Shop Downtown

May 1, 2008

 

BANG & OLUFSEN

Bang & Olufsen’s new BeoVision 8 LCD TV boasts signature B&O sound quality, optimal picture technology, and a surprisingly accessible price point ($4,500). 1305 Burrard St., Downtown, 604-669-6011

CARTIER

Western Canada’s only Cartier boutique boasts a wide range of the legendary jeweller’s stunning pieces. Although they're known for their classic wristwatches, Cartier’s new lines feature modern designs like the wildcat-adorned Panthère and hardware-inspired Love collections. Want a piece of the famous brand without splurging on precious jewels? The store also carries pens, belts, diaries, and other accessories. 456 Howe St., 604-683-6878

Dunhill of London

Find formal and casual menswear, exquisite leather goods, luxury business luggage, and all manner of toys for grown-up boys (Dunhill's accessories are good enough for 007, afterall) at this London-based boutique for discerning gents. 408 Howe St., 604-687-7732

H & M

No more schlepping to the ’burbs now that H&M has finally opened its downtown location in Holt Renfrew’s old digs. Fellas, look for a collaboration with Comme des Garçons founder and head designer Rei Kawakubo this fall. 633 Granville St., 604-692-0308

Palladio

Look no further than Palladio for exquisite, custom-designed modern jewellery (pay attention brides-to-be—here’s where to send your fella). Its also one of the few shops in town where you’ll find traditional, timeless pieces (Rolex, Panerai) displayed alongside youthful, cutting-edge lines (like jeweller to the (rock) stars Steven Webster). 855 W. Hastings St., 604-685-3885

PREVIOUSLY HIGHLIGHTED

 

ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA

Ermenegildo Zegna has combined high-fashion and high-tech with a new lightweight Solar Jacket which recharges your mobile phone and iPod using a solar panel inset into the collar. Pacific Centre, 700 W. Georgia St., Downtown, 604-681-7988

SHELLY KLASSEN

Shelly Klassen’s feminine frocks, from her Blushing Designs label, are perfect for the marathon wedding season just around the corner. Visit Klassen’s sweet boutique (which just celebrated a first anniversary) at 579 Richards Street. Downtown, 604-709-3485

TIFFANY & CO.

These round, brilliant-cut diamond earrings are part of a travelling collection on display at Tiffany & Co. from May 27 to June 13. 723 Burrard St., Downtown, 604-630-1300.

ADIDAS ORIGINALS

Based around heritage designs, the Originals store carries riffs on retro Adidas athletic wear—think three-stripe track suits, preppy-chic blazers and polo shirts, and our favourite, the Safety line based on Japanese city worker uniforms from the 1970s. Don’t miss Stella McCartney for Adidas, featuring tailored shapes inspired by her ready-to-wear line. 848 Granville St., 778-371-9117

AMERICAN APPAREL

Consider American Apparel your one-stop shop for casual weekend wear. Not only do you get long, light cotton T-shirts cut for actual human beings (as opposed to short and wide children) but the store practices sweatshop-free labour. They also carry a great line of boy-cut underwear and cotton wraps that do double duty as tops and scarves. 872 Granville St., 604-685-5904. Other locations: 2242 W. Fourth Ave., Kitsilano; 3070 Granville St., South Granville, 604-484-9447

 

AQUARIUMS WEST

With imported live plants from Singapore and German Sera products to create the perfect biotope atmosphere, owner Jeannie Lister wants to move beyond the classic fish bowl aesthetic to create lush landscapes. Everything from dense reef aquariums to blue sand sifting starfish is available at the store, including the fantasy of tropical locales and imported relaxation. 1262 Burrard St., Downtown, 604-669-9249

ARITZIA

Brian Hill's fashion-forward boutiques began as an off-shoot of the family business (see Hills of Kerrisdale) and have become something of an obsession among women aged 15 to 30: they come for denim labels like Seven, Juicy and Rock & Republic and popular house brands like TNA (casual sweats that have since spun off into their own chainlet), Talula Babaton (preppy separates that are office-friendly), Talula (less office-friendly, more Friday night-friendly) and Wilfred (a line of refined, grown-up pieces). Small selection of footwear includes Havaianas flip flops, and Ugg boots. 1110 Robson St., 604-684-3251; Pacific Centre, 604-681-9301. Other locations: 650 W. 41st Ave., in the Oakridge Centre, 604-269-0892, plus three other stores in the Lower Mainland

BANANA REPUBLIC

The look is more traditional than trendy, more work than play. It's the place to find a crisp white shirt, classic black wool trousers, linen-blend chinos, ultra-soft pima cotton golf shirts and basic cashmere sweaters. Jewellery and buttery-soft leather handbags are more au courant, and at end of season, priced to sell. 1098 Robson St., 604-331-8285; Pacific Centre, Downtown, 604-688-1630. Other locations: 650 W. 41st Ave., in the Oakridge Centre, 604-267-3741, plus three other stores in the Lower Mainland

BANG ON

The revised, repackaged make-your-own T-shirt shop that we first saw in the ’80s. Match T-shirts with a decal of your choice, be it a rock tribute, a flashy graphic or a joke. 961 Robson St., 604-602-0371

THE BAY

Why are we sending you to Canada’s oldest department store? Because at the downtown store, on the fourth floor, you’ll find the best lingerie selection in the city. Look for designer lines such as Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Claudelle and Dim—deep discount sales are almost always on. On the third floor find Canadian by Design, a boutique oasis amidst the chaos. Buyer Ruth Ho has brought together an impressive selection of labels: Montreal’s Vex, Toronto’s Lida Baday and Logic, and locals Jacqueline Conoir and Tension. 674 Granville St., Downtown, 604-681-6211 and second location at 650 W. 41st Ave., in the Oakridge Centre, 604-261-3311

BEDO

At Montreal-based Bedo, even the most basic pieces have a unique cut and finish. With their asymmetric tops, knitwear and cool prints, focus is on the detailing, and the price is just right. 776 Granville St., 604-694-2336 and second location at 2997 Granville St., South Granville, 604-734-1390

 

BIRKS

Aside from the stunning collection of jewels (and the new in-house Van Cleef & Arpel boutique), a nice selection of baby gifts, watches, clocks and vintage pieces make Birks a one-stop shop for graduation and wedding gift ideas. 698 W. Hastings St., 604-669-3333 and second location at 650 W. 41st Ave., in the Oakridge Centre, 604-266-2301

BLUE RUBY

When Jennifer Aniston was photographed wearing a Chan Luu shell necklace, there was one place in Vancouver fashionistas flocked to get one just like it. Blue Ruby carries celeb-faves straight from the pages of InStyle, as well as local designs from Amanda Vogler, Andrea Waines, Tarina Tarintino and Mimi and Marge. 1089 Robson St., Downtown, 604-899-2583; 51D-701 W. Georgia St., Pacific Centre, Downtown, 604-693-3118; 2125 W. 41st Ave. (in Hills of Kerrisdale), 604-266-9177; 650 W. 41st Ave. in the Oakridge Centre, 604-269-2583, plus three other locations in the Lower Mainland

BRAVURA ALTO AND BRAVURA INTERIORS

Think Gastown condo. The look here is bold and contemporary, and the tailored silhouettes of the European-sourced pieces are ideally suited to living spaces short on square footage. Reproductions of modern classics like the Noguchi coffee table and Bertoia diamond chair are not-to-be missed. Bravura Interiors: 534 W. Pender St., 604-872-4880; Bravura Alto: 505 Hamilton St., 604-872-4880; 534 W. Pender, 604-872-4880

B2/BROWNS

When the UGG was popular, Browns flooded the shelves in every size and colour; when the mukluks were the “it-thing” they had the best selection in the city. Here’s where you find the most of-the-moment, fashion-forward footwear (even basic ballet flats or casual walking shoes feature kicky designs). 1112 Robson St., 604-687-3383 and second location at 650 W. 41st Ave., Oakridge Centre, 604-261-3071

BROWNS SHOES

At the new Browns flagship store in Pacific Centre find supple leather moccasins and textured and crumpled leather dress shoes for boys, plus all the designer brands (Costume National, Manolo Blahnik, Pucci) for girls.

CLUB MONACO

Club Monaco is the most reliable place for runway knockoffs, accessories like slouchy handbags, wide belts and hosiery, and work clothes that fit the dress code without sacrificing style. We're still mourning the loss of its lifestyle sister store, Caban, but the fashion show must go on. 1034-1042 Robson St., 604-687-8618; Pacific Centre, 604-687-5550, plus one other location in the Lower Mainland

 

DISCOLLECTION

Get a custom fit on your vintage finds at Discollection where owner Kimberley Nelson will tailor any item in her store to your liking. She’ll transform a muu-muu into a mini-dress, or take up the hem on a pair of men’s trousers to create a perfect pair of clam diggers ($25-50). Owner hand-sews the Kdon line of fashion forward street wear and cute dresses for women in the back of the store. 324 W. Hastings St., 604-331-1244

EL KARTEL

El Kartel is Robson’s outpost for all things designer on the skate scene. Funky tunics by Anzevino+Florence pretty much sum up the look L.A. scenester celebs wear on nights out at Teddy’s or Koi. Guys can get their kicks from the New Balance Super Team 33 limited edition runs—available only at 33 stores worldwide. The Pendelton-inspired plaid and stingray pair ($249) are especially noteworthy. 121A-1025 Robson St., 604-683-02171

ESSENCE DU PAPIER

Montreal-based Essence du Papier offers a kaleidoscopic array of exclusive wrapping papers for every occasion as well as all things papetrie: leather-bound scrap books, luxurious writing implements and chic organizers. Main Floor of Sears (Pacific Centre), 701 Granville St., 604-685-7489

EVROPA SPA

Some city secrets you really want to keep to yourself, but it would be pure greed not to let this one go. Brace yourselves, ladies, because this reveal means no more razors, no more ingrown hairs, no more missed wax appointments. At Evropa Spa, bar none the best laser treatment, and the best deal on laser hair removal, in the city, you pay just $89 for both bikini and underarm. Try it out: owner Dragica’s precision and service will fill you in on the rest. L03-955 Hornby St., 604-662-7557

FRENCH CONNECTION

It’s like all your favourite designers (Marc Jacobs, Stella and Pucci) wrapped up in one store. And no, it’s not Fred Segal’s (think much lower price points). French Connection hits all the right notes this season, good for both boys and girls. 1150 Robson St., 604-682-1978

HELENE BOURGET

Goldsmith Hélène Bourget creates one-of-a-kind Beaux-Arts fantasies. Her specialty? Remounting engagement rings for women who, like Zsa Zsa, never hated a man enough to give back his diamonds. 503-525 Seymour St., 604-669-5925

 

HERMES

Shoppping downtown wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Hermès, if only to drool. Lucky for us it’s the fameuse scarf’s 70th birthday, and she doesn’t look a day over 30. The Carre 70 comes in six different drawings in a new 70cm square and is made of “vintage” silk (it has a more matte texture to give it the patina of time). The six themes feature recoloured Hermès archived motifs or completely new drawings inspired by the House’s favourite yearly themes. (Insider intel: they’ve re-done Jeux des Omnibus et Dames Blanches—the very first Hermès scarf, edited in 1937.) 107-755 Burrard St., 604-681-9965

HOLT RENFREW

The reasons to hit the new Holt Renfrew store are myriad; currently on our radar is Edward Bess’s lipstick line. His Lip Wardrobe features 10 shades and five lip glosses in a comprehensive colour palette from nude to high-gloss red ($425 per lacquer case). When Catherine Deneuve and Kate Moss love it, who are we to argue? 737 Dunsmuir St., 604-681-3121. See other Holt Renfrew listings in Fashion and Kids.

GIA

Brimming with the trendiest footwear on Robson, Gia carries superstar brands like the nascent Jessica Simpson line and Naughty Monkey, makers of footwear for Beyoncé and Tina Knowles’s House of Dereon. Oh, and girl, don’t be thinking that they ain’t got nothing but shoes. Bags by Kimora Lee Simmons’s Baby Phat and Danish accessory label Friis Company guarantee your empty wallet will have a fashionable place to call home. 1193 Robson St., 604-623-3130

GRANVILLE BOOK COMPANY

The co-operatively owned, artsy-smart book shop on Granville Mall where you can find select novels, obscure magazines and the best books on art theory and design, theology, philosophy and history. Make use of the wide knowledge shared by the store clerks, who you can spot by checking to see who doesn’t flinch when the Commodore night club starts a-rockin’ upstairs. 850 Granville St., 604-687-2213

HARRY ROSEN

Impeccably-dressed, knowledgeable sales staff guide you through this up-market emporium's classic men's wear labels including Brioni, Canali, J.P. Tilford by Samuelsohn, Versace Classic and more fashion-forward lines like Hugo Boss, Armani Collezioni, Ermenegildo Zegna, Cole Haan and Dolce and Gabbana. If your budget is slimmer than an Etro tie, check out the Harry Rosen private label, a line of simple, high-quality wardrobe staples. Pacific Centre, 604-683-6861 and second location at 650 W. 41st Ave., in the Oakridge Centre, 604-266-1172

JEWELIETTE

One of our favourite shops, Jeweliette carries a wonderful array of bits ’n’ baubles both delicate and chunky, refined and gaudy. Look for one-of-a-kind vintage gold sea creature necklaces ($120) and the white agate earrings ($85) and necklaces ($200), both made in-house, as well as Lolo’s chunky, cubed swarovski jewellery ($100-$225). 692 Seymour St., 604-687-5577

 

JOHN FLUEVOG

Local shoemaker to the stars (Madonna is a fan) recently introduced two new eco-friendly lines: “Dogs” are completely vegetarian (using nonleather synthetic); “Earth Angels” have a tiny footprint not matter what your size—they’re 100 percent biodegradable. Ladies can steal a Hepburn look with the Listens line and Gents will become boot lovers with Future Angel’s leather pull-on boots. Women’s Fellowship flats and Operetta block-heels give a cute kick to causal footwear. 837 Granville St., 604-688-2828

L2

L2 has a range of lines for men and women, from Tavernitti jeans to L.A.M.B. Our highlight would have to be the selection of men’s and women’s Y3 by Yohji Yamamoto. Simple street wear inspired by ’70s athletic wear: the black tank dress with Adidas triple stripe at the hem is a must-have. L2 Sinclair Centre, 350 Howe St., 604-685-9327

LEONE

The setting is impressive: an Italian streetscape brought indoors, complete with soaring cathedral ceilings and an expansive corridor lined with exclusive designer boutiques like Burberry, Dior, Dsquared, Gaultier and Versace, among many others—there's even a cappuccino bar. But it's service that truly sets Leone apart. There's valet parking, after hours shopping by appointment, expedited alterations for out-of-town shoppers, and service is available in 11 different languages. Brava! 757 W. Hastings St., 604-683-1133

LOUIS VUITTON

Cinque Terre or Kits Beach, you still need a stylish beach bag and flip-flops. Louis Vuitton offers the “That’s Love” sequin-and-pearls canvas tote ($1,850) and their Damier Azur flat thongs ($620). 730 Burrard St., 604-488-0602

LULULEMON

Even if you’ve never done a sun salutation or downward dog you’ve seen your fair share of derriere encased in Lululemon pants. For the essential yoga and workout gear, in a variety of cuts, styles, lengths and colours, you needn’t look much further. 1148 Robson St., 604-681-3118. Other locations: 650 W. 41st Ave., in the Oakridge Centre, 604-677-1134; 2113 W. Fourth Ave., Kitsilano, 604-732-6111; 925 Park Royal Village, West Vancouver, 604-921-6125; Metrotown Centre

MANUEL MENDOZA

Manuel Mendoza, known primarily for his exquisite evening gowns and bridal dresses, is also an experienced haberdasher. While the raw silk burgundy number we saw in his studio might not be to everyone’s taste, he has access to a wealth of England’s finest wools in more traditional patterns: you could spend weeks just running through his swatches. 692 Seymour St., 604-681-0183

 

METROPOLITAN HOME

Vintage furnishings from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s are the lifeblood of Mary Watson’s fabulous little store. Each piece sports a label clearly stating its age, name, where it’s been and any previous damage. Selection changes often, so come prepared to buy. 217 W. Hastings St., 604-681-2313

MEXX

Mexx reopened in 2006 after a complete overhaul, and while we were never greatly impressed with their stock, we were blown away by their ties ($59 – $29 when on sale). In fact, we could hardly tell them apart from high-end Izod ties that sell for nearly three times the price. The men’s department is still on the main floor, so just ignore the stairs going up. 1119 Robson St., 604-801-6399

MIDTOWN

Sarah Graves opened Midtown in 2005 and has worked slavishly to bring in the best of the city’s reworked, restyled and refurbished. Death, Disorder is one of the store’s best lines and features rocker-style ink stenciled collage tees and v-necks ($45). 438 W. Pender St., 604-682-6441

NINE WEST

The go-to place for basic black pumps. Prices are reasonable and the service is always helpful. You will wear these shoes into the ground and they still won’t fall apart. 700 W. Georgia St., Pacific Centre, 604-899-9406. Second store at 650 W. 41st Ave., in the Oakridge Centre, 604-261-4222

PLENTY

There's plenty to love about this Vancouver chainlet: on-trend local labels in a variety of price points; Propaganda, their cute (and affordable) store line; shoes and boots by Irregular Choice, Fly London, and Camper, handbags by Montreal's Matt and Nat and at the flagship store in Kits, baby items by some adult favorites like Seven, Adidas, and American Apparel. Ladies and gents, you really can't go wrong here. 1107 Robson St., 604-689-4478. Other store at 2803 Broadway, Kitsilano, 604-736-4484; plus two other locations in the Lower Mainland

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO

It seems that Salvatore Ferragamo was a pretty focused young man: he entered the footwear business as an 11-year-old apprentice and opened his own store at age 13. Okay, we know what you're thinking: wealthy old lady shoes. But Vancouver's Ferragamo salon carries a very now range of accessories and handbags. 918 Robson St., 604-669-4495

 

SOPHIA BOOKSTORE

An honest reflection of this city, or perhaps any cosmopolitan centre ringing the Pacific, Sophia Bookstore inhabits that dimension of the newest global culture by being a self-described “multilingual media store that specializes in languages both written and visual.” They stock literature and magazines in Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish and German—alongside the best writing from these languages translated into English. Language learners will find books and kits for foreign language study and insightful non-fiction covering history and current culture (or subcultures) of Tokyo, Bangkok or Barcelona. The visual languages covered include design, photography, film, architecture, typography and tattoos. 450 W. Hastings St., 604-684-0484

SPANK

Spank carries an impressive selection of local favs like Chulo Pony, but owner Jana Sehic also delivers exclusive boutique lines from L.A. and eastern Canada (think Voom dresses by Joy Han and Montreal’s Kitchen Orange denim). And did someone say great shoes for under $100? We did, we did! Spank’s got the goods with styles by JC and Seychelles. Royal blue or fire-engine-red pumps, both in patent, are our picks. The vegan Matt&Nat bags deserve a nod as well, especially the Jorja Fox tote (try the canvas and dark brown trim colour way). 856 Granville St., 604-677-3202. Other locations: 1027 Commercial Dr., 604-255-1131; 2082 W. Fourth Ave., Kitsilano, 778-371-1305;

TIFFANY & CO.

Make a stop at the new charm bar at Tiffany & Co. No glass cases for these lovelies—all the silver charms are out on display for you to caress and coddle. Clip them on to your bag, cell, belt loops, or stilettos, or go traditional and wear them on a long chain or link bracelet. Your charm is bound to shine through. (Individual pieces start at $160.) 723 Burrard St., 604-630-1300

USED

Plucked from a warehouse of goods collected by Cherry Bomb owner Craig Doyleover the years, Used has one of the city’s most glamorous and affordable shoe collections. The racks are packed with delicate stilettos, flashy lamé platforms and must-have cork wedges and cloth espadrilles – one of the biggest selections of vintage shoes in the city. 831 Granville St., 604-694-0322

THE VANCOUVER ART GALLERY SHOP

The predictable coffee table books and postcards are here, but you’ll also find artisan jewellery (we recommend Elsa Smith and Andrea Russell), home accessories, clothing and textiles. Many of the products here—including clothing and bags by Smoking Lily are of a style you’d normally expect from Main Street. Very popular Astro Satchels are available here ($22-$100). 750 Hornby St., 604-662-4706

VATA BRASIL

In July ’05, the store introduced colourful, one-size-fits-all Brazilian workout-wear to the city’s women. Now husband and wife Mario and Ananda Gomes, both members of the Canadian diving team, have recently welcomed their new men’s line offering 100 percent polyester tracksuits, running shorts, tee’s and speedos. Look for comfortable fits in a variety of colours. 420 Richards St., 604-689-7325

 

VETRINA

What’s a girl to do when she’s needing diamonds on the soles of her shoes? Vetrina’s collection of Giuseppe Zanotti and Cesare Pachiotti awaits. (Listen up, brides-to-be: this is your chance to indulge, so forsake the satin-dipped monstrosities and cash in on your chance to bling out). Sure, home fragrance sticks are now all the rage, but Vetrina was the original purveyor of our fave Italian brand Culti. 525 W. Georgia St., 604-632-0132

WINNERS

The patient bargain hunter will do well here. Rifling through dozens of racks takes time and attention, but the savings—20 to 60 percent off retail prices—make it worthwhile. New merchandise is added daily, ranging from $5 tees to $350 trench coats, and though ladies may swear that the store’s name is a cruel misnomer when it comes to the shoe department, gentlemen can take heart that amazing, well-nigh impossible deals are to be had. The day we found a pair of D&G kicks on sale for $180 and Versace lace-ups for $250, it was love. 798 Granville St., 604-683-1058, plus 13 other locations in the Lower Mainland

WOLFORD

Since leggings are the trend item du jour, it’s only fitting that this is the summer to nab a pair from Wolford. They’ve even got a collection featuring Zac Posen. Two names for the price of one—it’s like a 2-for-1 sale! Try Zac’s opaque black with starbursts or opt for Wolford’s simple leggings, full length ($48) or capris ($50). 753 Burrard St., 604-647-0201

WOW INTERIORS

The selection at this mid-century/60s mod shop is a little hit-and-miss at times. One week: a horrifying velour sofa in blood-orange; the next, a beautiful teak dining table in pristine condition priced to sell at $595. The unexpected is exactly what vintage shopping is all about, fair shopper. 350 W. Pender St., 604-729-5957

ZARA

They are known for their spot-on (and thrifty) rip-offs of whatever has just pranced down a European runway. So all you need to know is that the Spanish chain Zara receives new stock every Tuesday and Friday. Some styles make one shipment only: act swiftly. 1056 Robson St., Downtown, 604-677-8489; Metrotown Centre, 604-484-6095

 

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