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Fashion Stores

Rue Pigalle

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Posted on June 20, 2012

rue pigalle torontoRue Pigalle is, in fact, a transplant from Yorkville. The move down to West Queen West was natural, owner Isabelle Fish tells me, as she believes the consumer base will better understand her products. It's easy to appreciate what Fish is doing--she's the exclusive Canadian carrier of women's accessories from the European fashion capitals of Paris and London.

rue pigalle torontoOriginally, the location belonged to Igor Kenk, Canada's notorious bicycle thief, then it was briefly a restaurant, and now it's been transformed into a white-washed space with built-in cubicles for bags and jewellery, elegant fixtures, and exposed ducts--a look that showcases the products' bursts of colour, and innovation in materials and design.

"The designers that I bring are really small and independent, and they specialize in their techniques," Fish tells me, "I don't do brands, at all." Fish visits Europe 4 or so times a year, and has developed relationships with a network of designers that are independent by choice--some have worked with the likes of Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld.

rue pigalle queen westIt would be predictable to say that Fish exudes Parisian grace, but well-deserved. Against a simply-cut striped dress and bold, pink flats, her silver accessories are given ample room to shine. "I'm conservative today," she laughs. Fish was a lawyer for 15 years before she moved to Canada with her family, but her passion for accessories is long-standing. "Every day of her life, my mother wore silk scarves. When she passed away, my sister and I divided them up, and now I wear them, too."

rue pigalle queen westYou'll find the bracelets, rings and belts of Tzuri Gueta, whose mix of silk and silicone resemble playful sea anemones, as well as the elegant, retro-tinged bags of Phillipe Roucou, and the clean lines of Louis Quatorze purses.

rue pigalle torontoHer space in Yorkville was quite small, and the move has allowed her to branch out with a small selection of home decor including gilded cups, a stunning trio of large ceramic vases, and delicate filigree-like bowls ($1,000-1,700).

There are silk scarves, sunglasses and headbands, but the show-stoppers are invariably found amongst the jewellery. From the stupendous floral necklace constructed from recycled plastic bottles and sea sponge, to modern, architectural rings--they're statement pieces, one and all. As of now, there are no plans to bring clothing into the mix. "Gaspard is just down the street," Fish explains.

rue pigalle torontoThe average price is $300, Fish tells me, with some earrings available for $90--"a nice little pick-me-up"--and scarves coming in around $200. As well, the majority of the current collection of bags falling between $400 and $1,000.

Fish speaks of her clients as though they were close, valued friends--she only orders one piece of some of her pricier items, because she doesn't want her customers "to run into someone wearing the same thing on the street." Her net of clients extends beyond Canada, particularly when it comes to bespoke orders, which she arranges between the customers and the designers, and she also works closely with bridal parties to create a unique look.

rue pigalle queen westFish offers a discreet and personalized shopping service for men seeking something for the women in their lives, in which she hand-selects and delivers pieces to their home or place of business, complete with roses and a card. She also offers complimentary champagne for shopping parties, with a purchase discount of 10% for the hostess, and her quaint back patio is a shaded space in which to finish an evening, or sip a coffee after you've browsed her ever-rotating stock.

"I love the vibe here, and Queen West is young and vibrant," Fish tells me, "And this is almost a new venture." While it might seem risky to move a shop of this ilk to a neighbourhood notorious for skewing towards a younger, trendier demographic, Fish is excited. "As you get older, it's important to surround yourself with young people. It keeps things interesting."

rue pigalle toronto



gemma / June 20, 2012 at 05:01 pm
Do they serve PBR?
neilson / June 20, 2012 at 05:37 pm
J'aime mieux eko.
Jo / June 20, 2012 at 06:08 pm
Isn't that Igor Kenk's former bike shop? Interesting change.
cathie / June 21, 2012 at 07:54 am
Lovely shop but where's all the stock? I know its all about presentation but based on the two interior photos it looks like there's pretty much nothing in this place.
tem / June 21, 2012 at 08:54 am
*awaits the addition of a cafe & tattoo parlor/hair salon*
shvin replying to a comment from tem / June 21, 2012 at 09:38 am
ahahhahahah @ tem
Maureen replying to a comment from shvin / June 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm
Why not add a cafe and even a candle boutique? The place looks like a hollow loft. Can't really 'shop' with no selection there can you?
MrsPotato / June 21, 2012 at 02:20 pm
can you service 'artisan' chocolate, too?

just do it allllllllllllll!!!
Gembaha / June 21, 2012 at 04:23 pm
Walmart has better stuff. The prices here are downright STUPID. WHO pays $1700 for cheap crap like that?
Colleen / June 23, 2012 at 09:18 pm
This is a beautiful store with unique, well designed products.
Why be overwhelmed with mass produced, inferior quality when you can have only the best? Service and selection like you've never seen before. Everyone should go.
blondeambition replying to a comment from cathie / June 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm
There is a stock room in the basement!
Marvin replying to a comment from Colleen / June 25, 2012 at 11:42 am
This is a beautiful store with unique, well promo'd products.
Come in and be overwhelmed with overpriced copies, lame quality and buy what the sales clerk shills as the best. Service and hype like you've never seen before. Everyone should go and get their wallets plucked clean.
Kaytee replying to a comment from blondeambition / June 28, 2012 at 12:37 pm
And what kind of stock do they sell down there? Beef, chicken, or fish? Are the bowls big?
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KayTorontoCool / June 29, 2014 at 12:30 am
Was in this store for the umpteenth time this weekend. A lady whom I've never seen before who said "she's the other owner" aside Isabelle Fish was horridly rude and snobby. I started to browse, picked up one item and kept looking but didn't need help. The "owner" tried to direct me to more of the same item to which I politely replied "thanks just looking but if I need help I'll be sire to ask you". She replied with " this is my store and you'll give me respect and I'll give you respect or you can leave ". I turned to her and told her that was rude simply because I didn't need help and said I've been in the store before and bought gifts for family and friends there. I immediately left the store and told her her behaviour was rude and disappointing. I've lived in the immediate area for 10+ years and NEVER had a shop owner speak to me like that. I've already started go tell neighbors and friends not to shop their or give them business if that's how they treat customers. And I will continue telling other boutique owners nearby on Queen about that tasteless customer experience. That's how new shops don't last in a neighborhood...

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