Yesterday, we popped by Toronto’s Yorkdale shopping centre, home of Canada’s first freestanding Topshop (and Topman) store. In partnership with The Hudson’s Bay Company, the British high street behemoth’s mix of original designs and runway trends peppered with one-off collaborations (Mary Katrantzou and Michael Van Der Ham are next up) is a one-stop for that fetching London look. As owner Sir Phillip Green gave his fleet of visual merchandisers some pointed tips (“do not hang tops low to the ground, they’ll never sell,” we overheard him instruct), fashion director Kate Phelan (formerly of British Vogue) gave us the grand tour of the sprawling, two-floor space.
For Topshop devotees, we can report that this Canadian outpost features very similar pieces to what you can find at the brand’s flagship locations in the U.K. Thoughtfully divided by style camps, there is Bavaria, an edit of “less derivative, vintage-inspired pieces,” said Phelan, thumbing a Penny Lane-worthy Mongolian lamb multicolor gilet. Boutique is Phelan’s “favorite place to add essentials to my wardrobe,” she said, showing off the discrete camel toppers, ombré angora sweaters, silk tunics and cigarette pants befitting of minimalists like herself. Other sections are chock full of the kind of seasonal hits Topshop is famous for – right now that entails nerdy neon ski jumpers, leather-lapel pea coats and stripe rockabilly jeans worthy of Siouxsie Sioux. A shoe parlor featuring fall’s standout styles – from velvet lounge slippers to platform Mary Janes to sportif hightops (a steal at $44) – is probably Topshop’s most tempting draw. Like most things in the store, footwear rings in at under $175. That being said, some deals are better than others, and many styles are so of-the-moment, they should come with a six week expiration date. You can decide for yourself if that’s smart shopping.
As I tried on a few more classic-inclined standouts – an oxblood coat, leather-panel tuxedo trousers in the vein of Celine and a gray wool cableknit – HBC’s C.E.O. Bonnie Brooks came over to the personal shopping suites to say hello. “Whatever you’re wearing, just buy it,” she instructed. Officially open for business today, no doubt shoppers will obey the dynamo’s command.