Pomp and Pageantry
Pomp and Pageantry has been open for just two weeks when I stop by. Squirreled away from the luxe bustle of Yorkville proper, on Scollard St., the shop is a long, narrow space adorned with feminine, sometimes baroque, accents such as turn-of-the-century paintings, patches of Versailles-type wallpaper, and a carved display table that was previously owner Shellie Willms' childhood bedroom-in fact, the look of the store can best be described at Willms' fantasy bedroom. And it's working.
"I never anticipated that we would've been so busy since the moment the doors opened," Willms gushes. She notes the fan base that's already developing, and rightly so, for the shop's covetable range of brands. "I knew that it was born and bred in me to open my own shop," Willms tells me. They initially wanted to open in the increasingly affluent Burlington or Oakville, but Willms couldn't resist the allure of Toronto shoppers.
The notion of event planning is crucial to Willms vision for the store (she hopes to host many a soiree), and extends to her ingenious pairing of shopping and high tea. Willms serves Moroccan Mint, Peaches and Creme, and my personal choice, Ginger Spice (from House of Tea, and sold at Pusateri's) in beautiful glasses or china cups, freshly-steeped, and adorned by a sugar cube, if you'd like, from a wood table busy with silver trays and delicate spoons. "I want my customers to feel like royalty."
The average price in the store as a whole is $228-$468, with fur pieces pricing slightly higher, and the shop is divided into four main looks: old Hollywood glamour, Western heritage, glam rock, and romance.
Among the stock is Willms' own line of blouses, Refined by P&P, which plays off the notion of power-dressing for women, and that cufflinks--being jewellery, and jewellery being the domain of women--rightly belong on the french-cuffed arms of women. Sold separately, she designed and outsourced the production of her own line of cufflinks ($138-$208) to Montreal, and the tailored blouses (around $170) come in monotone or beautiful silk Chanel-inspired black and white.
On the racks, you'll find the French, lace-heavy designs of Alexia Admor, the embellished and silk designs of L.A.-based Parker, printed tunics and draped rompers from Miss Me Denim, and the intricate design of London's TFNC ($168-$368), including an instant favourite piece--a faux-suede, neutral peplum dress.
Well-represented in the store's stock is Australian brand Wish--a sheer printed silk floor-length dress with a jersey underskirt ($228) is a stand-out, as well as a fox fur vest. You'll also find a well-constructed rabbit fur vest from 525 America, while Kova & T provides its leather inset looks in dresses ($368) and leggings.
The boutique also believes in local Canadian talent. There's Tara Jarmon, whose designs are now produced out of Europe, as well as Jon and Jen (sister label of Line Knitwear) and Yoga Jeans. Exhale's line incorporates bamboo for an extra degree of breathability, and is made to fit a wide range of shapes and sizes, without sacrificing the simple allure of a little black dress. You'll also find a small selection of sportswear.
Jewellery ranges from $128-$268, including jewellery designed specifically to fit with the image of the store, and earrings and a clean rose-gold choker from Dean Davidson. The stand-out brand, for me, is Sibilia, with hand-made jewellery from Buenos Aires in mixed metal tones out of gold, copper, green patina, and antique silver. In other accessories, Willms stocks Moyna's hand-beaded bags ($178-$328) and shoes from House of Harlow.
The boutique is unabashedly feminine, and particularly refreshing from a store in the neighbourhood, not interested in exclusion. "My mandate is to dress sizes from 0-18, and stock pieces that transition from day to night without trying too hard" with the price point accommodating a range of budgets. The shop is open seven days a week, with Monday open by appointment only, and offering a great opportunity for one-on-one time with Willms herself.
"I want to be able to cultivate a lifestyle for someone, whether it's for one day, or a lifetime," Willms says, and her infectious personality, and clear enthusiasm for her stock and her customers suggest she's off to a running start.