Decorating & Design

December 1, 2011

Retail Chic

I regularly pop into Toronto café and design shop La Merceria to sip a yummy cup of caffeine and chat up owner Sandra Rojas-Chinni. Sandra has amazing style and is a trend forecaster for retailers like The Bay, so I like to pick her brain often about what’s catching her eye. When I popped in recently, all she could talk about was the new look Club Monaco is giving its stores. Sandra worked for the Club waaaaay back when, so she knows the brand well. “It lost its way for awhile,” she noted, “but this new direction is perfect.”

When I popped by Toronto’s Bloor Street store, I understood her enthusiasm. The clothes were nice — I remember fondling a cashmere sweater — but I was far more interested in the decorating. Right from the double door entrance, you feel like you’re walking into the fabulous apartment of a fabulous friend — who has so many clothes, she’s devoted her whole home to them. The walls on the main floor are painted creamy white and given architectural interest with added mouldings for an old world feel. A showstopping chandelier at the entrance complements the hinged brass task lights that are mounted above the displays and cast a warm glow that dominates those unforgiving overhead lights (shudder). Instead of boring floating shelves, tall weathered-wood wardrobes fitted with glass doors were filled with seasonal woolens.

But it was the men’s department on the lower level and pictured here that I found most inspiring.

If I were a bachelor, I’d be shopping for ideas as well as pants.

Warm grey walls covered in art, tons of books, rustic wood tables, filing cabinets refashioned as dresser drawers, vintage task lights — oh so masculine, but a look women love, too.

I would happily help my fellow update his wardrobe here. (A task we both dread.)

And since we’re in the midst of updating his apartment, I made a million mental notes, like how these vintage wooden shipping crates fitted with castors would be ideal as extra storage under his bed. I hope you’re equally inspired.

For more of what inspires me, follow me on Twitter @kkb416.

Photo credits:
1-8. Club Monaco