Friday, November 6, 2009

Cold Comfort

I just returned from my semi-annual jaunt to Montreal, where it was colder than usual for early fall. Naturally, this meant that I had to hit even more shopping centers than usual just to keep warm. In my endless quest to bring you the most interesting fashions and trends I scoured every neighborhood and came up with two fabulous new boutiques. I have to be honest with you, both feature rather pricey clothes and accessories but in both cases, you’ll definitely get your moneys worth in terms of high style and impeccable workmanship.

Boutique Scandale at 3639 Boulevard St. Laurent (www.boutiquescandale.com), offers a very chic and modern take on the vintage look designed by Montreal designer Georges Levesque. What sets the collections apart are the unusual, simply gorgeous fabrics, often combining patterns with solids in very unique ways. I flipped for Levesque’s rust colored velvet and wool plaid draped dress that gives the impression of a two-piece frock. The closest designer I can compare him to is Vivienne Westwood because of his use of plaids and intricate construction. The boutique also carries a limited selection of retro looking shoes and some jewelry, but it’s the rtw that really stands out. If you want to stand out from the crowd and are willing to invest in great pieces, then this is the boutique for you.

Histoire de plaire at966 St. Catherine Street (www.histoiredeplaire.ca), is a brand new (only opened two weeks prior to my visit) boutique smack in the heart of Montreal’s main shopping drag. Funnily enough, the merchandise is primarily Italian and French designer sportswear with some terrific – and affordably priced, capacious handbags, elegant yet rugged suede boots and “Hermes’ faux croc belts thrown in the mix. The color palette consisted mainly of subtle shades of grey, bone, taupe and black. This store offers customers of any age basically one-stop-shopping with a marvelous selection of butter soft cashmere sweaters, knitted fur stoles and some of the prettiest, exquisitely detailed blouses I’ve seen in a long time. I wanted to snap up everything, but lack of funds and space in my suitcase prevented me from going hog wild.

As far as other fall/winter trends, I took note of some adorable trapper fur lined hats in every price range, cardigan sweaters everywhere and naturally, some of the best looking, lined all-weather boots. On a personal note, If you plan a trip to Montreal anytime soon (Amtrak offers a smooth, hassle free ride and bargain prices), check out The Bay department store on St. Catherine Street. This is the place to fine the original Hudson Bay rugged wool car coat and scarves in the brand’s iconic stripe. For casual chic, it’s had to beat the collection which includes lots more items including some wonderful throws, etc.

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Crap and Couture, Notes From the Back Row