Riant Boutique gets its name from a word tied to joy, cheerfulness, and laughter. "This sounds really corny," owner Maxine Waters says after we escape to a back room to chat about her new boutique, "but this is my happy place."
"It's me," she continues. "I've always followed fashion trends and this has been my dream forever."
The wheels were set in motion about one year ago when Maxine was shopping around for a location for her store, eventually settling on NOLA (lower Bathurst). "This is definitely an up and coming area," she says. "There's the Thompson , Thor , Gotstyle ; I just wanted to be a part of it."
The boutique is just a few days old when I stop in, and I'm a little surprised by the square footage it occupies. Though I suppose I'm too used to West Queen West retail, where boutique owners have to make shoeboxes feel like expansive shopping oases.
That certainly isn't a problem here though, as white tufted walls seem to go on endlessly, housing custom-made royal blue chaises and a sleek velvet purple ottoman for trying on shoes (when they come in).
Though Maxine admits interior design is another great joy, her pleasure foremost comes from fashion. "It's clean, it's trendy, and also sort of vintage," she says of the merchandise in her boutique. "It's all stuff that I love."
Wildfox, JJ Winters, Rebecca Taylor, and Cynthia Vincent are just a few of the labels you'll find at Riant, along with exquisite, mostly yellow gold stone bracelets ($60-$100) made by ElliePhont Creations. Maxine walks me through the shop, showing me some of her favourite pieces, which include an incredibly soft Joie multicolour cardigan ($595) that she actually has in her closet at home, and a Rebecca Taylor silk printed blouse in a rosy nude ($245). "I'm a Rebecca Taylor junkie," Maxine says. I just love the little details." My favourite, however is a oversized knit Wildfox sweater with a humble deer gazing on the front ($234).
Riant's website is still under construction, but Maxine hasn't ruled out creating an online store as well. Eventually. "To be honest I'm, just taking things one step at a time," she says. "Right now I just want to create a place that's fun for people to shop and explore. Fashion is fun, after all."
So fun, in fact, it's "riant." ... I hope I didn't use that wrong.
Photos by Jesse Milns