Annie Aime is the latest concept shop to set up camp on the stretch of Ossington which has seen an incredible influx of new storess, restaurants and even gourmet butchers (seriously, you gotta try the pulled pork sandwich at Cote de Boeuf ). Owner Annie Mesenge is no stranger to the Toronto retail scene, having opened the appointment-only boutique French Accents in Yorkville over 15 years ago.
The Parisienne fashion purveyor is passionate about what she does, and it shows in the expertly curated boutique which features lines from all over Europe as well as a few local Toronto brands ( Outclass for men and Crawford Street Skin Care for the ladies).
Breaking away from the Yorkville set, Mesenge envisioned a store that truly expressed her passion for creativity. Everything carried in Annie Aime exemplifies her style ethos; well-made, wearable, fashion-forward and most importantly, different. Take French designer Helene ClĂŠment, a former architect cum designer whose incredible convertible trench coats (starting at $1,200) are made from high-tech fabrics and can be worn as one garment or separated into a jacket and skirt (a look which Mesenge excitedly models for me with a twirl).
I'm distracted almost immediately by an odd pair of shoes hanging from an iron rod. Created by Italian design house Veeshoo, these unique flats, which come in styles for men ($350) and women ($380), are the perfect embodiment of that marriage of style and practicality Mesenge stresses, featuring a zipper that separates the sole from the entire body of the shoe for optimal packing ease.
For those looking for a truly French fix, classic Parisian label Saint James' striped shirts are in stock for men, women and kids and are the perfect multi-season staple. I've cherished my Saint James top for over a decade after pinching it out of my mom's closets all those years ago.
The creative aesthetic of the store's offerings is perfectly mirrored in the gallery-like space, designed by neighboring design firm +tongtong, and featuring industrial fixtures, from iron pipes for hanging and an incredible brick-layered cash desk.Graffiti by street artist Pascale Piquette is integrated throughout the space, complimenting the eclectic array of garments. Home design selections from former Christian Dior supplier Evelyne Prelonge are quirky and fun, with cotton-fur accent pieces that are truly Parisian chic.
This new spot is really a treat for all the senses and an exciting new space on a block that is really making a name for itself as the fashion epicenter of Toronto shopping.
As reads on Annie Aime's website : Every French woman knows, looking good is not about quantity. Looking good is about having clothes that fit and flatter and function.
Annie Aime is open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Photos by Morris Lum
Note: When the post initially went up, it was implied that design firm +tongtong had created the graffiti pictured throughout the store. This has been corrected as the art is actually by popular street artist, Pascale Piquette.