The publication sought out “luxury women’s boutiques that have transcended the typical retail experience to create something unprecedented” while setting a high bar for brick-and-mortar retail with “their elevated merchandising and visionary designs”. The two Canadian retailers profiled include Toronto’s 119 Corbo, and Vancouver’s Secret Location. A Los Angeles-based footwear retailer, formerly operating in Montreal, was also included among the nine stores profiled.
119 Corbo, located at 119 Yorkville Avenue, opened in 2007 and carries a variety of fashion and luxury brands within its multi-level heritage premises. Retail veteran Linda Perisa listed the store’s core brands, which include names such as Celine, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Rick Owens, Haider Ackermann, Ann Demeulemeester, Martin Margiela and Stella McCartney, among others. Ms. Perisa describes the store as being “the rebirth of cool”. The store is located in a heritage building alongside soon-to-open Christian Louboutin and Chanel (which opens in early 2017), as well as a number of other premium retailers that will be announced in the coming months.
Secret Location, at 1 Water Street in Vancouver’s Gastown, was also featured in the Footwear News piece. The 7,500 square foot store was founded by Carey Melnichuk in June of 2012, and it recently opened a second location, called ‘SL’, at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlets beside Vancouver International Airport. The Gastown store will be expanding soon with the recent closure of its adjacent 'Tasting Room' restaurant component. “Our space effortlessly blends whimsical and colourful design elements against a white-on-white backdrop,” said Ms. Melnichuk to Footwear News. “Our aesthetic is an exploration of old and new, symmetry and chaos, structure and playfulness. We want people to feel like they’ve escaped into a new world, to live in the moment and be inspired.”
The article also mentions footwear retailer Mona Moore, which operates a store in Venice Beach California. There’s a Canadian connection to the company – between 2002 and 2010, Mona Moore operated a luxury footwear location on prestigious Sherbrooke Street West in Montreal. The Venice Beach store opened in 2009 and the Montreal store was shuttered when Ms. Moore’s family made the decision to relocate from Montreal to Los Angeles.
These Canadian retailers are among some good company – Footwear News also praised Colette in Paris, considered to be one of the world's most innovative lifestyle retailers. Other top retailers mentioned included London's LN-CC, Fivestory in New York City, Just One Eye in Los Angeles, Antonia in Milan, Italy, and Miss Louise in Melbourne, Australia.