A new kind of art gallery: The Room

Toronto is home to numerous amazing art galleries, large and small.  Personal favourites include the AGO, MOCCA and the #Hashtag galleries, but for the past couple of years, I’ve had another less traditional escape haven for inspiration: The Room at the Bay on Queen Street.

The Room is a go-to for very high-end designer clothes, filled with labels that are rare to find in Toronto and even in Canada.  First opened in 1937, the old, regal decor of The Room was beyond due for a facelift.  Yabu Pushelburg was commissioned for the renovations, the same design firm responsible for the W Hotel in Times square, restaurants in Las Vegas and the Trump Hotel in Hollywood. The new look was complete in 2009 and has brought a crisp, fresh and contemporary change that beautifully highlights the fashion pieces on display.

The designs, the cuts, the fabrics and the structure of the clothing are simply stunning. I love wandering the racks and admiring the pieces, I just need to ignore any pangs of desire and keep flipping over price tags to remind myself that this isn’t a shopping trip, but a walk through fashion as art.

Among a host of talented Canadian designers, some of my other favorites sold by The Room include Mugler, Jason Wu, Proenza Schouler, Boss, Comme Des Garcons, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alaia, Prabal Gurung and Rodarte.

Word to my fellow shoe-a-holics: the bi-annual shoe sales at The Room bring the average price of about $800 for a pair of shoes down to as low as $100, so make sure to keep your eye out!

A similar Room opened in the downtown Vancouver Granville store in 2011, and a Montreal store is in the works.

The next time you’re in the mood for some art, consider The Room – there’s no admission fee!

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