Thursday, October 26, 2006

Victoire Boutique

So you may think it's weird that we're featuring someone else's boutique here on the HQ blog. Isn't that kind of bad business, promoting another store that has a similar customer? Aren't you worried all your customers are going to stop shopping at HQ and go to that other store? Don't you think that there will be a mass exodus of all things good from Montreal to Ottawa? In short, I think not. I think there are more than enough people with good taste floating around to support more than one indy boutique, so rather than lock our customers in the basement and only let them shop at HQ, we'd rather help other small boutiques out and spread the word about shopping local.

Which means I will probably be doing more and more indy store profiles of boutiques across Canada. There will be no rhyme or reason to the stores I'm going to feature, it will be totally random, just whatever pops up.

So the first store I'd like to introduce you to is a new little shop on Ottawas Dalhousie Street, Victoire!

This gem of a boutique offers a well-edited mix of ideas and trends, mixing edgy wares with more classic pieces, creating a rock’n’roll tea party experience. Owners Katie Frappier and Regine Paquette wanted to create a shopping experience akin to going through your most stylish friend’s closet – you know, the one who always manages to look great, but effortless at the same time, and is always mixing old with new, high with low, tradition with transgression? Having both worked in retail in other local prominent boutiques, they want to create a “boutique” shopping experience for a younger clientele. They also aim to create a different vibe and shopping atmosphere: a beautifully decorated and merchandised space, an uncluttered, well edited selection of items and easy-going and friendly sales help.

Among Victoire’s stylish finds are hand-painted slip-on shoes next to more traditional summer dresses by C. Ronson, skirts by Preloved and Spring & Clifton knits. The duo strives to offer Ottawa shoppers feminine, girly, and unique items with an edge, unexpected and playful details from small, up-and-coming designers, or hand-made one-of-a-kind items in limited quantities. They carefully select each piece from various small and independent designers, some local, many Canadian and a few select American lines, so that everything contained in the boutique looks and feels like it’s an absolute treasure! Price-points vary, starting at $3 for a set of pins from Nothing Fancy (T.O.) to $259 for a shirt-dress from Porridge (L.A.). Uncluttered and warm, the look inside Victoire is unabashedly girly, but with a twist. The store is peppered with trophies and kitschy 1970s wildlife paintings with gold accents everywhere, along with the odd tea cup and saucer upon which are displayed necklaces or earrings.

Both Katie and Regine have also been involved in the DIY/activist community in Ottawa, through their performances as part of the punk rock aerobics troupe the Jezebels and through co-organizing such events as Ladyfest Ottawa (a yearly music festival) and Not-Your-Grandma’s Craftsale (a quarterly punk/diy/handmade craftsale). With this they have developed many contacts in the community with other activists, crafters, small business owners and creative people.

238 Dalhousie Street, Ottawa

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