Citizenry, a new boutique found amidst the hustle and bustle of West Queen West , is tucked away behind a namesake cafe. At first glance, the open-air storefront looks like a pleasant place to have your morning coffee; the rustic opulence of its gold drapes and worn-in wooden tables are welcoming like I imagine a cool granddad's study to be. But, it's so much more than that.
The back half is dedicated to retail space -- a concept I clued in on after noticing the pair of mannequins posted up in the window. A baby pink settee and stucco walls add to the old European vibe, but their product is nothing less than progressive. Owners Paula Seiça and Basilio Fernando Ferreira explain to me that every one of their labels is based Portugal, and although the country isn't as immersed in fashion as others, they are definitely worth a gander.
In two open wardrobes hang their main clothing designers: Daniela Barros and Story Tailors . The former focuses on handmade ready-to-wear, with Rick Owens -esque clothing inspired by classic art and mythology; they're draped to perfection with a hint of goth. My favourites are a light grey knit with precisely placed shredding ($447) and a navy body suit with origami folds ($272). Right now, Citizenry only carries Daniela Barros' exclusive-to-Canada women's line, but menswear is set to land within the month.
Story Tailors, on the other hand, offers garments so dynamic that the snap of a button and slide of a zipper can change them from one silhouette to another. A pair of red harem pants ($310) and a made-to-order corseted dress ($1800) are among the many shape-shifting pieces.
A fashion cafe of all things Portuguese wouldn't be complete without cork and wine. Accessories brand Artelusa processes cork in various ways to make rings ($25), chokers ($49), and umbrellas ($110). Basilio tells me the future holds wine and cheese sessions to be held on their picturesque back patio, as well as film screenings and yoga on Sundays.
Clearly, Citizenry isn't planning on settling down any time soon. With a slew of events and up-and-coming Portuguese brands up their sleeves, this semi-hidden Toronto treasure is well worth a visit.
Photos by Morris Lum