Zen and the art of shopping
The Globe and Mail, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007
Though its a fun way to spend an afternoon, sometimes shopping can be less than soothing.
Jostling for space with other bargain hunters among racks overflowing with the latest must-haves and shouting to the salesperson over blaring music are not exactly conducive to a chilled-out experience.
Once in a while, though, you walk out with bags in hand and a Zen-like smile on your face, having lost all track of time in a boutique that has got it right. Like the new Gravity Pope Tailored Goods clothing store.
The 1800-square-foot space is the sister shop to the popular Gravity Pope shoe store next door and joins Gravity Pope clothing and shoe stores in Edmonton and Calgary.
Walk in and the first striking features aren't the Tocca dresses or Paul Smith cardigans.
White Carrera marble floors glisten and gleam. Light from the mirrored, spinning chandelier bounces off the walls. Two reupholstered Louis XIV chairs sit against the back wall underneath iridescent aluminum light fixtures, grouped as an installation piece, while a dapper antique mannequin from Paris stands watch.
The store was designed by Edmonton-based interiors guru Peter Turner.
"You walk in and it feels a little bit cinematic in here sometimes," manager Natalie Tersigni says.
"When the light's right and the music's right, and the mirrored chandelier is spinning, it's a little surreal. It is difficult to describe, but I'd use words like calm, classic, minimal, modern, romantic, feminine."
And then theres the wall colour that defies description.
"The colour is custom and I don't know what to call it," Tersigni says. "Some people call it blue, they'll call it green sea foam."
Customer Pete Morrish also appreciates the design. "I think the store is about as aesthetically pleasing as they come. I love the floor, the marble, the blue walls, the simplicity of it. It's just a very, very cool store. It's the whole experience ... it's the great staff that are interesting to talk to, it's the cool design and obviously the collection they carry too."
It is an impressive collection. A Douglas-fir-topped table with jeans for men and women from Nudie, April 77 and Cheap Monday splits the store into the men's collection on the left and women's on the right. However, both sexes are encouraged to shop either side.
"It's funny because we split the store down the middle with the denim table, but this entire table is unisex, so it kind of merges the two together," Tersigni explains. "You're definitely not going to see a man in a Tara Jarmon dress, but a lot of the men's stuff is definitely carry-over. Some of the Filippa K Man sweaters, Paul Smith cardigans, a men's dress shirt ... A lot of women will come in and kind of stop here on their side and I'll say, 'Please go to the men's section because the stuff is awesome.'"
On the women's side Jovovich-Hawk's plaid sleeveless ruffled dress ($300) shares rack space with a Mon Petit Oiseau Swiss Knit Sweater with pompons ($305). Other lines include Tocca, Tara Jarmon, Won Hundred and Acne Jeans.
Standouts on the men side include the Gilded Age Plaid Wool Coate ($920), a Fred Perry striped polo ($100) and the Nice Collective Tactic Zip-up Jacket in navy blue ($340), which looks like it was stolen from David Beckham's closet.
Though more stock will be added next season, Manager Tersigni says the store will never be an overcrowded shopping experience.
"I don't think it'll be a hundred times more stock than we have now," she says. "When you narrow it down for people and you give them just a smaller selection of beautiful things, sometimes you need not go anywhere else.
"You could have the whole collection at your fingertips, but often it's more effective if you just have some of the best peices from it."