Free People opens its first international store in Yorkville
By Emily Ramshaw
Boho-chic in Yorkville (Images: Emily Ramshaw)
Free People officially opened its Toronto store today, and yesterday we got a sneak peak at the new space, perfectly situated in a three-storey building in Yorkville. The store channels the brand’s signature haute boho aesthetic, but the simple white exterior belies the profusion of floral prints and patchwork waiting inside.
To source the ’60s threads upon which many of Free People’s designs are based, one would have to venture into thrift stores and flea markets. But walking into this space, we were hit with the scent of wild flowers and not the olfactory telltale of vintage.
The store occupies all three storeys of the building. The top floor — where some paisley print denim caught our eye — houses “hand-painted dressing rooms” and a seating area with a window that looks down on Yorkville Avenue. In this, Free People may have done the impossible and made a truly inviting changing room area, with its soft lighting and oversized cushions.
This location separates itself from the pack (there are 72 Free People stores currently in the US) as the first to feature a separate storefront for the intimates collection, which is accessible only from the street. This gives it the pleasant feeling of a small shop — an environment perfectly conducive to picking out underpinnings.
Yorkville became the location of choice for Free People’s inaugural international store after the brand received multiple invitations from fans through Facebook and Twitter. And while Free People merchandise is already sold in stores all over the city, a standalone store is a great way to increase the brand’s visibility.
When we visited, there was a colourfully painted bicycle chained to the store’s wrought iron fence complete with a basket full of wild flowers. With a crowd-pleaser like that, Free People is sure to prove popular among Toronto shoppers looking for hippie-chic wears.
From plaid shirts ($68 and up) to baby-doll lace dresses ($148) to a vegan leather jacket ($198), there are pieces for the festival-attending, peace-loving bohemian in all of us.
The next Canadian location is slated to open on Aug. 31 in Calgary’s Chinook Centre.
Free People, 79 Yorkville Avenue, 416-515-1555