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The Shops Travel Guides Don't List


Not only is Liane Kotler a closet stand-up comic, she's been a CBC New's researcher and is now an associate producer with TVOntario's Studio Two. Liane has lived in seven different cities in five different countries but she still loves shopping in Toronto best. Liane writes...

Hoax Couture

Body One When I'm going to a party where I know I'll see an ex-boyfriend I head straight to Hoax Couture for something new. In Hoax clothes I can walk into the room and see regret all over his face. Designers Jim Searle and Chris Tyrell have helped make Toronto women (and men) look ab fab for over a decade. Their clothes draw on the classics: suits, blouses, mini cocktail dresses but they bring out the funk and whimsy that make women's clothes so interesting. You can even wear their clothes to work. The designs are sassy and you'll be taken seriously...a fine balance Hoax creations achieve every time. This fall they're taking their Canadian designs from their studio and into a retail space that promises to be every bit as splashy as their clothes. "We plan to make the front window look like a giant mobile," Searle explains. The mannequins will be suspended from the ceiling and they'll be in perpetual motion showing off every angle of their designs. Something I can't wait to see in September at 114 Cumberland in Yorkville Phone 1-888-333-HOAX


Body Two If you want to see your man look every bit as great as you do in Hoax, take him to Mannequin (760A College St. West, Phone 533-0794) He'll look 'fashion forward' without going overboard. Judging from Owner Antonio Vieira's selection of men's only clothes, he goes for the European machismo look blended with North American Sensitive New Age Guy. This man's no fool. When you walk into the store the scent is enough to drive a woman to her knees. You guessed it! Italian aftershaves are purposely sprayed in the store--scents like Enrico Coveri and Lancetti Monsieur which are only available in Toronto at Mannequin. Manager Johnny Rodrigues, who is enough of a reason to stop into the store...very TDH (tall dark and handsome) takes true pleasure in dressing men well. The store's stock includes Turbulence (designs from Quebec worn by John Travolta and Montel Williams) as well as a great selection of dressy casual suits. Mondo Uomo looks great on my beau James who bought a suit the day I was there with him brushing up for this story. It's an affordable and chic cool wool in cream. Yumm.

Pages Books and Magazines

Enough primping you say, try some intellectual pursuits. Than take some time to browse the books at Pages Books and Magazines, 256 Queen West. You'll find a "left-leaning" focus here -- hard-to-find magazines like Herizons: Women's News and Feminist Views or Bust which is the antithesis of fashion mags. In books, you'll find an extensive gay and lesbian studies section and a fabulous Canadian small press literature section. (Phone 598-1447) .


Space offers edgy furniture and homewares that are unique, unique, unique. The furniture is hand welded in the basement. Everything from wrought iron bed frames and chaise lounges to tulip shaped lamps. Essentially the look is a mix of retro and contemporary in one. Now I know you can't fit a sofa in your suitcase but it's still fun to look. And while you're there, pick up some hand made tiles by Sian McKenna. They're about, 3 inches by 3 inches and beautifully hand-painted in Celtic designs. Sian takes the utility of tiles and turns them into pure artistry. Makes a perfect, packable gift for someone special. 479 Queen St. East. (955-4559)

Mud Beach Ceramic Studio

Loving Cup If you'd like to consider yourself an artiste, check out Mud Beach Ceramic Studio in the Beaches region of the city. Here, they'll hand you a perfectly crafted ceramic vase, plate, bowl...take your pick. You paint it whatever way you like and they'll fire it in their kiln. No matter what your level of drawing you'll be surprised at how good the cartoon colors look, even if you just draw stripes. And don't worry about packing breakables. They'll mail it to you wherever you live. These people know how to pack fragiles so they will survive even the most treacherous of trips. This fun spot is located at 1120 Queen St. East (465-6832).


If I lived on a deserted island and could only take one Toronto shop with me, that would be Pavilion. They sell picture frames, candles, knickknacks, antiques. But their selection has nothing to do with your Great Aunt Tilly's house. Nothing boring here. The shop is ironically modern in it's approach to antiques--a pared down uncluttered style, with elements of Victoriana. But I still haven't told you the real reason behind my love of this shop. Pavilion is located in a special district of Toronto. 75 years ago it was a poor immigrant neighborhood, mainly Jewish. My step-father grew up in the same building where Pavilion stands today. 670 Queen West (504-9859)


Washing the Dog When you're tired of the shopping and just want to go back to the hotel to have a bath you'll want to check out Lush: natural soothing products for you're toilette--as the French say. Because of Lush I know there's a God. Huh? Last summer I was in London and on my last day there I was shopping for a gift for my housemate Alison. I happened on Lush in Covent Garden and I found the perfect bath bomb...a baking soda (baseball- sized) ball with flower petals and fragrance that fizzes and melts in your bath. Well, I left the store quite sad even though I'd found the perfect gift. "Why can't a great city like Toronto have a shop like that?" I wondered out loud. On my first day back home I strolled down Queen, (obviously my favorite street in the city) and what had opened up while I was gone? Lush. Thank you God. (Now at three locations in Toronto -- 312 Queen West, 277 and 2374 Yonge St).

The Spa at Elmwood

I know travelling and shopping is stressful at times but don't worry, Cai Lin is a massage therapist who, like Lush is also a gift from God. He has magic hands and a gentle strong approach to a stressed out body. I'm tempted not to tell you where he works because he may be Toronto's best kept secret...okay, twist my Cai Lin well - massaged arm...he's at the Spa at the Elmwood on 18 Elm Street (977-6751).

Her Shopping words...

The less I pay for something, the more it is worth to me. I have a dress that I paid so little for that I am afraid to wear it. I could spill something on it, and then how could I replace it for that amount of money? Tell me that.
(Source: The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women - Rosalie Maggio)





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