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Fashion Stores

Life of Manek

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Posted on May 22, 2012

dundas west toronto boutique fashionLife of Manek sprouted up in Dundas West just over two weeks ago, and from the floor-length floral dress in the front window to the candy-coloured vintage sandals, I know I'm in for something special.

Owner Nicole Manek doesn't disappoint, and truthfully, this 10-year-veteran of the fashion industry and host of an upcoming makeover show even exceeds my expectations. The style is eclectic, elegant and whimsical, with accent touches of Manek's Eastern European background.

life of manek nicole torontoThe store's design is spacious and chicly white, with one notable exception: upon entry, you'll notice the immense plastic fish that almost seems at odds with the store's atmosphere. "In the '70s," Manek tells me, "it was the big thing to go to Florida and go deep-sea fishing. My Dad caught it there, and while they can't give you the fish, they take a photo and create a replica." It hung in their house for years, until Manek rescued it from the basement. Now it holds vigil over a beautiful display of designer vintage and bright scarves.

life of manek toronto fashionDuring our chat, we're interrupted by cries of delight from shoppers. As the only buyer, Manek's personal taste rules supreme, and it's a cheerful blend of decades, patterns, and bursts of bling--the stores pairs the excitement rifling through a particularly stylish aunt's closet and the thrill of the find, with high-end merchandise more often found in Yorkville.

life of manek dundas west torontoA meticulously curated selection of vintage clothes from all across North America mingles beautifully with high-end designer gear from the likes of J-Brand (denim in delectable pastel hues) and G-Lish (intricately beaded and sequined party dresses from a former designer for Escada and Valentino, around $350-$400).

life of manek fashion dundas westAs a stylist and costume designer, Manek brings stock from shows and photoshoots that she's worked on previously as well as an uncanny ability to predict what will suit a shape. She points to shoppers and advises on styles and colors with natural ease.

life of manek we are handsome torontoManek also carries Danish denim designer SkarGorn (around $120) and you'll find the bold prints of Australian swimwear line We Are Handsome ($260 for a one-piece, string bikinis for $206), with more styles expected to arrive in the summer.

life of manek nicole stylistHer enviable stock of brand-name, never-been-worn vintage sunglasses includes Versace and Dior ($220-$260). Vintage shoes are $55-$65, gently used Jimmy Choos and Prada pumps come in under $200, while the fabulous selection of vintage hats ($45-$165) are aching to be worn to a old-timey Derby event.

life of manek clothingManek is also the exclusive retailer of MCMC perfumes ($45 for perfume oil), which is thus far the store's only foray into beauty, but the array of scents--from Kept's tangy mix of rose, leather and clove to Hunter's masculine blend of balsam, vanilla and tobacco--will suit a wide range of men and women.

Jewellery offerings include New York's Jaclyn Mayer, who dips rope in gold and resin. Manek's conservative first buy from the line has flown off the shelves, with gold-plated bracelets ringing it at a reasonable $98.

life of manek fashion store torontoThe store's priciest item is a Chanel bag for $1800, but the vintage non-label purses and dresses come in around $45 and you can pick up a party dress fresh from L.A. for between $200-$300. She's also planning a wall of vintage records, a selection of men's vintage, and some children's vintage as well. What might that look like? "Pink leather vests," Manek replies, eyes lighting up.

life of manek torontoThere's not much mystery behind the store's name, but she was (unsurprisingly) teased mercilessly as a child--"Manic Monday, manic panic, manic this, manic that"--and she wanted to at long last own her name. The neighbourhood response has been wonderful, Manek tells me. "The women who shop and live here are amazing--from young girls to new moms with their strollers."

life of manek store torontoAs for her overarching vision for the store: "I wanted to design the ultimate store that I would want to shop in." As it turns out, she's created a store in which many women would happily while away an afternoon.



Deflated / May 22, 2012 at 03:28 pm
This store has some great merchandising, but after I brought my loot home I realize that I had only bought some crusty old cowboy boots.
life of manek replying to a comment from Deflated / May 22, 2012 at 06:55 pm
Hello deflated,
sorry to hear you are unhappy, i pride myself on the condition of my goods.
please bring your boots back in with your receipt in and we will work something out.
- life of manek
mary77 / May 22, 2012 at 07:14 pm
amazing vintage selection and some GREAT hats. i walked out with a lace shift in perfect condition for $65.00 and a sweet blue felt wide brim chapeau. A great addition to the Dundas fashion scene.
Discerning / May 22, 2012 at 07:22 pm
There are plenty of places to buy "crusty" vintage in this town but Life of Manek is definitely NOT one of them. This is a meticulously curated, glamorous collection of vintage wares for the discerning fashion buyer.
Happy customer / May 22, 2012 at 09:14 pm
I had the best shopping experience at life of manek than I can ever remember having in a Toronto boutique. A unique mix of high fashion and carefully curated vintage, fantastically priced and the added bonus of a top stylist (who also happens to be friendly and accommodating) helping you make the best selections while never leaving you feeling pressured to buy anything. I will shop there again and again. It's a rare Toronto gem!
Dundas girl / May 22, 2012 at 09:20 pm
LOM is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood! The boutique reminds me of something from Ldn, new york or even Milan for that matter. I'm happy to have such a chic addition to the neighborhood !
The girls who work at the store are friendly, knowledgable and oh so fashionable! Welcome to the 'hood ladies!
DiBA / May 22, 2012 at 10:15 pm
Sounds fab! I'll have to check it out soon.
Afraid to Fashion / May 23, 2012 at 10:23 am
As a panicked, pleasantly plump and reluctant fashionista it was such a relief to walk into Life of Manek and feel warmly welcomed. There is something for everyone and the racks are a joy to sift through - the staff are generous with their suggestions and seem to hit the (chubby) nail right on the head! I started off cautiously with some stunning everyday silver leaf vintage earrings ($17!)and some serious over-sized hoops ($20!) but will return VERY soon to start trying on the stunning dresses, blouses and blazers and such, all so reasonably price but certain to make me feel like a Queen - how can I not return (I am addicted already!), it's super-fun, even when shopping with my size '0' mates! Thank you SO much Nicole for creating an expertly curated store that's made for everyone! Congratulations!
madeline / May 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm
Hey all this is a boutique, therefore it's stocked. Retail is stocked NOT CURATED.
Chloe Ghose / December 4, 2012 at 06:31 pm
Nicole, congratulations on the opening of your Boutique !
Quality has never looked so GOOD!

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