Where to Shop in Toronto: 5 High-End Boutiques Kanye West, Margot Robbie Visit While in Town
119 Corbo (where West stocks up on designer label items for wife Kim Kardashian) and Augustina are among the must-visit stops in the city’s posh Yorkville neighborhood.
Few events cause as much buzz in Canada’s cultural hub as the Toronto International Film Festival. From September 8-18, film fanatics will get their fix of features and shorts from around the globe (if history repeats itself, they might just take in next year’s Oscar contenders). Along with all the big-screen excitement comes a slew of red-carpet events attracting some of the biggest names in Hollywood, many of whom flock to Toronto’s swanky Yorkville neighborhood in search of the city’s best fashion wares. There’s lots to choose from here: a new Christian Louboutin boutique—the brand’s first Canadian retail store—opened at 99 Yorkville Avenue just in time for TIFF, while go-to spots like Holt Renfrew and TNT–The New Trend continue to offer some of the biggest selections of high-end labels this side of the border. Those in the know are veering off the beaten path to lesser-known boutiques in the area or to nearby Rosedale, where they’ll find small neighborhood shops big on style. Here’s where the industry’s top players shop while in the 6ix.
When Kanye West comes to town, he heads to 119 Corbo in tony Yorkville to shop for wife Kim Kardashian (lucky lady). The boutique boasts exclusive rights to cutting-edge, hard-to-find labels including Haider Ackermann and Ann Demeulemeester (Marion Cottilard sported a shimmer top by the latter at the 2016 Cannes Film Fest). An expertly curated selection of designers—Dries Van Noten, Rick Owens and Givenchy among them—attracts not only Kimye but everyone from Jennifer Hudson to Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley to Academy Award-nominee Catherine Keener, who stars in Unless, an adaptation of Carol Shields’ final novel premiering at this year’s TIFF (she recently picked up a Doffer Boys sweater). Style-savvy stars working the party circuit will want to pop in for a fox-fur stole from Dries (from $710)—the perfect fall accessory to glam up any look.
119 Corbo: 119 Yorkville Avenue; 119corbo.com
Located on a cobblestone lane in Toronto’s posh Yorkville neighborhood, Augustina mixes breezy, Boho-style pieces (think tops and tunics) with covetable accessories from Rebecca Minkoff, Temple St. Clair, Sydney Evan and more (Jessica Chastain purchased Evan’s signature ‘love’ ring at this colorful boutique). Augustina is the only place in the city to carry Anita Ko jewelry, whose gold-and-diamond creations are favorites among the Hollywood style set (fans include close friend Rosie Huntington Whitely—a staple on Ko’s Insagram feed decked out in the designer’s gems—Mila Kunis and Amber Heard, who donned a trio of necklaces at the 2016 Met Gala). Here you might run into the likes of Cindy Crawford, Rachel McAdams and Margot Robbie—she stopped by while in town filming Suicide Squad—but the real reason to visit is to check out some of the shop’s lesser-known gems. Owner Cristina Burgess has a knack for discovering up-and-coming labels such as exotic-skin accessories line TK15 and Baird Originals, a luxe sneaker brand whose founder Courtney Wise launched the famed Mukluk boot worn by celebs like Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Beyoncé.
Augustina: 138 Cumberland Street, Old York Lane No. 3; augustinaboutiques.com
Adjacent to the Four Seasons Hotel, Archives is a testament to Paris-raised, Toronto-based jewelry designer Jaleh Farhadpour’s love of all things artful. Farhadpour has scoured the globe for one-of-a-kind jewelry including Yeprem’s eye-catching “Claw”—a diamond hand-piece ($32,000) worn by Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez. The gallery-like space also houses more affordable pieces by Italy’s Delfina Delettrez—a fourth-generation Fendi—whose surreal “Anatomik” eye earrings start at $720. For TIFF, the store is hosting a special trunk show by Noor Fares and Fernando Jorge, each with a major celebrity following that includes Anna Kendrick, Emily Rossum and Alicia Vikander (she’ll have plenty of opportunity to wear even more red-carpet bling thanks to her latest venture—a production company with agent Charles Collier). While the focus here is on fine jewelry, those looking to stand out will be drawn to accessories like M2Malletier handbags, worn by the likes of Cate Blanchett and Emma Watson, and metallic shades by Linda Farrow.
Archives:1275 Bay Street; archivesltd.com
It’s no easy feat finding The Narwhal, tucked away near Yonge and Summerhill (hint: look for Terroni restaurant and follow the alleyway to the east of it). But this hidden gem is worth the search. The space is cozy and quaint yet boasts one of the biggest selections of labels in the city, including Hollywood faves like Rachel Comey (Zosia Mamet, Tracee Ellis Ross, Rashida Jones), whose legion jeans are all the rage, and Ulla Johnson (Mila Kunis, Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie). Don’t be surprised to see regulars like Hilary Duff and Rachel McAdams shopping here (McAdams stars in Brian De Palma’s Passion at this year’s fest), as well as in-the-know TIFF-sters snatching up some of the season’s most covetable items, like a pair of RE/DONE reconstructed vintage Levi’s ($385) or a decadent Yves Salamon fur coat ($725–$4000).
The Narwhal: 8 Price Street; narwhalboutique.com
Identical twins and Montreal natives Byron and Dexter Peart recently made it onto Fast Company’s prestigious ‘Most Creative People’ list, and it’s easy to see why: their line of luxury leather goods—everything from travel bags to footwear—has garnered a cult following among fashionistas and frequent travelers alike thanks to its form-meets-function appeal (Dakota Johnson was recently spotted carrying the label’s Logan vertical tote bag while filming for Fifty Shades Darker, while Matt Bomer—part of a stellar cast in Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven, TIFF’s opening-night film—sported a pair of Montoro derby shoes at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival). Want Les Essentiels de la Vie is carried at some of the world’s most upscale stores (Opening Ceremony, Colette, Selfridges, Lane Crawford), but their Want Apothecary retail locations have a more intimate, neighborhood feel. The first Toronto boutique, in Rosedale, offers edgy, high-end lines like Acne Studios and Tomorrowland alongside its namesake brand. New for fall is the Want Les Essentiels Piper bouclé backpack in moss ($795)—ideal for stylishly schlepping TIFF essentials from hotel to theater and back.
Want Apothecary: 1070 Yonge Street; wantapothecary.com