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Style Aldo’s Queen West store draws inspiration from neighbourhood’s colourful back alleys

Aldo's concept store on Queen Street West in Toronto.

Aldo

Sometimes the best inspiration can be found right in your own backyard or, in Aldo’s case, back alley. When designing its new concept store on Queen Street West in Toronto, the Montreal-based shoe brand took inspiration from the area’s colourful laneways, which gained national recognition as the backdrop to Rick Mercer’s CBC rants and have since become a well-Instagrammed tourist attraction. Known as Aldo Alley, the renovated store offers a fun, casual environment for shoppers to interact with ladies and men’s footwear, handbags and accessories.

Most eye-catching is the exterior of the store, which is adorned with a colourful mural by Italian artist Enrico Marcato. Marcato also painted the sculptural tree at the centre of the store, which is surrounded by moveable seating for trying on shoes. Each component of the store was customized with flexibility in mind. “Our ambition was to create a space where consumers could not only connect with our brand and products, but also with the artistic and architectural influences that are unique to Queen Street West,” says Caroline Poirier, design director of brand environments at the Aldo Group.

Visual art has always been important at the Aldo Group, which has around 350 pieces in its corporate collection, including works by Canadian artists Kim Dorland and Claude Tousignant. In August, the brand released its Mx3 Artist Series, a limited-edition collection of five sneakers featuring the designs of global street artists, including Montreal’s Pony. It’s a catchy aesthetic that feeds into the core fall collection, a playful mix of contemporary classics and more trend-focused pieces.

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Medalogo handbag, $50

Aldo

Mirethien sneakers, $85

Aldo

Mozgala mules, $90

Aldo

This week’s style news

Inland returns on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 for its eighth seasonal consumer and industry showcase of Canadian fashion. Held at QRC West (134 Peter St.) in Toronto, Inland is a shoppable event for consumers and industry alike to explore more than 70 emerging and established fashion and accessories brands from across the country, including Montreal, Calgary, Halifax and Toronto. The focus is on contemporary fashion that’s primarily manufactured here and demonstrates dedication to ethical and sustainable production. This season marks the introduction of the Studio, a complementary retail space reserved for promising graduates of the Toronto Fashion Incubator, Ryerson Fashion Zone, OCAD U Material Art & Design, Seneca Fashion and George Brown Fashion programs.

On Sept. 27, culture writer, critic and Globe and Mail contributor Nathalie Atkinson is hosting the next screening in her regular fashion film series, Designing the Movies. Held at the Revue Cinema in Toronto, this week’s edition looks at the 1975 film Mahogany, which stars Diana Ross as Tracy, an aspiring designer from the slums of Chicago who puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world’s top designers. Along with guest Suzanne Boyd, editor-in-chief of Zoomer magazine, Atkinson will dive into a conversation about Ross, divas and the racial politics of fashion. For tickets, visit revuecinema.ca.

Iconic New York jeweller Tiffany & Co. has added a new engagement-ring style to its portfolio. Called Tiffany True, it boasts a contemporary, contoured diamond cut along with geometric lines and ultrafine detailing. The fancy-cut diamond exposes more surface area on the diamond’s main facet to enhance its shine. With a discreet “T” on its side, the delicate band of the ring is designed to sit low on the finger and to reflect light in a way that doesn’t compete with the stone. The ring is available in platinum with a colourless true-cut diamond or in 18-karat yellow gold with a fancy yellow cushiohttp://hoame.ca/n modified brilliant diamond.

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As mindfulness continues to gain popularity, a new studio dedicated to meditation has opened in Toronto. Located at 430 Adelaide St. W., Hoame spans 5,000 square feet, including a Himalayan rock-salt cave, infrared sauna and light and dark meditation rooms. Classes will revolve around seated meditation, mindful movement and spiritual workouts designed to work with the needs of the busy city-dweller. Additional workshops will address trending wellness topics such as cupping, CBD and crystals.

Visit tgam.ca/newsletters to sign up for the Globe Style e-newsletter, your weekly digital guide to the players and trends influencing fashion, design and entertaining, plus shopping tips and inspiration for living well. And follow Globe Style on Instagram @globestyle.

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