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Aritzia's Spring Show in Toronto: Chain Plans to Roll Out Across USA

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An Aritzia store in Toronto—every location is different

Yesterday afternoon we jetted up to Canada to check out Aritzia's bi-annual fashion show—an exclusive gala event held by the chain store in Vancouver and Toronto every six months to introduce and familiarize the company's sales staff to new season merchandise. Showcasing key spring pieces from each of its eight private labels—TNA, Wilfred Free, Wilfred, T. Babaton, Talula, Le Fou, Community, and, the newest label, A Moveable Feast—the show was a crash course, for us, on the ultra-successful 26-year old retail chain that's about to unleash itself upon the United States. (Especially brilliant—fashion system critics take note—Looks from the show start arriving in-store within days of the event. Plus: Model Irina Lazareanu opened and closed the show.)

This Saturday, Aritzia will soft-open its first Manhattan location—smack in the middle of SoHo. The multi-brand boutique—which, in addition to its own private contemporary labels stocks merch from Acne, Marc by Marc Jacobs, J Brand, Cheap Monday, and more—plans to open one floor of its new location to shoppers on February 5th with a full-scale grand opening happening this May.

The New York store will be the chain's eighth in the United States, after Seattle, Portland, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, and Short Hills. After New York gets set up? Aritzia has plans for a full-scale roll-out across the USA.

Founded in 1984, Aritzia was born out of Vancouver department store Hill’s of Kerrisdale. Targeting the contemporary and teen market, the brand now operates 48 shops in North America. The website says:

We’re inspired by the energy of culture and connecting you to it, bringing everything we love together in one place. Our favourite books and magazines, music you have to hear and, of course, the fashion. Every store design is unique, from the artwork and graphics, to our friends who DJ in-store.While in Toronto, Racked stopped by to peruse the Aritzia location at the Sherway Gardens mall. If you've never been to an Aritzia, but are familiar with mainstream contemporary chain retailers in the United States, the best way we can describe the feel of the shop and merchandise is a cross between BCBG, The Limited, Searle, and the fifth floor at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan—sort of a very welcoming, user-friendly emporium of easy-to-wear, attractive women's apparel. While it may, at first glance, seem to skew a little younger, there are lots of great tailored pieces and workwear items—including jackets, suiting separates, and smart coats—for the 25-and-up set. And there really is something for everybody. There are bright-print and neon sweatshirts and hoodies for the LA/teen/gymrat set, cashmere and linen pullovers for weekend wear, shawl-collar cardigans in a variety of subdued hues, a half-dozen styles and cuts of chic camel coats, tuxedo-inspired jackets, military-inspired parkas, draped silk dresses, cotton florals, millions of henley in every iteration imaginable, jeans from top premium labels, popular Marc by Marc handbag silhouettes, and loads and loads more. Prices range from $12 for a two-pack of athletic socks up to about $400 for a private label coat.

We're excited to see how Aritzia adapts to the New York market—and how the Manhattan store gets merchandised—we've heard great things out of Seattle and San Francisco. Has anyone been to any of the Aritzias in the USA? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Disclosure: Travel to Toronto provided by Aritzia.
· Aritzia [Official Site]
· All Aritzia New York coverage [Racked NY]