John Fluevog (Distillery District)
John Fluevog Shoes' new spot at the Distillery District is draped in history, and although the shoe retailer can somewhat relate, their design aesthetic is a tad (read: a lot) more progressive than most. Fluevog's shoes have been available on Queen Street (the ideal backdrop for the bold and bizarre merchandise) since the late '80's, but the abandoned whisky distillery aesthetic works as an intriguing visual juxtaposition for the quirky footwear.
The boutique's high ceilings, charmingly tall windows, and enormous full-body mirror make it seem more spacious than it already is, but the best part is that it's filled to the brim with shoes of supple leather and quality soles. Both men's and women's are methodically placed on tables and modular wooden stands — the first to catch my eye are the 5-eye boots for women right at the front of the store, available in flamboyant hues and patterns like acid green and polka dots ($265). The cow hair pointed loafers ($275) and the paisley boots with laser cutouts ($325) follow closely behind.
The men's footwear is sadly (but logically) much tamer, taking classic shapes and adding just a little bit of flare. The brown derbies with a teal sole ($289) and multi-coloured wingtips ($285) are understated silhouettes in overstated colourways.
Although all of these styles are available online and at the Queen Street location, there are two unique to the Distillery District store: slingbacks with an all-over floral pattern for women ($259) and two-tone brogues for men ($289). In the next couple of months, customers will also be able to modify nude leather shoes to their liking; it'll be the first of the Fluevog chain to offer custom dyeing, buffing, and distressing.
After a lengthy period of perusing, Fluevog's decision to open in Toronto's Distillery District became clear. Despite the obvious contrast with anything blatantly modern — and with the continued development of restaurants, cafÃ©s, art galleries, and other shops in the area — the buzzing tourist attraction turns out to be a strangely perfect place for John Fluevog Shoes.
Photos by Woodrow Walden