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Rebecca Breethe stylist’s closet
Party time and nothing to wear? Clever West Siders know to head straight to Rebecca Rawlinson’s modern womenswear boutique. The former Holt Renfrew stylist has a Parisian-pretty sensibility (the warm-white boutique invites you to stay awhile) but stocks lines from around the globe like Sydney-based Camilla + Marc (structured dresses and tops) and NYC’s 10 Crosby by Derek Lam (street-smart separates). Statement jewellery by Lulu Frost, beauty products by Tocca, coffee-table books celebrating iconic designers, and the most gorgeous, locally made Clutches of Karma add je-ne-sais-quoi to your ensemble.
3680 W. Fourth Ave., 604-714-0085. Rebeccabree.com
Secret Locationrevival of glam
Years after it shuttered we’re still mourning the loss of Alberni Street’s concept lifestyle store Bruce, so how thrilling that Carey Melnichuk has revived the notion at her (rather ostentatious, given the name) Secret Location in Gastown. The lineup of labels is provocative (Peachoo & Krejberg, Negarin, Gio Diev), and with special events like a book signing with Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist, and an attached restaurant where alchemist chef Jefferson Alvarez plates modernist cuisine, the experience is utterly transporting.
1 Water St., 604-685-0090. Secretlocation.ca
Baracos + Brand gentleman’s helper
The ready-to-wear collections here are West Van luxe-Joe’s Jeans, waxed cotton Bugatti bomber jackets, sweet linen shirts from Ingram-but it’s their almost-bespoke suiting offers that are worth a trip over the bridge. If your build doesn’t exactly match Alexander Skarsgård’s then trust us: a made-to-measure suit ($795) will change your life. Head-scratchingly-low prices-$999 for a Hugo Boss number-are found throughout the shop, which means you don’t need to pump and dump mining stocks to look killer.
1411 Bellevue Ave., West Van, 604-925-1812. Baracosandbrand.com
Dacereal deal atelier
Local design darling Dace Moore’s line of modern clothing might be found in shops around Canada, Europe, and Japan, but her new East Vancouver studio concept offers something wholly different. With her husband’s woodworking shop right next door (his tables are co-opted for clothing displays), Moore can now make patterns and sew samples in plain view. Drop by anytime for cancelled samples or one-off pieces made with leftover fabric-seasonal lines are still only available at select stores.
725 E. Hastings St., 604-694-2442. Dace.ca
The Board of Tradethe incubator
The no-frills Base Range line of underwear and swimwear made with soft, sustainable material is reason enough to rush to The Board of Trade, but we also love Grain Design’s colourful Chi-Chi textile necklaces, modern swim trunks for men by Franks Australia, and the in-house women’s collection Wu + Sen. The shop supports all manner of emerging designers, so alongside smartly cut neutrals you might find pottery by Brooklyn-based Suzanne Sullivan or handcrafted letter openers by Miller Woodturning.
227 Union St. and 206 Carrall St., 778-318-9697. Boardoftradeco.com
Marshall’s discount destination
Deep in industrial territory, TJX Companies (owners of Winners, TJ Maxx, HomeSense-aka the holy grail of discount shopping) recently opened the city’s first Marshall’s. On any given day you might find a Trina Turk cover-up lifted straight from her eponymous Palm Springs boutique (for a quarter of the price) or mini-me Tod’s loafers for the kindergarten crowd well below market value. Look for the homewares department launch in late August.
8137 Ontario St., 604-322-1739. Marshallscanada.ca
Adore Fashions label cradle
For a lucky few, the transition to Gucci happens after making partner or closing a big deal-now, it’s for celebrating the first day of preschool. Adore Fashions’ South Granville shop stocks designer lines-Dior, Prada, Burberry-that wouldn’t feel out of place in the window of neighbours Boboli and Bacci. Here they come in pintsize versions only.
2814 Granville St., 604-620-8212. Adorefashions.com
Ella + Elliotthe modern nursery
Throw Junior into his Ugg booties and trot downtown to this Toronto-based kids boutique where bed, bath, and potty converge. In here, space-age egg (high) chairs by Bloom and rockers with tweedy fabric-straight out of Mad Men Central Casting-rule the modern nursery. Classic handcrafted Blablah dolls make great gifts for new additions.
126 W. Hastings St., 604-563-1845. Ellaandelliot.com
Heather Ross Natural Eclecticcoastal bohemia
Long before West Elm, Anthropologie, and The Cross came to town, there was Heather Ross in her tiny South Granville shop offering up repurposed, nature-inspired, European market furnishings and home accessories-her signature pastiche well before it became on-trend. In new digs, Heather Ross Natural Eclectic continues to evoke her artist’s roots by fusing nature finds, modern ceramics, globetrotting treasures and her own paintings for a seaside flea market/art gallery vibe that’s anything but contrived. This fall, look for Ross’s new line of hand-finished birch flooring for Kentwood Floors.
2170 Fir St., 604-738-4284. Heatherross.ca
Crate & Barrelsimple splendour
What makes an international city? The Olympics? Bike lanes? A nice airport? Sure all those things, but also getting the CB2 (1277 Robson St., 604-669-9797. Cb2.com) brand of cutting edge design for small spaces before Seattle or Boston. It’s so swell that we forgive recently opened sister Crate & Barrel for opening in Calgary before arriving at Oakridge this past March. And with its new Crocheted Apple Outdoor Poof ($219), we can say with confidence that it’s one of the coolest places for outdoor furniture in the city.
650 W. 41st Ave., 604-269-4300. Crateandbarrel.ca
For the tactile shopper (or the nap enthusiast), the brick-walled Pisolino linen boutique is a dream. Think super-soft llama wool throws in sophisticated hues (oyster, dusky blue, warm grey), oversize down pillows, and luxurious Italian cotton sheets manufactured here in Vancouver. Chic accessories for your waking hours are here, too: like elegant mercury glass vases and soy candles with fresh scents.
1068 Homer St., Yaletown, 604-682-1688. Pisolino.com
L’Atelier Homevintage safari
The vibe is French shabby chic meets Alice in Wonderland (think white puppy-dog-tail coat hooks) at L’Atelier Home, where a mashup of new, vintage, and locally made goods (all sharing space with Artemisia Clothing boutique) is surprisingly well priced given its Gastown perch. If you can imagine it, this boutique will source your dream furniture piece, which takes them treasure hunting in flea markets, auctions, estate sales, and even Grandma’s living room to doggedly track it down for you before upcycling it with a paint and fabric makeover. They happily provide décor advice-for free-but stay tuned for the launch of their staging and room design service this fall.
452 W. Cordova St., 604-684-9933. Latelierhome.com
Livingspacefriendly high design
Somewhere along the way, Vancouverites accepted that purchasing high-end designer furniture meant putting up with condescending sales staff-or worse, being completely ignored. The relaxed gang at Livingspace manage to make you feel like you’re doing them the favour with your Moooi and Minotti purchases. The formula clearly works, as they’ve expanded to a cavernous 19,000-square-foot Omer Arbel-designed concrete paean to modern architecture in the Armoury District. (Arbel, he of the internationally celebrated Bocci lights, has a studio on the top floor of the same building.) In fact, you might feel so at home that you’ll be tempted to fire up the burners in their new Italian Arclinea kitchen studio, the first in Canada.
1706 W. First Ave., 604-683-1116. Livingspace.com
Mint Interiorsirreverent home décor
While Mint’s first retail space continues to serve up an eclectic mix of furniture and modern homewares from around the world (it’s still the only place you’ll find Jonathan Adler furniture in B.C.), its new second iteration, Mint Interiors, is all about custom upholstery, lighting, and wall art. The 2,500-square-foot space-conveniently around the corner and across the street-is where design-shop pilgrims with a touch of irreverence head for bench-made sofas and chairs and, starting this summer, an exclusive wallpaper line from the Netherlands called NLXL (imagine wood planks actually glued onto paper).
1880 Fir St., 604-568-0422. Mintinteriors.ca
Nineteen Ten Home Boutiqueapartment therapy
Here’s a one-stop shop for vintage and modern décor and last-minute gift inspiration. Edison-era cage lights from $175 and Eames-style chairs from $100 add eclectic elegance for a minimalist fee. Rabbit in Wonderland candlestick holders, Roost’s Dachshund salt and pepper shakers, the This Is East Van coffee-table book, Canadiana shield pendants by Refine Design, and mischievously chic toys for kids (see Flip Dolls by Fidoodle) mean you’ll find the perfect hostess/wedding/baby shower gift for that finicky friend.
4366 Main St., 604-558-0210. Nineteenten.ca
Do one thing and do it well-what dinosaur said that? Someone who’s not been to the new Montblanc boutique on Burrard to witness how the onetime purveyor of the finest writing tools on the continent has branched out into the logical (sumptuous leather briefcases to hold those swanky pens) and not so-watches and a perfume that thankfully smells nothing of ink.
717 Burrard St., 604-235-1770. Montblanc.com
The Modern Bartenderparty pantry
Every Tom, Dick, and Hipster can make a rye Manhattan with artisanal sour cherries, but it’s all for naught if you serve it in your dollar-store dorm glasses. Your saviour is proprietor Rod Moore-he also owns Main Street’s Shameful Tiki Room-who stocks it all here at The Modern Bartender: glassware galore, but also shakers, bitters, and Japanese bar spoons.
28 E. Pender St., 604-684-1747. Themodernbartender.com
Project Skintemple to anti-aging
What might have been just another cosmetic surgery clinic instead has all the comforts of a luxurious spa. The Project Skin centre offers discreet, plush rooms for state-of-the-art laser treatments, Botox, fillers, and other non-surgical procedures-even nutritional consultations. But it’s the city’s first SkinCeuticals Professional Centre on the ground floor that has us atwitter. Small treatment rooms offer facial services using the cult-fave beauty line, but we go straight for the excellent Physical UV Defense Broad Spectrum sunscreen products, ideal for sensitive skin.
1495 W. 11th Ave., 604-732-0800. Projectskinmd.com
Tiny Finerydiy haven
Authentic and relaxed without being too cool for school is how Tiny Finery does it in its East Village digs. Artists and owners Stephanie Menard and Keli Monkman stock their in-house jewellery lines-Fibre Manipulator and Kale & Co.-but also rent out bench space to local jewellers (who then sell in-store). Handmade ceramics, letter-press prints, body products, and greeting cards, too. Head to summer school for jewellery-making classes (Ring in a Day, $125).
2162 E. Hastings St., 604-569-2171. Tinyfinery.ca
West Elm Marketrustic depot
The charming outpost of neighbouring West Elm modern décor store stocks regionally sourced, small-production goods in four categories: kitchen (Greenpan cookware, Schmidt Bros. knives, condo-sized Smeg refrigerators, cookbooks); care and repair (soaps and cleaners from Common Good, ostrich feather and lambswool dusters); personal care (lovely candles, skincare products by Sam’s Natural); and garden (planters and pots, heirloom seeds from Hudson Valley in artist-designed pouches). There’s an excellent coffee bar pouring La Colombe Torrefaction and offering snacks by Main Street bakery The Last Crumb.
2915 Granville St., 604-734-9302. Westelm.com