The Best New Fashion Places in the City
If you haven’t already, consider trying on these five recently opened clothing stores for size.
October 21, 2016
Across the Lions Gate Bridge in West Vancouver sits Simons, a 176-year-old Quebec department store transplant, now offering West Coasters its signature high/low mashup of fashion, accessories and homewares all with a local bent. Find an edited collection of international designers like Rick Owens (for a $3,200 peacoat) along with Twik, the store’s younger, contemporary in-house brand (for $9 marbled-stone earrings). Part of the family-run brand’s magic is how it sees fashion and local art as symbiotic. Kayachtun, meaning welcome, is a sandblasted granite relief on the exterior entrance of the store created by Coast Salish artist Jody Broomfield. And no Vancouver art forum would be complete without Douglas Coupland, whose giant Bow Tie sculpture fills the two-storey atrium as an engineering marvel. Lunch at Eve, Simons’ 50-seat café, which serves a French-Canadian-inspired menu (chicken fricassee, beignets)—with, of course, that local focus: views of Ambleside beach.
1060 Park Royal South, West Vancouver, simons.ca
Although creative director Hedi Slimane departed Saint Laurent this year, the brand’s only Canadian bricks-and-mortar store continues to star in the retail firmament of Vancouver’s new Alberni luxury district. Slimane helped design the space (which, at 5,000 square feet over two floors, is one of the brand’s biggest in North America) to highlight simplicity over elaborate decoration—all in a vibe that reimagines Art Deco for the 21st century. Shop the storied brand’s men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections, as well as accessories and footwear in a predominantly monochromatic space. Here, the clothes feel elemental and glamorous against slabs of luxurious noir soie, or black silk, and blanc statuaire marble with veining set in opposition to concrete. The dramatic visuals echo the simple, elevated drama of the clothes themselves.
746 Thurlow St., ysl.com
The Italian fashion maestro of all things sartorially bespoke landed in our fair city this past year. Another addition to the Alberni luxury district, the cult-fave boutique chose Vancouver for its first North American foray. “When I started the company, it was important to me that I put an emphasis on creating a beautiful work environment for my employees,” says Brunello Cucinelli. “The tranquil, serene environment of Solomeo, the heart of where we work and where product is created, allows our creativity to flourish. Vancouver is a city that values nature and has a respect for its environment.” The brand is known for classic, earth-toned materials like cashmere and suede, stitched together in a manner that celebrates tradition and an old way of life that still finds resonance today. Plus, 20 percent of Brunello Cucinelli’s proceeds go to supporting charitable causes and cultural pursuits—a beautiful brand with beautiful clothes to boot.
765 Thurlow St., brunellocucinelli.com
Nordstrom’s glossy, modernist three-floor space in downtown Vancouver is the Seattle-based luxury retailer’s third and largest Canadian outpost, at 230,000 square feet. Inside, a temple to all things designer prevails: Céline, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen jostle with exclusive collaborations and lines previously unavailable on the West Coast. Find local brands expertly dovetailed in, like Herschel, athleisure line Reigning Champ and jewellery designer Leah Alexander, while Pop-In@Nordstrom, the store-within-the-store concept curated by Olivia Kim, stocks a rotating selection of soap, sweatshirts, sneakers and more. While you’re there, grab lunch at Bistro Verde for haute tacos, burgers and elegant pasta dishes; Habitant, the in-store bar, serves up cocktails for liquid retail courage. On the first floor, Canada’s first Sugarfina boutique stocks sweet treats for on the go while Nordstrom’s storied beauty department continually adds new lines to its expansive mix (Sisley arrives on shelves this fall). The brand is big on customer service: perks include free delivery within a two-hour zone, men’s $2.50 shoe shines on the third floor, and in-store alterations and hemming.
799 Robson St., nordstrom.ca
The innovative menswear brand known for its clean lines and modern detailing set up shop in Vancouver earlier this year. The Swiss retailer offers attainable luxury with a men’s line that includes suits, jackets, pants, shirts, knits, denims and outerwear along with accessories like belts, watches and sunglasses. “The reception to our Vancouver store on Alberni has been great,” says Mark Altow, president of Strellson North America. “Our Swiss-style suits, shirts and outerwear have been best-sellers, but casual items including jeans and knits continue to resonate well with local customers.” For fall/winter 2016, the brand launches its “We Are One” campaign, which blends its premium and sportswear lines into a single collection targeted at the 22- to 35-year-old buyer, who thinks more in “outfits” rather than “categories.” Look for a focus on black, white and grey tech-forward fabrics as the defining look this season.
1108 Alberni St., strellson.ca