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Fashion Stores

V by 69 Vintage (Queen St.)

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Posted on November 15, 2012

v by 69 vintageV by 69 Vintage (Queen St.) opened in the space that previously housed Pho Pa on West Queen West just a few days ago. I'd spied goings-on in the storefront before it properly opened, and was immediately intrigued by the modern, uber fashion-forward footwear and bags on display in the window, and the barebones signage of a roughly-painted V on the front door. Then, the lush furs appeared, and I suspected it'd be vintage. Turns out I was right, but was doubly delighted to find Kealan Sullivan, the woman behind 69 Vintage and 69 Vintage Collective, manning the new store. Sullivan has been in business for 10 years, but her obvious enthusiasm for vintage fashions shows no signs of waning.

v by 69 vintage queen torontoV is, in some ways, a re-birth of Sullivan's less-than-two-year-long concept project, V by 69 Vintage, at 198 Walnut Ave. The original store, which was opened along with curator and long-time 69 Vintage employee, Maggie Groat, was only open on weekends, and completely renovated its stock every six weeks or so. "I got a bit pigeonholed, and it was hard to showcase some pieces that didn't really fit in, so I opened (the original) V." The shop featured rotating themes and aesthetics that, predictably, didn't consistently appeal to everyone.

v by 69 vintage queen torontoAfter she scored the new storefront, Sullivan mulled on what she'd call it. "I was going to think of a new name, but I really liked V; maybe V didn't quite find its rhythm on Walnut, but this (new store) is sort of the V aesthetic." The new V is larger than the Walnut location, with white walls and minimal decoration (including rough wood benches, an almost armored dress form, and changing areas divided by dreamy white curtains).

v by 69 vintage queen torontoBut the first-thing you'll notice upon walking in to V is its eye for curation (yes, that word again). I've been known to eschew vintage shops in the past for their lack of product that could translate to the here and now, and tend not to troll the city in search of the "thrill of the find" (because, really, ain't nobody got time for that). Conversely, Sullivan's stock is right on the nose. From a beautiful Chloe cape ($425), to tailored Michael Hoban leather pants ($275), to a myriad of hand-stitched gloves, V's stuff is au courant.

v by 69 vintage queen torontoA studio is currently being erected in the basement, and it'll house Canadian designer Evan Biddell part-time. He'll be undertaking much of the shop's tailoring needs and continuing a very well-priced capsule collection of leather-accented knitwear (which sold out of its initial run within the first weekend) specifically for V.

v by 69 vintage queen torontoIn the front, you'll find peach, cream and taupe hues in capes, jackets and shirts, followed by a rack of tough-edged black leather pieces. In the back, you'll find some higher-priced and truly stunning stock including beaded gowns, coats, and a silk chinoiserie-style jacket from Shanghai for $175.

v by 69 vintage queen torontoFur coats bought directly from fur dealers are priced around $550 and up, while you can easily score an arctic fox stole for around $125. The store's jewellery collection is still being unpacked, but you'll find gold-hued chokers and knotted chains, feather earrings, and an eclectic selection of rings. Sullivan is also planning jewellery collaborations with local designers, and currently showcases crystal-and-silver rings for $90.

v by 69 vintage queen torontoThen, there's the wall of shoes, which has made many an appearance on Instagram already. From unworn Cole Haan boots, to Kenneth Cole lace-ups ($120), to cowboy-esque Anne Klein and industrial-grade boots, the prices range from $120-$300-ish.

v by 69 vintage queen torontoA variety of black bags (around $140-$240) hang from the walls, with everything from totes, to leather saddlebags, to briefcases available, or you can opt for a 100%-lizard bag for $120. "I want to keep things accessible," Sullivan says.

v by 69 vintage queen toronto"I have new problems now," Sullivan tells me. "What if we sell out? We're sold out of cashmere and Evan's knits." I've already made two visits to V and have noticed markedly different stock. In fact, l both feel quietly in love with a pair of two-tone booties and experienced the heartbreak of having them be snatched up by someone else--during the same visit.

v by 69 vintage queen torontoFortunately, this is countered by Sullivan's commitment to refreshing the stock daily, which is something of a double-edged sword. "When they're gone, they're gone, and for the girls that haven't come in yet, I have to make sure the items we carry are equally strong"--something that, having watched her pinpoint things that customers didn't even yet know they wanted upon walking in, I very much doubt she'll struggle with.

v by 69 vintage queen torontoSullivan's vision is for the store to carry around 60% re-worked vintage, but she's adamant that she'd never alter a piece that was already perfect. "The re-worked product comes out of the fact that it's almost perfect, but not," and she includes both vintage items that are "useless" (for having been abused and mis-handled) or "not current enough to sell" in that category. Nips and tucks here and there modernize the silhouette.

v by 69 vintage queen torontoLong story short: V is a playground, and following from the old true-ism that fashion is cyclical, you'll find pieces that closely resemble those in current magazine editorials, at a fraction of the price, and long before they trickle into neighbouring stores. There'll also be menswear added to the stock soon. The potential caveat? You might have to buy on the spot, although Sullivan is amenable to putting things on hold.



Rafa / November 15, 2012 at 04:21 pm
Boo fur. Don't care if its old or used...not something that should be promoted.
hellebelle / November 15, 2012 at 04:57 pm
vintage or not, fur is still creepy.
ALB / November 15, 2012 at 06:12 pm
if your not gonna comment on the leather then don't comment on the fur. I'm sure you know they from the same place.
Northerner / November 15, 2012 at 06:26 pm
Did you guys know there's actually life above Bloor?
Ya might want to expand your horizons a bit. Try Gypsy on St Clair West, for example.
Just sayin'.
MrsPotato / November 15, 2012 at 09:02 pm
Another reader/poster kinda revolted to see fur.
Time Travelling Victorian Lady / November 16, 2012 at 09:24 am
Fur, luxurious fur, the saviour of man and his swaddling offspring throughout the history of time. I've seen it. Nothing is more lovely and vital for our dress, excepting leather. One fur fur, and fur for al!!!
hellebelle / November 16, 2012 at 11:35 am
leather is gross too, but fur is more obviously creepy. do people even buy or wear fur any more?
wb / November 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm
yes. Yes they do. They also wear silk which, as I'm sure you know, involves killing the organism that produces it. Ditto with cotton.

golly, what are you going to wear now that all those gross and creepy options are off the table?
LA replying to a comment from hellebelle / November 17, 2012 at 07:35 pm
I just ACCIDENTALLY purchased a pair of gloves and hat lined with real fur! I bought them from a store in Kensington Market (new, not used) and after getting home and taking off the tags and re-trying on the hat and gloves, I realized that they were real fur!!! I didn't even look to check in the store since I honestly didn't think that people still do that, and I just assumed it was synthetic. I didn't think the store I purchased them would even sell real fur….. I had already removed all the store tags and everything, and I had lost the receipt, so there's no returning them now. I feel super guilty about this purchase. (Especially since I am vegetarian.)

Lynda / November 18, 2012 at 07:42 pm
I still buy fur as do many obviously. That is why shops like these carry fur items.

What an antiquated idea that fur is THE issue.

Those who pick fur as a cause do so because it's an easy target. That's where their commitment to the cause of animal cruelty begins and ends. Lazy and cowardly. How do you think down for duvets and coats is harvested? Leather is entirely common place. A much larger group wears down and leather.
Junction / November 20, 2012 at 09:56 am
For real....
Without fur, leather, animal hides, silks...none of us would be here today! What did our ancestors wear??
Exactly like others posted, if you are hating on fur...I better not be seeing you with leather boots, bags on! Btw if we are really going there...synthetic furs, and synthetic materials, are super bad for the environment! Also you better be checking all your cosmetic products for animal sources.
I mean to each their own really, but hating on people for their freedom to choose is not cool.
Dana / January 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm
So working in a clothing store makes me a "curator" now? Awesome, my parents will be so proud!
Vardit / February 11, 2013 at 09:52 am
Your message machine on your phone is not working so I will email here. How much would you pay for a raccoon fur muff to put your hands in circa middle 1940's?
apimom / February 21, 2013 at 07:59 am
Fur bad
leather shoes bad
plastic shoes - the ultimate - made from crude oil
feathers bad
synthetic comforter fibres - the ultimate - made from crude oil.

Yes, there is the plant alternative like bamboo and cotton. Cotton is the highest non organic fertilizer and pestizide using crop there is - maybe peanuts beat that.

People! Think before you comment! How bad is any crude oil product for the planet versus using leather which is as mentioned before, "shaved fur". Don't let me catch the fur haters in leather shoes, belts and similar!
Ami / May 3, 2013 at 01:25 pm
The fur trade was a huge part of the natives way of life. and was a necessity to survive in sub-zero temperatures. yes, not all fur did not originally come from these resources, and all was not worn by people only in insanely freezing parts of the world. but you know what? they still exist. These beautiful pieces still exist and i believe that vintage fur celebrates the style of these particular eras so beautifully and also makes and we should appreciate them and make use of them as long as we can. it's not just about looking a certain way for all that wear vintage fur. it's more about the appreciation of pieces themselves and making the most out of the beautiful furs that came from these animals 50-80 years ago.
Elise / May 3, 2013 at 02:23 pm
I don't bash vegan and vegetarian's for their choices. Stop hating, criticizing and making moral judgements on others. Everyone is free to make whatever choice they want. Those that think their choice makes them superior to another, get over yourself.
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