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Advice from a Caterpillar
8 Price St., Rosedale
Advice from a Caterpiller is an enchanting store brimming with clothes, toys, accessories, and furniture for babies and littles up to eight years old. For the newborns in your life, shop for the most adorable onesies and rompers from Petit Bateau and Mini Rodini, bunny-eared woolen bonnets, and teeny-tiny sweaters and dresses. You’ll also find really beautiful—and practical—gifts for the mama, our favorite being the chic Moutmout portable changing mats. For older kiddos, choose from puzzles, books, and art supplies for entertainment, as well as a full clothing selection.
Aritzia
1100 Robson St., West End
We’ve long been fans of Vancouver-based Aritzia’s suped-up basics—a well-tailored trench, a crisp poplin ruffled blouse, lacy bralettes, and high-waist trousers, are among our favorites. Robson Street is the brand's flagship, meaning that it's also their largest space (they recently wrapped a 4,800-square-foot expansion). Spanning 13,000-square-feet, the warm interior feels like a well-appointed residence with lots of natural light, an interesting assortment of artwork—much of it by local artists—plus an indoor garden.
Cahier d’Exercices
369 Rue Saint-Paul W., Old Montreal
Located in the heart of Old Montreal, this immaculate boutique has a decidedly minimalist bent. All-white shelving holds accessories by Mansur Gavriel and Commes des Garçons, while sleek racks are home to crisp, architectural pieces by Roland Mouret and Dries van Noten. The inventory is limited, showcasing only select items from each designer's current collection, which speaks to the fact that this is place to find investment pieces.
Charlie & Lee
223 Union St., Strathcona
One of our favorite Vancouver finds, Charlie & Lee is one of those rare independent stores that doesn't adhere to a strict fashion-season calendar—everything is meant to stand the test of time. The owners are major champions of locally made, ethically sourced goods, like woven shoppers, wooden utensils, and a solid round-up of clean beauty products. You’ll find a selection of Scandinavian-style clothing—jumpsuits, dresses, and tops in natural fibers like linen and silk—as well as pieces for the home, including painted cushions and super-soft throws.
Denis Gagnon
70 Saint-Paul St W, Old Montreal
Denis Gagnon has an uncanny ability to work with leather in a way that feels sculptural and romantic at the same time. He works in a largely black palette, and no, his designs aren’t for the faint of heart—with details like exposed gold zippers, sequins, and cutouts on blazers, asymmetrical dresses, and blouses. Gagnon, also known for his thick black eyeglasses and heavy French-Canadian accent, was born in Montreal, so after spending years abroad working in Morocco in costume design, his return was a homecoming. The brand is adored for its eclectic ready-to-wear and custom one-off creations; the flagship store, located on a cobblestoned street in Old Montreal, has been around for almost a decade.
Editions de Robes
5334 St Laurent Blvd., Mile End
In a charming storefront in the boho Mile End enclave, shop owner Julie Pesant’s philosophy is simple: “In order for a dress to find its way into our store, I have to love it enough to want it for myself,” she says. It follows that the shop is a treasure trove of sweet, feminine dresses—everything from classic A-line silhouettes and shifts from the brand’s house line to one-of-a-kind vintage pieces Pesant has handpicked for the store, plus well-known styles from Tibi, Cynthia Rowley, and Elizabeth and James.
Élément de Base
534 McCaffrey, Saint Laurent
The Montreal-based furniture maker is a homegrown, direct-to-consumer outfit: It collaborates with local designers for its robust selection of sofas, armchairs, benches—you name it. And because it works in a smaller way that’s more integrated with the local community, it's able to offer competitive pricing on its pieces, too. The best way to peruse the selection is on the site or via the beautifully curated Instagram feed, but there are also two showrooms in Montreal where you can test out, say, a sectional, in person before you commit.
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