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Maison Kitsuné to Open 1st Canadian Store and Café in Vancouver’s Historic Gastown 

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Paris-based fashion and music brand Maison Kitsuné will open its first Canadian location in Vancouver’s historic Gastown area this fall. The storefront will also house the company’s new café concept. The Vancouver store signals a milestone for the Gastown area and also shows confidence in brick-and-mortar retail in this country as international retailers continue to target Canada for first-to-market storefronts. 

The Vancouver Maison Kitsuné store will open in the 155 Water Street building that has seen a significant renovation. Maison Kitsuné will occupy two combined retail spaces at 157-159 Water Street spanning a total of about 2,400 square feet with about 30 feet of street frontage. The store will include a retail component housing the brand’s unique and edgy fashions as well as a food and beverage concept called Café Kitsuné. 

The 155 Water Street building is owned by Low Tide Properties, a real estate holdings company owned by Lululemon founder Chip Wilson. Wilson, who is said to be a fan of the Maison Kitsuné store in Paris, personally approved the tenant for his new development and the deal was concluded during the pandemic. The building also houses a 5,000 square foot retail space that was recently leased by a Canadian fashion retailer. 

155 Water Street with the future Maison Kitsuné highlighted in red. Image: Low Tide Properties
Lease plan for 155 Water Street via Low Tide Properties
Map via CBRE

JLL Canada represented Maison Kitsuné in the Water Street lease deal under the direction of Madeleine Byblow. Mario Negris and Martin Moriarty of Marcus & Millichap negotiated the deal on behalf of the landlord. 

Toronto and Montreal are expected to be the next target cities in Canada for Maison Kitsuné locations. 

The Maison Kitsuné brand was founded in Paris in 2002 by Gildas Loaëc, Masaya Kuroki and the London-based design company Åbäke. Loaëc and Kuroki, who are both fans of fashion and music, founded the company which focuses in both areas during a trip to Japan. Before co-founding Maison Kitsuné, Loaëc was artistic director for musical group Daft Punk and also managed Thomas Bangalter’s record label Roulé.

Founders Masaya Kuroki (left) and Gildas Loaëc (right), image via Maison Kitsuné

The name Maison Kitsuné is also a hybrid French-Japanese name with “Maison” being the French word for “house”, and “Kitsuné” being the Japanese word for “fox”. The fox has been Maison Kitsuné’s signature logo with a blue-white-red colourway.

In 2019 Maison Kitsuné launched its first restaurant concept in Paris called Café Kitsuné, which has expanded to several locations globally. 

Maison Kitsuné’s fashions include ready-to-wear, bags, shoes and accessories for men and women. The brand is known to collaborate with other big brands which has led to increased brand awareness and heightened popularity. Prices are in the contemporary range. 

Vancouver is only the third market in North America to get a Maison Kitsuné store. New York City until recently was the only place on the continent with Maison Kitsuné locations, with three stores currently operating. In February of this year, a 700 square foot Los Angeles storefront was Maison Kitsuné’s first for the West Coast. 

In Europe, Maison Kitsuné’s focus is on Paris with five storefronts and three cafés. In Asia, Maison Kitsuné has stores in South Korea, China, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia. 

The opening of Maison Kitsuné in Vancouver signals confidence in the city’s historic Gastown area which has been struggling over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The area is highly reliant on foot traffic from tourists including many arriving on cruise ships which have not docked at the port for two years. Gastown is home to various trendy and upscale retailers that have opened over the past several years including Aesop, Bailey Nelson, COS, Herschel and Native Shoes among others. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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