Home-grown Hollywood Glamour

Posted by: Candice Daquin

Each year at the Toronto Film Festival, Canada opens its arms to Hollywood’s most stylish stars. Toronto now rivals its neighbour to the south as the Glamour Capital of North America. Canada’s home-grown acting talents have been cutting memorable figures at many of the world’s haute fashion events. The success of television show Smallville is due in part to the pulling-power of lead Canadian actresses Kristin Kreuk and Erica Durance. Smallville’s break-away success has garnered a solid fan-base who enjoys the hot fashion and fast-paced story lines. Kreuk and Durance have endured as examples of Canadian style, dispelling the tired-myth that Canadians were somehow less fashion-conscious or chic than their American cousins. Not so. Canadians spend more on food and clothing then their U.S. counterparts who, in comparison, fork out more on transportation and health. 

In 2003 Canadians spent roughly 4% of their total income on clothing and previously unknown Canadian clothing brands have begun to gain popularity in US and European markets. Canada has done a stellar job of prioritizing and supporting Canadian designers and keeping US companies from dominating the market share. Interestingly our fashion industry supplies much of the US, with 90% of Quebec's exports going directly across the border. Canadian fashion designers have gained popularity in recent years with retailers increasingly choosing to stock Canadian fashions. Canada's total apparel market, which was worth $18.7 billion in 2000, has seen growth of 8.6 per cent in the last 10 years.  Canadians like Kristin Kreuk embody a beautiful ethnic flavor, which reflects Canada’s multicultural roots. Her innate glamour and svelte figure ideally showcase today’s hottest looks.

No-longer considered the ‘Plaid Capital of the World,’ Canada and its vibrant cities, including fashion-fevered Toronto, can be a shopper’s paradise, blending exclusive European fashions with local and world famous designers. What’s great about Toronto is the abundance of exciting neighborhoods with their own atmosphere and plethora of little boutiques and priceless ‘one-of-a-kind’ clothing stores - a sheer treasure trove for the bargain hunter. Boutiques are matched by Toronto’s wealth of outlet malls and easy proximity to those just outside the city. Find an irresistible Alfred Sung gown, groovy Alice and Olivia masterpiece, cherish La Senza’s intimates, go for staples like Talbots or browse through the bargain racks at The Bay. Toronto has them all.

Find the ultimate clutch or special broach to spice up winter’s essential tartan coats at Dancing Days (17 Kensington Ave), one of Toronto’s best-kept secret vintage stores. Next door is the equally addictive Exile (20 Kensington Ave). Run away with a fabulous toile petticoat at Boutique Le Trou, (940 Queen Street West) or go upscale vintage at The Paper Bag Princess (287 Davenport Rd) where precious vintage finds are guaranteed to wow. If you’re after inexpensive bargains, root through Goodwill Toronto’s vast selection of goodies (234 Adelaide E) where this writer has been known to find felt hats, Victorian lace, vintage leather belts and original 40’s shrugs for less than $5!

If it’s glamour sans budget you’re after, head for downtown Toronto where upscale stores flourish, especially west of Yonge Street. A host of designer stores are located in Toronto’s underground concourse, commonly called the PATH. It boasts the world’s largest underground shopping complex with 27 km (16 miles) of shopping opportunity. It has 371,600 sq. meters (4 million sq. ft) of retail space, and thankfully, many cafes to rest tired feet.

Bloor Street West is another gem in Toronto’s thriving retail market. Dubbed ‘the mink mile,' Bloor Street West from Yonge Street to Avenue Road tailors to the well-heeled with an avalanche of high-end design houses including Gucci, Prada and Channel, as well as many unique Canadian designers. Another good shopping option for the girl in pursuit of style is Toronto’s popular Eaton Centre and its busy 250 retail boutiques.

GTA shopping junkies can now research or buy their fashions online at places like TorontoStreetFashion.com, or find contemporary designs in-person by local Toronto fashion designers at the Fresh Collective. (692 Queen Street). With all the choices available, it’s never been easier or more fun to find the latest styles and get dolled up in this season’s sizzling new looks.



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Candice Daquin
London, ON, Canada

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