Move over, H&M: Canada has just received a stylish delivery from across the pond. On Oct. 5, Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre opened its doors to the British fast-fashion behemoth Topshop, located in The Bay.
Now, Canadian stylistas will be able to stay in step with the many celebrities – Sarah Jessica Parker, Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow, to name a few – who are fans of the chain.
"Topshop has always interpreted high fashion for women young at heart in an authentic way that seems to narrow in on trends before they happen," Canadian author and fashion expert Bronwyn Cosgrave says from London, where she is based.
A lofty claim, but the brand has certainly set the standard for design collaborations – most famously with supermodel Kate Moss. In 2007, the style icon launched her collection, based on vintage pieces from her own closet, at the retailer's flagship location in Oxford Circus, posing mannequin-frozen in the window sporting a sultry red dress from the line. Moss's inaugural collection caused such pandemonium that time limits were imposed on shoppers, restricting how long they could remain in the shop and how many items they were allowed to purchase. (She has since designed several seasons of the line.) It was a turning point for Topshop, one that has led to other hugely successful partnerships with hot young designers, including Jonathan Saunders and Christopher Kane.
High-street fashion – Brit-speak for fast fashion – plays an essential role in the wardrobes of some of the U.K.'s most stylish dressers.
Brits seem to make a sport out of wearing "non-brands," often mixing vintage-shop finds with high-street garments and a hit of high-end or even couture designs.
Cool-girl style is one thing, but being able to afford it is another. (Witness J.Crew's pricing controversy on the heels of its Canadian launch this summer.) While Topshop's affordability is one of its biggest draws in Britain, its U.S. prices tend to skew higher. "As [our]prices are tied to the pound, we worked very closely with the brand to have the Canadian prices be less than those in the U.S. market," says David Kutas, general manager of both Topshop and the men's line Topman in Canada.
Canada's first Topshop will carry designer collaboration collections, which are sometimes priced a bit higher, along with selections from the in-house line.
There has been much anticipation for Topshop's official opening in Canada. The Bay's capsules for the brand in Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary earlier this year were a hit with shoppers and, after this first full in-store launch, there are plans to open 30 more locations of varying sizes across the country over the next several years.
Topshop launched in 1964 as a young fashion label at Peter Robinson, a department store in Sheffield, England. The brand has approximately 300 stores in Britain and around 100 locations in more than 20 countries.
Leslie Young, a British expat and Toronto resident, says she's excited to check out the new outlet: "[Canadians]are always trying to catch up with Europe. This will give us more options."
Special to The Globe and Mail