I did not feel like being out and about on a rainy Tuesday evening, but after a getting off the streetcar a few stops west of where I normally land, I found Chasse Gardee. The name, loosely translated. means private hunting grounds . There's no wild game here, but it's definitely somewhere I could do some sole searching - soles to be correct.
My first thought - this must where people with very lucky feet go to buy their shoes.
I was aching to click my heels in a pair from this Queen and Dovercourt Boutique, recently opened in late December. Limited quantities assure buyers that everybody-and-their-mothers won't be wearing the same sweet booties by Jeffrey Campbell, YMC, Belstaff, or Tiger of Sweden.
Though the shoes are the piece de resistance - the store carries an exquisite array of accessories, in belts, purses, tees, and the occasional dress, or jacket.
Daniela Bosco, the owner, explained to me that her client base will "appreciate pieces minus a commercial label". Filling out most of Chasse Gardee's collection this Spring, are shoes and clothes from NYC based Slow and Steady wins the Race , exclusive to the shop. The brand is built around classic wardrobe staples with irony and innovation worked into the details allowing for a non-conformist yet polished look.
I nosed though all of the treasure, and being a resident of Queen W. myself, I definitely understood that the locale of this joint was no mistake. Bosco explained that her taste reflects the neighborhood her shop resides in, cool with undertones of luxe and eccentricity.
She carries eclectic pieces for those who love the high/low fashion pairing, I'm thinking - American Apparel tees and Cheap Monday denim accented with a vegan leather bag by Hyde SK (ranging from $230 - $880), and a pair of black and white YMC loafers ($375). I was, however, charmed that not everything comes with a hefty tag; some prices are surprisingly recession friendly (well, if you are planning to recession in style).
Daniela wants people to see her store as a "cultural hub", and she is definitely not just talking. I was pleasantly surprised when the innovative entrepreneur told me that her shop will be used for yoga classes, dance classes, art parties, you name it. This smart retailer knows that no matter how great your product is you've got to make rent, "If you've got a space use it", she declares. The space is stunning with great exposed brick and highly glossed wood, and super high ceilings designed by Daniela and built by her posse of girlfriends. Can I live here?
I went in on a particularly dank and cold day and was instantly warmed by the space. I felt so relaxed hanging out on the couch and talking fashion with Daniela, and though some of Chasse Gardee's prices may reflect Yorkville , the vibe is entirely west of the park.
Writing by Louisa Cohen. Photos by Eugen Sakhnenko