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Fashion Stores

Cabaret Vintage

Posted by Staff / Posted on May 23, 2007

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Contributed by Jessica Pollack

About a year ago I was wandering Queen West with my brother Adam and we stumbled upon Cabaret Vintage. Anyone who loves scouring the racks of a good vintage store as much as I do can relate to the thrill of new territory. Walking into Cabaret is like walking into another era: the jazzy sounds of crooners past and the boudoir feel of the store itself send you back to an age of meticulous style and high glamour.

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The main floor of Cabaret showcases beautifully restored pieces for men and women (prices cap at about $300). Dresses, suits, shirts, skirts, pajamas and lingerie from 1900 to the 1960's line the racks on both sides of the store, ranging from casual to cocktail. The back of the main floor is all about accessories, from old-style hats and bowties to beaded evening purses and small collectable items. On my most recent visit I picked up an adorable white lace tunic for $60.

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However, on that fateful spring day a year ago, the real fun for Adam and I began in the basement. "Cabaret Backstage", as the lower level is called, contains even more vintage clothing, accessories and a small selection of shoes. A rack of dramatic hats greets you as you descend, passing vintage hat boxes and luggage sets before emerging into the main room, which is smaller than the room upstairs but full of vintage goodies: think pleated palazzo pants, striking capes and vintage cowboy shirts. My brother and I must have tried on half the store and had a ball in the process.

Cabaret is owned by poet Thomas Dreyton, a seasoned vintage retailer, who is warm and personable and has a way of making customers feel like old friends. A few days ago when I was there he spoke to me as if we'd known each other for years and insisted I attend the stores 10th anniversary party. When Adam and I were there a year ago, Thomas was out but his son Tao was equally charming and fun to chat with about vintage and then some.

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When Adam and I emerged from Cabaret I had a beautiful, embroidered tunic in hand and a new vintage haunt in mind. As it turns out, we had spent so much time in the store that 4 o'clock had come and gone and my car had been towed (the retrieving of which ended up costing far more than my lovely new tunic).

Discussion

14 Comments

Dave / October 23, 2009 at 11:10 pm
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This is great!
Amy Miranda / January 5, 2010 at 11:19 pm
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Cabaret is a fantastic place to visit any time, always new items coming in, and the shop's proprietor Tao is one of the most knowledgeable people i've ever met on the subject of Vintage. Whether its the 40s, 50s or 60s - or even the 20s I've made some amazing purchases and finds because of his help.
Who knew those little hats with the mesh veils from the 40s are called fascinators. He does. :)
Emily / January 4, 2011 at 01:31 pm
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You misspelled Tao's father's name. It's spelled Thomas Drayton. He was such an amazing person. I don't know one single person who isn't heartbroken of his passing in 2007. It's a shame there aren't more people like him and his son Tao in Toronto.
Emily / January 4, 2011 at 01:33 pm
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You misspelled Tao's father's name. It's spelled Thomas Drayton. He was such an amazing person. I don't know one single person who isn't heartbroken of his passing in 2007. It's a shame there aren't more people like him and his son Tao in Toronto.
Lily Emily M. / January 4, 2011 at 01:36 pm
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You misspelled Tao's father's name. It's spelled Thomas Drayton -- there's no "e". He was such an amazing person. I don't know one single person who isn't heartbroken over his passing in 2007. It's a shame there aren't more people like him and his son Tao in Toronto. Fantastic store! So glad Tao is continuing the tradition.
ALISON OLIVER / October 12, 2011 at 01:04 am
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do you have any brochurs to send me to australia..i love your gear...alison oliver.p.o.box 786 tolga queensland australia 4882
ALISON OLIVER / October 12, 2011 at 01:04 am
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your shop looks fantastic.
Naomi / January 13, 2012 at 09:10 pm
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Hey, great shop! What is the price range of your pill box hats or vintage half hats?
Kimberley Marquis / January 25, 2012 at 07:40 pm
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Hi there,

I am a student at Ryerson University studying Fashion Communication. For my final Thesis I am doing a book on people who love and are obsessed with Vintage. I was wondering if I could interview you. It would be an email interview. I would need a few photos from your store that you could send me, and photos of your life that make up who you are as a person who loves vintage. If you are interested, please email me and let me know! This would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time.

Kimberley
Alexa D'Argenio / March 2, 2012 at 05:14 pm
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Hello,
My name is Alexa D'Argenio and I am a Producer for Cineflix Productions. We are working on a new show; created by the Producers of the hit TV shows “Canadian Pickers” and “American Pickers". This new show, tentatively titled “Top Collector” will be a competition TV show, as several teams will set out in pursuit of the BEST PICK, ultimately earning the title of Top Collector!
We are currently casting for Canadian "Picking Partners"- two people that pick together at flea markets, yard sales, barns, sheds, etc. We are looking for people that are charismatic, knowledgeable about collecting, know how to spot hidden treasures, and flip items for profit. Pickers who specialize in collecting items such as vintage toys, oil and gas memorabilia, pop culture items, cast iron, TV & movie memorabilia, and other interesting and unique items!

If there is anyone you think might be interested in entering the competition and being a part of this show, we would love to hear from them! I am also attaching a flyer that you can post on your website, Facebook page, etc. or distribute as you see fit.

For more information or to APPLY to be on the show, please email me at adargenio@cineflix.com.
Michael mcarthur / August 5, 2012 at 07:41 pm
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Just thought of Thomas and googled him. Sorry to hear of his passing so long ago. Sailed with him from New York on my friends sail boat to Toronto. Still have his poetry book. Always dropped by store in collingwood for chats. Last saw him in airport working. I know he's still sailing with my friend who passed away a few years back as well.
johanne / February 4, 2013 at 02:10 pm
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I was wondering the sizes you carry.....I am about a 22, do you have anything in larger sizes
Rosalind / June 25, 2013 at 10:21 pm
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Such a beautiful store! I had a lovely experience there only a few days ago when the incredibly charming, helpful people who work at Cabaret took me under their wing and made me feel welcome. I highly recommend this store, their aesthetic and their beautiful clothes/designs.
Bishop Dr. Gregory Scott / January 14, 2014 at 09:31 am
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Thomas was my dearest friend for years, when we both were Eckists. I remember when he started his place, which I visited from the U.S. several times. It is so wonderful to see that Tao has taken that dream to an even higher level. I have no doubt that Thomas is very pleased with the shop's success. Many Blessings to his family.

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