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William Ashley called on DesignAgency to redo the space.

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Tableware and home-decor institution William Ashley has opened the doors to its new flagship in Toronto. Located in the Colonnade, a designated heritage building in the city’s Yorkville neighbourhood, the 15,000-square-foot space offers an updated approach to outfitting the home. It’s the brand’s fourth iteration on Bloor Street since Tillie Abrams (a.k.a. Mrs. Ashley) founded the company in 1947.

To create a contemporary shopping space while respecting the integrity of one of the city’s more iconic modernist buildings, William Ashley called on DesignAgency, the Canadian studio behind other Toronto revamps such as the Broadview Hotel and Soho House. The result is a bright and airy space reminiscent of a jewel box.

Jackie Chiesa, president of William Ashley, says the new location offers an elevated store experience, engaging customers through personalized customer service and access to more than 200,000 products from 200 brands. To that end, William Ashley will be hosting its own events such as wine tastings and classes on floral arranging. “We want to have lots of elements of surprise in the space and opportunity to learn about the product hands on,” she says.

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One unique part of the store is the lounge. Featuring furnishings by Jonathan Adler, a new brand addition to William Ashley’s roster, the café-like environment with windows overlooking the University of Toronto campus has seating for 12 and offers tea by Kusmi and coffee by Nespresso. Beverages are served in Herend china. “Our roots come from British bone china,” Chiesa says. “When Mrs. Ashley, our founder, started the company 71 years ago, she brought in fine English bone china ware to Canada and really introduced the Canadian marketplace to quality tableware.”

The store also caters to an increasing number of clients with smaller living spaces. “We definitely see people looking for those unique statement items that just make the room pop and are really a focal point,” Chiesa says. “In smaller spaces, you don’t need a lot.”

Style happenings

For those with beach season on the brain, a pop-up in Toronto has you covered. Cobalt Swim and Stray & Wander will be at 38 Ossington Ave. from May 7 to 24, where they will be selling their swimwear, resort wear and Turkish towels and blankets. For more information, visit www.cobaltswim.com and www.strayandwander.com.

As part of its ongoing commitment to sustainable operations, Hugo Boss has released a new Boss Menswear shoe produced with Pinatex, a material made of pineapple leaf fibres. Available in four colours made using plant-based dyes, the lace-up shoe is on offer at select Boss stores and online. For more information, visit www.hugoboss.com.

From noon until 7 p.m. on May 11, Toronto-based jewellery line Jenny Bird is hosting its biannual sample sale at 174 Spadina Ave. The brand is partnering with Dress for Success, a support network for women seeking economic independence, to raise clothing donations. Customers can bring in one item of clothing to donate and will receive $10 off of their purchase. For more information, visit www.jenny-bird.com.

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