MISSISSAUGA, — Fresh from the Cannes Film Festival, where she helped orchestrate Charlize Theron’s red-carpet wardrobe, celebrity stylist Leslie Fremar is now making Canada’s leading designers the focus of her next project.
The Toronto-born stylist was tapped six months ago by executives at Square One Shopping Centre here to select products for SQ1 Concept, a luxury pop-up boutique created to showcase products from Canada’s emerging and established designers. The boutique opened May 27.
The brands chosen by Fremar include Alan Anderson, Beaufille, Christopher Bates, Ela, Erin Kleinberg, Greta Constantine, John & Jenn, Line Knitwear, Outclass, Sid Neigum and Stephan Caras.
“Some of these Canadian designers I knew, others I did not. But I looked at this as a great opportunity to dig in and do my research, which is my passion,” the 38-year-old Fremar said.
The 1,500-square-foot space was designed by lifestyle and décor expert Caspar Haydar and the collections represent Fremar’s own style of understated drama and elegance.
“Fashion choices are always subjective, but I do like what is subtle and understated in my own private life. That personal preference does impact my view on fashion and what it can achieve,” said Fremar, who dressed Best Actress nominees Reese Witherspoon and Julianne Moore for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.
The SQ1 Concept boutique, which will remain open until June 20, features an individual display area for each designer, a fashion image gallery, and mannequins selected by Fremar.
According to Square One marketing director Toni Holley, all this “experimentation” is in line with positioning the 43-year-old mall as more of a luxury player. “The SQ1 Concept store was designed to appeal to the more affluent professional woman between the ages of 25 and 45, as well as aspirational luxury shoppers who love fashion and love to look great,” said Holley.
“These customers may not be able to shop here every day. But we’re hoping they will remember our SQ1 Concept store and return when it comes time to look for quality investment pieces,” she explained.
With one year to go before Holt Renfrew and Quebec’s La Maison Simons are added to Square One’s roster of more than 300 stores, mall executives are treating the launch of the SQ1 Concept Store as an on-site test project in the realm of luxury retailing.
“The launch of our SQ1 Concept store is just one of a series of events and programs that will be introduced to the public as Square One moves closer to its 2016 expansion and the opening of its new luxury wing,” said Holley.
The wing — which is currently being built as part of Square One’s 237 million Canadian dollar, or $190.4 million, expansion — will also house such retailers as Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman, Harry Rosen, Marc Cain and Raffi Jewellers.
“In a perfect world, our SQ1 Concept store will open and all our Canadian designers will sell out in a day. But we’ll have to wait and see how this concept connects with consumers,” said Holley.
“If all goes well, this pop-up boutique will reappear next year. But right now the launch of our SQ1 Concept store is a first step toward realizing a greater goal for Square One, which is to provide luxury shoppers with a unique, VIP experience and access to top designers they may never have seen before,” she said.