The Future of Frances Watson
The Future of Frances Watson is like rehab for fashion-overkill. The two-month-old Parkdale shop is a back-to-basics apparel destination, where crisp denim and simple pieces rule. Don't get me wrong, though - the well-edited collection serves as an easy canvas for layering in some of the shop's unique and bold accessories.
Co-owners Kerry Butt and Meg Watson love how the same outfit can look so different depending on who's wearing it and how it's accessorized. Take a pair of raw denim skinnies by Cheap Monday and one of the girls' private label silk tops as a jumping off point. The possibilities from here are endless. I would personally go for an oversized Pomp & Ceremony plaid bow headband (made locally), while the next girl might prefer a jewel-toned stretch-velvet turban or a rope-and-leather necklace. Boyish add-ons like vintage-y bow ties are also good bets.
Their own line, The Future of Frances, is created in the rear of the space with a little help from their Ryerson fashion intern (who incidentally also files their taxes). It's based on the same principle of easy-fit pieces, and affordable (under $200) dresses. I adore the army green silk sack dress with cream leather-covered buttons on the cuffs, large leather bow, and a drawstring neckline.
After spending a few minutes with the duo, I am best-friend-homesick for my very favourite girl on earth (in too-far-away Medicine Hat). My questions are met with inside-joke answers followed by explosive laughter - just the kind of girl-bond I miss. The idea for the business started after Kerry (formerly of Franny Vintage) and Meg (of Jill-of-all-trades creativeness) started "kickboxing and eating poutine" together. With not yet two months under their belt, the shop is still evolving through joke-laden banter. In fact, our conversation degraded into a brainstorming session over the future of the "Vintage Closet" - an actual closet currently home to a select assortment of flashback frocks and handbags.
While new and rare apparel labels rule, a few novelty items (notably a Fred sock monkey wine bottle cover), bath and body products (the Tokyo Milk line and Canadiana cast soap dishes), and a few antiques (kitsch golf-themed glassware and ornate tabletop mirrors) are spattered throughout. "Pretty much everything is for sale," Meg tells me, "Except my Grandmother's chair."
Speaking of elderly family members, the curious name "The Future of Frances Watson" is derived partly from the owners' grandmothers, and partly from a fictional muse captured in a mural on the shop's wall. Meg and Kerry are inspired by "early feminists" and "wild daredevils" like the buxom horse-mounted pin-up depicted in the mural. "That's the way opening the shop felt," Meg laughs, "Like jumping through a flaming hoop."
Photos by Dennis Marciniak.