Luxury Brand ‘Celine’ Opens 1st Standalone Canadian Storefront at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre [Photos]

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LVMH-owned luxury brand Celine has opened its first standalone Canadian store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The location, which features the brand’s women’s collections with menswear on the way in November, was supposed to open in the spring of 2020 and it was delayed due to the pandemic.

Celine’s Yorkdale location is across from Holt Renfrew’s enlarged flagship at Yorkdale in an expansion wing of the mall that opened in 2012. Celine occupies just over 2,200 square feet in an L-shaped configuration. The broad storefront features vertical black mullions and basaltina stone bulkhead. 

The interior space includes a front area with accessories and bags, followed by a ready-to-wear area with clothing hung on black metal racks from the store’s high ceilings. Vintage furniture is featured throughout the space. At the back of the store, a corridor leads to fitting rooms. 

Products are highlighted on long linear travertine shelves on the walls which are suspended on white, travertine and solid oak wall surfaces. The store’s design reflects Celine’s global boutique remodel initiative that began in 2019 as conceptualized by the brand’s creative director Hedi Slimane. 

Celine at Yorkdale Shopping Centre
Celine at Yorkdale Shopping Centre – Photo by Michael Muraz

The Celine store will be made possible by merging two former storefronts at Yorkdale that were once occupied by Ted Baker and Longchamp. Both Ted Baker and Longchamp relocated nearby shortly before the pandemic. 

Celine is known for its womenswear and in the fall of 2019, the brand also launched a menswear line for the first time. The Yorkdale Celine store currently only carries the women’s collection. Celine menswear will be added to the Yorkdale store in November of this year according to an employee in the new store. 

To coincide with the opening of the standalone Celine store at Yorkdale, the brand has shut two boutique spaces in multi-brand retailers in Toronto. Last month the Celine accessories boutique at Saks Fifth Avenue in downtown Toronto shut down, which followed Celine shutting a women’s ready-to-wear boutique on the second level of Nordstrom at Yorkdale. A large Celine accessory boutique space continues to operate at Nordstrom’s Yorkdale location. 

Click image for interactive Yorkdale mall floorplan

In Canada over the past couple of years, Celine has expanded its direct-to-consumer operations through luxury retailer Holt Renfrew. Celine’s concessions at Holts are separated into categories in dedicated departments, with separate shops for leather goods and accessories, women’s ready-to-wear, and men’s ready-to-wear. At Holt Renfrew’s Vancouver flagship, Celine has three separate shops for women’s and men’s fashions as well as leather goods and accessories. Holt Renfrew’s Vancouver store was the first in Canada to showcase the new men’s Celine fashion line and continues to be the only store where it is available in this country. 

Celine at Yorkdale Shopping Centre
Celine at Yorkdale Shopping Centre – Photo by Michael Muraz

In Calgary, a Celine leather goods and accessory shop is housed on the main floor of the city’s Holt Renfrew store. In Toronto, Holt Renfrew’s 50 Bloor Street West flagship houses a makeshift Celine shop for the brand’s women’s ready-to-wear on the second floor.

Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal was expected to have separate boutique spaces for Celine including a ground level accessory boutique, a third floor women’s ready-to-wear boutique and a fourth floor men’s boutique. A source at Holts told Montreal correspondent Maxime Frechette that Celine instead wanted one consolidated space for all categories in the store and as that was not available, Celine’s fashions are not carried at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy at this time. 

Nordstrom’s Vancouver flagship has a Celine accessory boutique on its street-level as well as a Celine shop-in-store for women’s ready-to-wear on its women’s floor. The shops operate as concessions. 

Saks Fifth Avenue’s downtown Toronto flagship housed a Celine leather goods and accessory shop on Saks’ street level which shut last month as mentioned above, and a Celine women’s ready-to-wear boutique was formerly located on Saks’ third-level women’s designer floor which shut in 2019 and was replaced with a Dolce & Gabbana boutique space.

Globally, Celine operates a network of standalone stores as well as concessions and wholesale accounts in various major markets. In the United States, Celine operates standalone stores in markets including New York City (two stores, Madison Avenue and Wooster Street in Soho), Beverly Hills (Rodeo Drive), Costa Mesa (South Coast Plaza), Miami (Miami Design District), Dallas (Highland Park), Houston (Houston Galleria), Las Vegas (two stores, Crystals and Wynn), in suburban Washington DC (Tyson’s Galleria), and at the Ala Moana Centre in Honolulu. 

Celine at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre
Celine at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre (Photo: Craig Patterson)

As with many fashion brands, Celine has undergone a transformation at the helm of a new creative director. In January of 2018, Celine announced that Hedi Slimane would become the brand’s new designer, after Slimane led French luxury brand Saint Laurent from 2012 to 2016. Prior to that, he was the menswear designer for French luxury brand Christian Dior. Under Slimane’s direction with Celine, some were critical that his vision for the brand’s clothing was similar in style to those he designed for Saint Laurent, though Celine now appears to have been embraced by many and is said to be seeing success globally.

LVMH has owned Celine since 1996. The Celine brand was founded by Céline Vipiana in 1945, and was considered to be one of the first luxury brands in the industry. The company got stared as a made-to-measure children’s shoe business, and when the brand’s first store opened in Paris, its logo was a red elephant. In 1960, Celine repositioned itself as a women’s ready-to-wear fashion brand, with conservative styles with a ‘designer sportswear’ approach. Celine expanded to also be known for its leather goods such as bags, loafers and gloves. 

In 1973, Celine redesigned its logo to become an intertwined “C”. Ms. Vipiana remained at the helm of Celine until her death in 1997. American designer Michael Kors became Celine’s creative director after Ms. Vipiana’s death, and he left Celine to focus on his own brand in 2004. In 2008, noted designer Phoebe Philo took over the artistic direction of Celine, with her first collection for the brand debuting in the spring/summer of 2010. Prior to Celine, Ms. Philo directed French luxury brand Chloé after the exit of Stella McCartney in 2001.

While Yorkdale’s Celine flagship is the first corporately-owned location for the brand in Canada, licensed Celine storefronts once operated in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver until the late 1990’s. In 1976, Toronto multi-brand luxury retailer Ira Berg opened Canada’s first Celine boutique at 1508 Yonge Street just north of St. Clair Avenue, in a space most recently occupied by a Subway restaurant and soon to be demolished for a condominium tower. In 1981, Ira Berg opened a second Celine boutique on Toronto’s ‘Mink Mile’ at 110 Bloor Street West. Both shuttered before Ira Berg went bankrupt in 1996.

In Montreal in the 1980s, a Celine boutique operated at 2142 Crescent Street for several years. And in Vancouver, luxury multi-brand retailer Collections International operated two standalone Celine shops in the 1990s — one was located next to a former Chanel boutique at 755 Burrard Street (both spaces are now occupied by Coach), and a second Celine boutique was housed on the third level of the Pan Pacific Hotel which was once home to various luxury brands. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. 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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