Temple St. Clair, and Me and Ko. An elegant pair of gold cougar-head earrings by Anita Ko ($1,895, shown above) evokes vintage Cartier. And, for chilly September patio parties, there are vibrant watercolour scarves by Yarnz ($225).


Sign up for This City, our free newsletter about everything that matters right now in Toronto politics, sports, business, culture, society and more.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.
You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Big Stories

The Battle for Leslieville: Gentrification, opioids and murder in the city’s most divided neighbourhood
Deep Dives

The Battle for Leslieville: Gentrification, opioids and murder in the city’s most divided neighbourhood