Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Summer & Scarves

Europeans accessorize with scarves far more than we do in North America. And it’s not just to keep warm in the winter. Walk down the streets of Paris or Dusseldorf or Barcelona or Brussels in the summer and you’ll see women (and men) augmenting their looks with light scarves.

When we walk by a smartly dressed scarfed person on the Ramblas or the Champs Élysées, we often ask ourselves why we don’t see the look more in Canada and the US. After all, scarves are about the easiest accessory you can add to your wardrobe. They’re so versatile in where you can wear them we’ve seen them worn around necks, wrists, waists and heads. Depending on the kind and number of scarves you own, you can elevate almost any outfit for any occasion. And then there’s the artistic nature of the scarf itself, as it gives designers the real estate to do something special and unique.

A simple scarf can become the focal point of an outfit. It’s classy and light, it can provide a burst of colour to an otherwise monochrome look, and it can come in handy should an unexpected sun shower happen.

So why don’t we wear more scarves in North America?

After much exploration into the topic, we came up with a simple answer: North Americans simply don’t think to wear them. Scarves aren’t part of any look. And the more we realize that, the more we want to lead a change in this regard.

That’s why we’re the only boutique in Toronto to carry Petrusse scarves, which most Europeans would agree is the gold standard of scarves.

The Petrusse Difference

This French company is known for one thing above all: scarves. And for good reason. When you hold a Petrusse in your hands, you feel the difference of a design house with a serious specialty. They put all their efforts and creativity into this one accessory.

First off is the fabric. Soft and smooth, a Petrusse is a treat for hands and any other part of your body it touches.

Second are the patterns, and they’re truly inspired. The company sees every piece as a blank canvas, and they take full advantage. They’ve paid homage to beautiful works of art, captured gorgeous skyscapes, recreated lush meadows and fields, and developed unique patterns you won’t find anywhere else. And throughout all that diversity, there’s a style to the designs that screams Petrusse. Like Bono’s voice or authentic Spanish tapas, it’s unmistakable.

And then you have the accoutrements - the little things that make a Petrusse a Petrusse. For example, being exclusively in the scarf business, they know that keeping a scarf in place can be tricky. So they adorn many of their products with little crystals on the corners to prevent them from blowing. You can’t see them unless you look hard, but once you spot them, you’ll love them.

The Petra Difference

We’re proud to be the only place in Toronto to carry Petrusse. Whether you’re looking to add a new scarf or a first scarf to your wardrobe, do yourself a favour and make it a Petrusse.

And if you’re thinking, well, how should I wear the scarf? Here’s our own Dorothea Merritt with a quick tutorial. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Springtime at Petra's

We are so unbelievably happy to show winter 2018 the door.

This one was all kinds of nasty, wasn’t it? The cold was particularly bitter, the snow seemed relentless and you couldn’t turn on the news or open the paper without being smacked in the face by bad news.But last week, we did our annual fresh tulip run for the store, which has traditionally been our first act of spring. And they’re beautiful this year. It’s like the flower gods knew the world needed a collective pick-me-up and boy, did they deliver.

Speaking of Flowers…


Floral prints are all the rage this spring. We’re seeing them on blouses, bags and even the odd bra (very cool). But the undeniable winner in this spring’s floral pattern category is this exclusive floral-print scarf and dress from Anja Gockel.

We profiled the German-born designer (and Vivienne Westwood protégé) in 2017 when she was voted "designer of the year" in Germany. As we expected, she was a massive hit with customers, and the Gockel touch is continuing to impress.

Bright is Right in 2018

It appears the nasty news cycle has inspired a bit of a backlash in the fashion world. “If you can’t change the stories” the collective seems to be saying “then change the mood.”

In addition to the life-affirming floral prints, bright pinks, blues, yellows and reds are dominant hues of the season.

These colourful pieces from lady-of-lace Valerie Kalfhon are some of our most exciting spring collections.
We were immediately drawn to her lace pieces when they showed up from France earlier this year, and our clients have had the exact same reaction.

And, of course, we couldn’t talk about springtime in the store without a shout-out to Barcelona’s Aldo Martins. We showed them off a few years ago in our look at Spanish Fashion, and highlighted their highly colourful and incredibly positive sensibility and they brought it again this year.

Check out these pieces from the fabulous spring collection Aldo Martins, perfect for the first few patio days of the season!

And one last bit of springtime wisdom…

If you’re like us, you’ll spend at least a few weekend days on spring cleaning projects (and possibly getting your taxes together too). Make up for it with a personal day on a random Tuesday or Wednesday. Start with a relaxing breakfast, take in the rejuvenating spring air, smell the odd flower and treat yourself and your wardrobe to something new for spring.

We’ll be here waiting for you, tulips and all.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Bites from the Big Apple

We just got back from Fashion Week in New York City - always one of our favourite events of the year because New York is without a doubt the most high-energy place to be.

One of the great benefits of being in New York are the fashionable people you see wherever you go. Runway shows and trunk shows are great, but nothing beats authentic street style. The highlight for us in this regard was our visit to the Met’s David Hockney exhibition. The crowd was classy, elegant and very well-dressed. And since the weather was relatively non-cooperative, we saw some of the most gorgeous winter coats and boots.

But the Hockney exhibit brought us back to the upcoming spring/summer season. We love the vibrancy of his art, the richness of his palate and the positivity it exudes. It was a real treat.

And our Met visit came at just the right time too, because on March 1, for the first time in over 70 years, the museum is instituting a mandatory $25 entry fee. Until now, it’s always operated as a “pay-what-you-can” attraction with a suggested entry fee of $25. And surprise, surprise — patrons have been choosing to pony up less. The good news is that the $25 ticket is good for three days so no one feels pressure to see it all in one shot. That was a smart decision.

From a clothing perspective, the rich textures we saw in New York mirrored what we saw and bought on our whirlwind January buying trip to Europe — Paris, Milan, Munich and Brussels in 18 days!

We saw a lot of velvet (we were wondering when that was going to make a comeback). We also saw some beautiful animal prints and faux-furs. It’s incredible how far faux-fur has come from a realism perspective. You’d never in a million years know they weren’t real. It’s a big win for the industry and the planet.

And speaking of the environment, green was definitely the “Couleur Du Jour.” Apple green and olive green were the most prevalent, but the entire spectrum was represented. Between that and the shades of blue, it was all very positive.

Interestingly, we also saw a lot of plaid. In that way, there was definitely a ’90’s feel to the show.

Now we’re back to the store and getting our clients ready for spring. If you’re by, come say hi and take a peak at our new Spring collection.