British heritage luxury brand Belstaff will open its first freestanding Canadian boutique this fall. The 1,100-square foot location will be on the upper level of Toronto’s Yorkville Village shopping centre, and it will be operated in partnership with a retail group that has operated in the former ‘Hazelton Lanes’ for over a quarter of a century.
Belstaff, which was founded in 1924 in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, was the first company to use wax cotton in the manufacturing of waterproof apparel for motorcycling. The brand now sells ready-to-wear fashions for both men and women, as well as footwear, leather goods and accessories. Belstaff was acquired by Harry Slatkin and The Labelux Group in 2011, and it operates several boutiques globally. In the United States, Belstaff’s only freestanding store is at 814 Madison Avenue in New York City — the 4,000 square foot flagship opened in 2012. Belstaff also wholesales to upscale multi-brand retailers around the world.
Toronto’s Belstaff will launch this fall with men’s ready-to-wear collections, along with outerwear, leather goods, accessories and footwear. The boutique will open in partnership with the Zappacosta family, who also operate upscale multi-brand retailers philip and Nanni. The family launched the Nanni concept store in the former Hazelton Lanes in 1991, and they’ve had a retail presence in the mall ever since. Last summer, Philip Zappacosta opened his eponymous men’s luxury boutique, philip, on the mall’s upper level.
Mr. Zappacosta explained how Belstaff’s exceptional sales at his philip store led to the freestanding Belstaff boutique partnership, and how a number of other premium brands have approached him about also opening freestanding mono-brand locations. As a result, he’s in talks with several of them to open partner boutiques nearby. He said that he’s particularly interested in luxury Italian, French and British menswear brands, though he’s also considering jewellery and other product categories. “Yorkville is the luxury epicentre for Toronto,” Mr. Zappacosta said, “and we’re looking to grow with the neighbourhood as it continues to find its place as a world class retail destination."
Yorkville Village, formerly Hazelton Lanes, was rebranded in early 2015 as part of a mall overhaul under the direction of landlord First Capital Realty. Yorkville Village continues to renovate and add new retailers and as part of the renovations, the Zappacosta family’s Nanni retail concept will open next to the new Belstaff store on the mall’s upper level.
Prior to a recession in the early 1990’s, Hazelton Lanes was considered to be one of the world’s top luxury retail centres, featuring an impressive roster of top brands in a series of intimate designer boutiques. All have since closed, and the centre is in the process of completing a renovation that is costing the landlord more than $100 million to complete. Belstaff marks the first mono-brand luxury announcement for the ‘new’ Yorkville Village, and more retailers will be announced as the centre’s overhaul nears completion later this year.
*Top photo is of a recently opened Tokyo Belstaff location, via GINZA SIX.