Ahh, the mall.
It’s been a while since I’ve shopped Fairview Mall, but with the recent completion of its $90 million reno and the celebration of its 40th anniversary in August, I figure it’s time to pop in and get a feel for the fall fashion forecast.
BCBG Max Azria has been around for a couple years in the mall, true, but I’ve never been in, and the dresses in the windows do what they’re supposed to do: get me into the store.
The frocks are part of the Runway collection, a higher-end grouping of draped asymmetrical dresses with hanker-chief hems and bold colours mixed with subdued greys. The vibe: 1970s bohemian with an ’80s punch.
The dresses and tunics feel like silk but surprise, surprise they’re mostly polyester. A lovely navy dress with studs on the bodice is $418, too steep for the budget babe in me.
The tuxedo influence is going strong this season, and I have a major crush on the cropped fitted tux-style vest with uber low armholes. It’s $200 and change, and while I’m sure it would be a lovely staple in my wardrobe, I leave it there. I just thrifted a cropped black vest at Goodwill for $2.99 that has me covered.
I’m slightly skeptical of a polyester tunic for $300 in the dressy frock section — the pattern is pretty but the price seems steep for what it is. A fitted Missoni-like printed tunic for $94 is tempting, but I opt to buy groceries instead.
The Guess Accessories store is the latest shop to open in the mall, only two-weeks new when I visit in early October.
It’s a new concept store, I’m told, which will replace the older brown and white format of the Guess accessory stores.
Outside a mannequin with a leopard print bathing suit (alas, it’s just as prop and not for sale inside) and a red corset-inspired belt (which is for sale inside, $52) emits a saucy Madonna-esque vibe.
Inside the look is sleek and equally saucy, with white marble-like flooring, sheeny black fixtures and red accents.
There’s a shoe promotion on and I try a pair of teal suede high heels (very much like a pair I had in the 1980s) — the only difference is they have hidden platforms inside, meaning they’re easier on the tootsies.
Alas, my long dancer’s toes won’t squish into the end, and I end up commiserating on this point with associate Kelly Olsen, also a former dancer.
She’s gotten around the toe thing by opting for a pair of leather boots from the Pharout collection. They’re black and slouchy in parts with silver buckles — and only $250, not bad at all for boots.
Kelly tells me the collections change over every month — the Guess girl is unique and doesn’t like to wear what others are wearing, apparently.
I’m not interested in the watches but the jewellery isn’t bad — $28 for a rocker chick chain-like bracelet I’m eyeballing — and a pair of red-rimmed retro inspired shades for about $95 are lovely. But I hate wearing logos and the golden Gs alongside the sunglass arms are too much for me.
Guess I’m not a Guess girl after all.
I’m not a fan of the handbags as I find them too embellished with stuff, but Kelly graciously obliges and models the season’s latest and most popular collection of ‘it bags’ to date, a tote with clutch top handle and removable cross body strap by the Plaza collection, $175. Apparently all the bags are under $200 but you know, they’re not even all leather.
Admittedly, the heart charms dangling from it are kinda cute.
There are other stores that are new, such as Forever21, Jack & Jones denim, and Campus Crew.
While some may be inexpensive, forgive me: I’m still scarred by my trip to the Hollister store when it opened in the mall. I don’t think I can handle any more 20-something disposable fashion collegiate-inspired looks this shopping trip.
Luckily, I bump into Natasha, a stylish pal who’s wearing the most lovely leather jacket. She tells me she bought it at Danier Leather for a screaming deal.
Danier. There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Canadian company. Been around since the early 1970s. Worth checking out.
So glad I did.
Not only has the store just started a mega sale (Natasha’s military-inspired jacket with wool sleeves is $199 from $299, as are many jackets), but Danier is way more fashion-forward than I remember.
I’ve found my journey’s end. I could literally spend all day in here because I’ve found what has so far eluded me in this mall:
Good prices. Quality products (yes, many are made in China, but that’s the way the retail world is wagging these days), and classic pieces that won’t be out of style next year.
A semi-trendy tuxedo blazer in brushed leather is $199 from $299 — I want it and after I see it on a salesperson, I want it even more.
Tote bags and purses in various shades of leather are as little as $99 and $129.
The sale won’t be on forever but I hear from the associates, who are literally run off their feet they’re so busy, that sales happen often.
Wool pashmina scarves, available in every shade under the rainbow, aren’t for sale but who cares? They’re $29 each for wool, ladies — a price I’ve seen tripled and quadrupled for the same thing in chic boutiques.
Gloves aren’t on sale but prices still rock. A red pair, $65, go all the way up to my armpits. Black ones with heavy chain detailing around the wrist, $49, means you’ll never lose your gloves again.
I pick up two short-sleeved turtleneck sweaters that are on sale for less than 50 percent off at $14.99 each. I would have paid full price ($29) for them they’re so nice.
Danier, I’ll so be back.
Fairview Mall is located at 1800 Sheppard Ave. East www.fairviewmall.ca.
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