By Craig Patterson
Italian luxury brand Valentino will open its first standalone Canadian store this winter at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. It’s the latest luxury brand to open at Canada’s most productive mall, which is on track to become a global leader in brands as well as retail innovation.
Valentino will occupy about 4,700 square feet on one level in Yorkdale’s 2012 expansion. The store will be located between Bottega Veneta (which is also scheduled to open November 1) and Aritzia-owned Wilfred, across from the mall’s Holt Renfrew store which is about to see an expansion. Valentino is known for its ready-to-wear offerings for both women and men, as well as accessories, leather goods and footwear.
CBRE represented Valentino under the direction of Senior Vice President Arlin Markowitz of the Toronto Urban Retail Team, as well as Andrew Goldberg, Vice Chairman of CBRE in New York City. Oxford Properties Group is the landlord of Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
Valentino is also available in Canada at several of Canada’s most prestigious retailers, some of which have entire ‘hard shop’ areas dedicated to the brand. Valentino has been growing its Canadian distribution steadily over the past three years or so. In September of 2015, Nordstrom unveiled separate shop-in-store boutiques at CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver for Valentino accessories and women’s fashions, which was followed by a dedicated Valentino men’s area, which was a first for Nordstrom. In February of 2016, Saks Fifth Avenue opened its CF Toronto Eaton Centre flagship, which also featured separate shop-in-stores for Valentino accessories and women’s ready-to-wear. In the fall of 2016, when Nordstrom opened its Yorkdale store, it also included separate Valentino shop-in-stores for accessories and women’s ready-to-wear — we spotted a $38,000 Valentino dress when we toured the Yorkdale Nordstrom store ahead of its October grand opening.
Holt Renfrew also carries a range of Valentino women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, as well as accessories and shoes. Holt’s hasn’t dedicated spaces for Valentino ‘hard shops’ in the same way as US competitors Nordstrom and Saks in Canada. A handful of other prestigious retailers carry the Valentino brand in Canada, which has been present in retail and wholesale for decades. In the 1980’s and 1990’s Valentino had several licensed boutiques in Canada. In Toronto and Montreal, fashion retailer ‘Chez Catherine’ operated Valentino boutiques at her stores at Toronto’s Hazleton Lanes and at Montreal’s Ogilvy. In Vancouver, Farideh French Imports operated two small Valentino boutiques in the downtown core — one was at 723 Burrard Street in a space now occupied by Tiffany & Co., and another was located on the third level of the Pan Pacific Hotel back when it featured a small luxury shopping area that also housed boutiques for Celine, Furs by Jacques, and multi-brand luxury accessory retailer Collections International.
Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre is adding more first-to-Canada retailers than any single location in the country. Several of its most recent announcements have already been available in the centre — Valentino, as mentioned above, can also be found at Nordstrom and Holt Renfrew. Bottega Veneta, which is opening next to Valentino at Yorkdale in November, has a presence at Holt Renfrew. And Chloé, which recently opened at Yorkdale, has separate hard-shops for accessories and women’s ready-to-wear at Nordstrom at Yorkdale, not unlike those for Valentino.
More luxury brands are confirmed to be moving into Yorkdale and we’ll report on these when permitted.