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Antonio Ortega Couture opened on Montreal's Sherbrooke Street in December.Thomas Königsthal Jr/Handout

Antonio Ortega may have moved to Montreal for love, but the city’s international flair has proven to be the ideal home for his namesake fashion label. “The city is not conventional, so there’s less codifications about dressing and that gives me freedom,” he says. Originally from Mexico, Ortega left for Paris to pursue fashion design before moving to Montreal in 2003, working out of his studio and presenting his collections on runways in Canada and Paris. Last December, he opened the doors to his first boutique.

Located on a plum corner of Sherbrooke Street, just a block west of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the store is an homage to Ortega’s craft. Letting the clothes take centre stage, the space is primarily white save for an oversized red button affixed above a door that Ortega chose to represent the final stage of making a garment. “When you sew on a button, it’s the last part of the couture. It means that everything is done,” he says. Overhead, a 14-metre long sewing needle hangs from the ceiling as a representation of hand stitching. “It’s probably one of the biggest needles in North America,” he says.

Ortega says he wants customers to 'feel embraced by uniqueness and exclusivity' in his boutique.Thomas Königsthal Jr

Inside of his boutique, Ortega has nurtured the ambiance of an intimate salon, giving his clients undivided attention and a comfortable place to experiment with fashion. “It’s playful. This is your runway,” he says. The boutique offers one-of-a-kind pieces and ready-to-wear for men and women plus accessories. “Once you’re inside, you feel embraced by uniqueness and exclusivity.”

Boutique Antonio Ortega Couture, 1460 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, 438-387-0827,

  • Antonio Ortega top, $490, pants, $350, hat, $250.

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