Iconic luxury women’s fashion brand Escada has shut its storefront in Toronto, exiting the market after decades. Only one Escada location in Canada remains open in Montreal for now following the closure of another Escada store in Vancouver last year.
Escada’s Toronto store was located at The Colonnade at 131 Bloor Street West. The curved retail space, next to an architecturally-significant outdoor staircase, spans 3,650 square feet on one level.
A taped sign on glass doors of the former Toronto store indicates that Escada was behind on paying rent both for its retail space within The Colonnade as well as for a separate storage space in the building. Landlord Morguard evicted Escada from The Colonnade as a result and is now demanding payment.
Escada moved into The Colonnade in the fall of 2012 in a space once occupied by women’s retailer Mendocino. Prior to that, Escada occupied about 13,000 square feet across the street at 110 Bloor Street West. That store was a branded Plaza Escada location which also housed several other brands under the Escada umbrella at the time. In 2007, reportedly high sales prompted Escada to invest $3 million into a store renovation. Prior to moving to Bloor Street, Escada had a storefront on upscale Hazelton Avenue.
In Montreal, Escada continues to operate a storefront at 1214 Sherbrooke Street West. The store remains open for now and staff are tight-lipped regarding any potential closing plans. The store’s opening hours are currently limited — Monday-Saturday the store is only open from 10:00am to 4:00pm, and on Sundays the store is open from noon until 4:00pm. That information is from Google as the Escada corporate website has been down for weeks with the website saying “COMING SOON”.
Escada once operated several stores in Canada. Cities included Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal.
Until recently, Escada operated a store at 710 Thurlow Street in downtown Vancouver’s ‘Luxury Zone’, with frontage on prestigious Alberni Street. The store opened in 2011 and shut last year. It was replaced by a temporary location for Gucci for almost a year, and now another luxury brand has leased the space with an announcement forthcoming.
In Vancouver in 1990, Escada opened its largest store in the world at the time at the Sinclair Centre at 757 West Hastings Street. The Plaza Escada location boasted interiors designed by Yabu Pushelberg including a sweeping staircase and several rooms housing various categories and brands. A tea room at the centre of the store had an upside-down canoe with a marble tabletop displaying various teas. And other brands carried at Plaza Escada at the time included St. John Knits, Laurel, Crisca, Apriori, Kemper and Cerruti 1881. In 1992 Escada opened a 38,000 square foot storefront in Chicago which is now occupied by a large Verizon store and H&M.
In April of 1992 in Edmonton, Escada opened a Plaza Escada store at Commerce Place, which at the time was named City Centre. That store subsequently moved into the nearby Manulife Place before Escada exited the Edmonton market in the spring of 2018. In the late 1980s and into the early 1990s Escada operated its Edmonton store at Manulife Place which also housed a Holt Renfrew store at the time.
Escada had a concession presence in the Ogilvy department store in Montreal in the 1980s and 1990s prior to opening a standalone location on Sherbrooke Street. The brand also had a presence in the 1980s in stores such as Eaton’s in Canada.
At one time, Escada was an iconic brand worn by celebrities and was even a staple on television shows with jackets accented by large shoulder pads. The brand has struggled in recent years as consumers have shifted to other brands.
Escada was founded in Munich Germany in 1978 by Margaretha Ley and husband Wolfgang Ley. The brand is now owned by Beverly Hills California-based Regent LP.
We’ll report more when we learn of the fate of the Montreal Escada store. If it closes, only one luxury retailer will remain on Sherbrooke Street — Tiffany & Co., which could also close given that its 10-year lease term is set to expire and another Tiffany store operates close by at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy.
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