Upscale New York City-based women’s fashion brand Lafayette 148 will open its first standalone store in Canada this year on Toronto’s Bloor Street luxury run. Until now the brand has had limited distribution through upscale department stores. The move signals confidence in brick-and-mortar retail on a stretch of Bloor Street where other fashion brands have recently opened.
The Lafayette 148 storefront in Toronto will be located at 130 Bloor Street West in a 2,000 square foot space between a St. John Knits store and Burberry. The Lafayette 148 store will feature the brand’s range of women’s ready-to-wear as well as footwear, bags, jewellery and accessories. Construction has started on the new space that was once occupied by upscale multi-brand retailer Intermix.
David Wedemire and Stan Vyriotes of DWSV Realty negotiated the lease deal for the Bloor Street Lafayette 148 location. Kingsett Capital owns the 130 Bloor Street West building which is also home to a Gucci flagship store facing luxury retailers across the street including Dior, Prada, Cartier and Moncler.
In Canada, Lafayette 148 is also carried at Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom — Holt Renfrew recently carried the line for a time.
Lafayette 148 was founded in 1996 by Deirdre Quinn, Shun Yen Siu and Ida Siu, and the the company is named after its founding address in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood at 148 Lafayette Street. As of July 2019, the company reported $200 million in revenue with the collection available in about 400 stores in North America and China.
The company’s new headquarters are in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and its workshop and production facility in China. The company is vertically-integrated which is said to be a rarity in the fashion industry.
Lafayette 148 is known for its craftsmanship and clean-lined professional wear and sportswear with a “modern, New York sensibility” made from high-quality European fabrics. Mainstays include professional suiting, elevated essentials, leather and cashmere. The brand has been worn by Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Helen Mirren, Melissa McCarthy, Glenn Close, and other notable celebrities.
The finest fabrics are used including cashmere from Loro Piana, printed silks from Como, Italy, cotton from Reggiani, shearling from Spain and classic wool from Botto Giuseppe. Lafayette 148’s European mill partners are considered to be some of the finest textile producers in the world for the quality of their yarns as well as their commitment to sustainability.
Lafayette 148 has 10 standalone stores in the United States. In New York City, the brand operates its primary showroom at 148 Lafayette Street and also as storefronts at 423 Broome Street and 956 Madison Avenue in New York City. On Long Island, the brand has a store at The Americana Manhasset and in New Jersey, it has a store at the Mall at Short Hills. In the Miami area, Lafayette 148 has stores at the Brickell City Centre and at the Bal Harbour Shops. In California, Lafayette 148 operates a location at the prestigious South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The brand also has standalone stores at the Phipps Plaza in Atlanta as well as Tyson’s Galleria near Washington DC. It also operates eight outlet stores in the United States and is carried wholesale at upscale multi-brand retailers including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom.
In China, Lafayette 148 operates 15 standalone stores in major markets.
The opening of Lafayette 148 spells confidence for the luxury run of Bloor Street which spans from the Harry Rosen store at 82 Bloor Street West to Avenue Road. Several luxury brands have been investing into their stores on the street. Gucci recently completed a renovation to its flagship store at 130 Bloor Street West, and St. John Knits opened next to it in December of 2019 shortly before the pandemic. Cartier, located at The Colonnade at 131 Bloor Street West is currently under renovation to showcase the brand’s latest retail design. Other high-end and luxury brands are said to be looking at leasing space in the immediate area.
It’s not yet known if Lafayette 148 will open any more stores in the Canadian market following the Toronto location on Bloor Street which is expected to open later this year.