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Style A dress-rental boutique’s new digs highlight a growing interest in leasing special-occasion attire

Toronto-based boutique The Fitzroy specializes in rentals.

Maintaining a wardrobe that keeps up with a full social calendar is a time consuming (and often cost prohibitive) endeavour that, thanks to pioneers in the garment sharing economy such as the Fitzroy, is no longer a required. This Toronto-based boutique specializes in fashion rentals for special occasions, including dresses, accessories and outerwear, giving clients stylish options without a big up front investment. “Women want to have variety in their wardrobes and this is a way for them to have that variety and not have to spend hundreds of dollars on one dress,” says Julie Buczkowski, who co-founded The Fitzroy with Angela Pastor.

Originally operating as a women’s fashion pop-up, the Fitzroy opened its first permanent rental-dedicated shop in 2016. It only took two years for the business to outgrow the space before moving to a new, larger location in the city’s booming Junction Triangle neighbourhood. Sitting at 2,500 square feet, Fitzroy’s new store is designed to feel like a dress-up lover’s paradise. “We wanted to design it to be a place where women feel really comfortable and like it’s a dream dress land,” says Buczkowski.

With plenty of room to lounge on velvet sofas and daybeds, The Fitzroy stocks dresses in a wide range of sizes and styles from buzzy labels such as Realisation Par and Reformation. According to Buczkowski, going the rental route is a budget-smart approach to dressing that’s not going away any time soon. “You don’t need these kinds of gala or even cocktail dresses sitting in your closet.”

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The Fitzroy, 225 Sterling Rd., Toronto, 416-901-6572, fitzroyrentals.com.

Rixo London Samantha Sequin Mini Dress, $100 for a four-day rental.

Whiting & Davis Rio Change Fringe Bag, $35 for a four-day rental.

Aidan Maddox Anastasia Beaded Tulle Gown, $100 for a four-day rental.

Style news

Sneaker brand Converse has partnered with London-based fashion label Shrimps on a winter capsule collection. Known for her work in colourful faux fur, Shrimps creative director Hannah Weiland has brought that playful sense of style to Converse’s signature silhouettes and additional matching apparel. Launching on Dec. 13, both the Chuck 70 Hi and the One Star shoes have been made over in Shrimps style, including accents of faux fur in powder pink and black and graphic designs inspired by Shrimps’ earliest collection. The apparel, which includes a hoodie and sweatpants, offers an athleisure-inspired interpretation of the fun Shrimps aesthetic. For more information, visit converse.ca.

New York-based jeweller Tiffany & Co. is bringing Big Apple festivity to Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre with its sponsorship of the mall’s holiday tree. The Tiffany Tree features more than 5,000 ornaments from the brand, including a chrome drawing figure that traces its origins to the store’s 1960s window displays. To add even more sparkle to the holidays, Tiffany also launched a holiday pop-up shop at Yorkdale, open through Jan. 3. The assortment of holiday gifts includes jewellery, charms, fragrance and items for the home. For more information, visit tiffany.ca.

A long-time shopping, dining and culture destination in Toronto has a new app to help consumers connect with local businesses. The West Queen West Business Improvement Area has teamed up with Driftscape, an app that shares local arts, culture and history in Toronto. While exploring local retail offerings, Driftscape users will be able to learn about the neighbourhood, through information on historic buildings, parks and more. Users who buy a West Queen West neighbourhood gift card, available through westqueenwest.ca and accepted at more than 70 restaurants, services and retailers, will receive an extra 50 per cent to spend. For more information, visit driftscape.com.

Dr. Alexandra Palmer, the Royal Ontario Museum’s Nora E. Vaughan senior curator, textiles & fashions, has published a new book on Christian Dior. In Christian Dior: History and Modernity, 1947 - 1957, Palmer explores the origins of the famous Dior New Look, a pioneering style that revolutionized the world of haute couture in the days following the Second World War. At 280 pages, the beautifully illustrated book draws from the museum’s extensive Dior archives and offers a thoroughly researched explanation of Dior’s innovative design signatures and how his fresh aesthetic attained global success. For more information, visit rom.on.ca.

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