Fashionista hotspots

There isn’t a better cheerleader for Canadian fashion design than Jeanne Beker. She has spent more than three decades seeking out and shining a spotlight on homegrown talent. Clearly, the fashion icon knows something about shopping.

When Beker isn’t globetrotting for FashionTelevision or covering fashion runways for magazines like FT, she’s at home in Toronto. The call for more retail explorations beckons and Beker answers. She does admit she has a thing for shoes, so Davids on Bloor Street and their huge selection of Christian Louboutin shoes (the best in Canada) is a big draw. She may swing by Celebration Shoes in nearby Yorkville. Beker loves owner Carma Saunderson’s funky, hand-dyed creations.

Beker’s must-visit Canadian design talents in the city include long-time favourites like Brian Bailey (famous for chic dresses and suits), Comrags (“edgy, but not in a harsh dramatic way”), Mirabelli (“beautiful cuts and interesting fabrics”) and Shan, a hugely successful swimwear label. Maybe less known, but equally talented, are designers such as Kingi Carpenter of Peach Berserk (fun and whimsical), Ross Mayer (a whiz with evening wear) and Zenobia (for timeless separates).

Beker finds herself in Montréal quite often. In search of the perfect pair of shoes, she heads for Rosenstein Paris on rue de la Montagne, then on to Denis Gagnon‘s new flagship store on rue St. Paul. If she’s looking for cool gifts, then a stop at the gift ship at Musée des Beaux Arts is in order.

She once lived in Newfoundland so it’s a province that is near and dear to Beker. “I love Water Street in St. John’s,” she says. “There are some great stores along that stretch and some tucked away on the side streets too.” Even in tiny towns like Woody Point, she finds what she dubs “Canadian exotica” in little gift shops like Aunt Jane’s.

In the west, Beker has her go-to favourites. In Winnipeg, Julie Pederson is a designer that has caught her attention and a portion of her fashion budget. Pederson designs funky “muckies” or mukluks that have earned a celebrity clientele that includes Britney Spears and Katy Perry. Beker owns three pairs.

In Calgary, Beker makes a point of stopping at Paul Hardy Design in Kensington Village. “He has great, gorgeous accessories!” The village also features unique clothing from Eleven: Eleven and James and Dickson Clothiers.

Vancouver’s Gastown is the place for window shopping, according to Beker. And in Victoria, a boutique like Nushin with international and Canadian designers, has her reaching for her credit card.

Article courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

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