The Danforth isn't exactly a hotbed of fashion activity - with the exception of the nearby Lustre , it can be hard to find places in which to browse to kill time between gyros, so Studio Labiri is a welcome haven for fashionistas looking for a stylish midtown option.
I always like visiting stores off the beaten fashion path of Queen Street and Yorkville , and Studio Labiri yields plenty of lovely lines and a well-edited collection of colourful pieces that are anything but boring.
The shop is stocked with contemporary lines like Tara Jarmon , By Malene Birger , Milly , Alice + Olivia , Tracy Reese , and Robert Rodriguez . The styles are suited to those with a sense of confidence - the clothes here have bold lines, strong colour, and definite detailing. The feeling is lively, not loud. As owner Mary Labiri puts it, "We wanted to be anti-mall. I'm drawn to colour, and there has to be detail. There's minimalist dressing, and I wanted to stay away from that, but still be modern and sophisticated with an edge."
The matching contemporary price-tags (think $200 - $900) might be a little out of my everyday price-range, but the pieces are right up my alley, and would make for great investment pieces.
A pale pink wool Tara Jarmon belted blazer with bell sleeves ($625), black wide-legged By Malene Birger pants ($280) and a vest lined in pony-printed silk ($225), and the printed silk Milly dresses would work well for work, while those looking for something to wear for a night out could turn to the rainbow of Robert Rodriguez or Madison Marcus offerings.
(I thought some of the store's separates, however, steered too much into disco nightmare territory, such as orange fun-fur, yellow lace, silver-hair dresses, and coats of massive black paillettes. The same goes double for the back of the store, which holds a few racks' worth of somewhat-hideous prom-type dresses. I mean, who wears that stuff?)
But what I really went wild for was the store's excellent collection of coats. "We try not to bring in black coats," Labiri laughed. Hear, hear - I find winter doubly drearified by the rank and file of black toppers marching by for months on end.
Remedy that with Studio Labiri outerwear like a Tara Jarmon sixties-style coral A-line jacket ($639) or a yellow herringbone Robert Rodriguez coat with a swingy bottom and a thick black satin ribbon threaded up the placket ($875). There were plenty of other beautiful choices from Milly and others (and even a few black ones, too), with Labiri trying to stock fun coats year-round.
What a wonderful idea, I thought - why let the Toronto weather claim another fashion victim?