Weekend getaway: The top designer destinations
Our favourite fashion designers share their top hot spots in NYC, Toronto, Los Angeles and Vancouver for a weekend getaway.
Manhattan’s bustling city streets and skyline. Photo courtesy of NYC & Company.
Designer destinations: Rachel Roy on Manhattan
Story by Laura deCarufel
“People-watching is part of my inspiration,” explains Rachel Roy, who laughingly acknowledges that New York—her home for the past 15 years—is the “perfect city” for spotting all manner of sidewalk sartorial genius. Still, as a California native, Roy remains clear-eyed about Manhattan’s allure. “You can find the best of everything in New York, whether you’re looking for theatre, cooking or rare vintage books,” explains the designer in her airy multi-level atelier just west of Bryant Park. “But if you weren’t born here, you come here very intentionally: It’s not a place that’s cheap or where it’s easy to find peace. It’s perfect for people who want to
focus on their careers.” When Roy isn’t helming her fashion empire—beloved by everyone from Kate Hudson to Michelle Obama—she frequents Manhattan spots that nurture both her creativity and her soul….
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Something’s brewing: “Birch Coffee in the Flatiron District is farm-to-cup and locally sourced.”
Neighbourhod fave: “I love great Indian food, so I often bring my girls [daughters Ava, 13, and Tallulah, five] to Bombay Talkie in Chelsea. They offer the same traditional Indian food that I grew up on.”
Night out: “ABC Kitchen in the Flatiron District is always special—the food is so fresh, and the presentation is stunning.”
Saturday special: “I love attending the New York City Ballet with my girls. The performers are breathtaking and otherworldly.”
Go-to gallery: “My brother is the film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, and he always takes time to explain to my girls why some of the art on display might not look like ‘art’ in their minds.”
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Yoga time: “Yogamaya in Chelsea keeps me balanced, centred and focused and is helping me become the kind of woman I
aspire to be.”
Top shop: “Nest Interiors in Chelsea has perfect little presents. I am a huge lover of agate, and they have these beautiful agate coasters there that I love to gift.”
Downtime: “Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa at the Plaza is a luxurious skin-care spa—the perfect oasis from my crazy NYC life.”
Weekend getaway: “Montauk or Southampton. It’s a family tradition of mine to travel to the sea the day after Christmas. There is nothing more majestic than listening to the sea and lounging in slumber robes with your family.”
Check out top designer hot spots in Toronto on the next page…
Toronto’s soaring skyline. Photo courtesy of Russell Evans.
Designer destinations: Christie Smythe and Andrea Lenczner on Toronto
Story by Sarah Laing
They’ve come a long way from trading sketches in math class. This spring, Smythe co-designers (and BFFs) Christie Smythe and Andrea Lenczner moved into their “grown-up” studio—a sun-filled space with room to accommodate Canada’s reigning blazer queens’ expansion into the world of separates—in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood. Perhaps because they design for their own lives, the two have remarkably few disagreements in their collaborative design process—“but I always wait for Andrea to say ‘Babe, that’s cute,’” says Smythe. “Then I know we’re done.” Here’s where the duo like to hang in T.O….
Explore TORONTO’S HOT SPOTS
Something’s brewing: Lenczner—“Opposite Trinity Bellwoods Park, the White Squirrel has amazing coffee and the best brownies.”
Ladies who brunch: Smythe—“For high-end grease, go to Rose and Sons. Or the Dakota Tavern on Ossington does a great bluegrass brunch where they bring platters to the table and you can still smell last night’s party.”
Superlative sandwiches: Smythe—“For our birthday lunches, we always get the aged-cheddar sandwich from Saving Grace—I brought one to Andrea in the hospital after she had one of her babies.”
Fab fromage: Smythe—“I go mental for Grey Owl, this soft cheese coated in ash that’s sold at Nancy’s Cheese on Dupont Street.”
Hide in plain sight: Lenczner—“When we need a break from real life, we go to this out-of-the-way
nail salon called Beyond Beauty on Bloor Street West. We won’t meet anyone we know there, and they take such good care of us!”
Tree time: Smythe—“In the fall, I love the ravines—the trees around Mount Pleasant are spectacular, and it’s right in the middle of the city.”
Top shop: Lenczner—“We make frequent trips to a home store in the Junction called Mjölk.”
Family tradition: Smythe—“I live in the Summerhill/Yonge area of Toronto, and a block from my house is My Favourite Ice Cream Shop—three generations of my husband’s family have known Jay, the guy who runs it.”
The view from home: Lenczner—“I live around Casa Loma, on the hill, and I love that it feels like a tree house community looking out over the city.”
Weekend getaway: Lenczner—“We both have family places, in Muskoka and Caledon respectively. I love the topography of the Canadian Shield—just cliffs and pines.”
Tourist at home: Smythe—“I really love birdwatching, but I’ve never been down to the Leslie Street Spit, which is meant to be great for it.”
Greg Chait shares his favourite hot spots in Los Angeles on the next page…
Los Angeles’ Getty Center is at the top of Chait’s wish list for playing tourist at home.
Designer destinations: Greg Chait on Los Angeles
Story by Sarah Laing
Much as we’d like to claim him as Canadian (he was born in Toronto), Greg Chait is California-cool through and through. What began in 2007 as Chait’s obsession with cashmere blankets spun itself into The Elder Statesman, a luxe lifestyle brand focused on
slouchy sweaters, tanks and pants that are just as satisfying to stroke as to wear. It’s all made in L.A., in Culver City premises that are part factory and part lab for Chait’s constant experimentation with new fibres and techniques. Here are the 2012 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund winner’s favourite ways to pass the time in “his” Los Angeles….
Greasy spoon: “The Apple Pan in West L.A. has been around since 1947 and is the place for comfort food—I order the hickory burger and fries every time.”
Taco time: “Pinches Tacos in Santa Monica and Tito’s Tacos in Culver City are both amazing.”
Night out: “Arguably, Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica is the best restaurant in the country—it’s just good, honest Italian food.”
Sweet stuff: “My daughter loves ice cream, and there’s a great place called Sweet Rose Creamery in Brentwood. I get the mint chocolate chip.”
Surf’s up: “My family is very beach-centric—it’s where we hang out, surf and swim. The first thing I do when I get back to L.A. is see if there are any waves at Surfrider Beach in Malibu.”
Artistic leanings: “A lot of my friends are in the art world, and I love going to see the stuff they do. Culver City and Beverly Hills have tons of great galleries, and I love our museums, especially the Hammer and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.”
Top shop: “I’m a worn-in-T-shirt-and-jeans guy, but when I shop, I like Maxfield in West Hollywood and What Goes Around in Costa Mesa for jeans.”
Home sweet home: “I live in Rustic Canyon. It has this amazing soul to it, and it’s totally not a scene—it has been cool so long, it’s almost bigger than any trend.”
Out-of-towner: “I like to encourage any of my visitors to avoid the traffic part of L.A., so I try to stay local. There’s a great little bar near us in Santa Monica called Chez Jay—it feels very L.A.”
Weekend getaway: “If you’re up for it, Big Sur really isn’t that far; Ojai is just up the coast, and it’s incredible.”
Tourist at home: “I have no idea why I haven’t been before, but I’d love to get to the Getty Center. There’s always stuff happening there.”
Our favourite designer hot spots in Vancouver on the next page…
Vancouver—the city by the sea. Photo courtesy of Albert Normandin.
Designer destinations: Nicole Bridger on Vancouver
Story by Sarah Laing
“Chill,” “natural” and “expressive” are the words Nicole Bridger uses to describe her hometown—but they could just as easily be applied to the Vancouver-born and bred designer herself. Since launching her eponymous line in 2008, Bridger has draped her way into the closets of her fellow West Coast women—think
fluid fabrics and versatile silhouettes that could go from dancer’s pose to dance party with ease. “My designs are meant to be comfy as well as elegant,” says Bridger. Last year, she purchased the Vancouver factory where 98 percent of her designs are made—cutting her commute time to a cool 15 minutes. Here is her local guide to blissing out in Lotus Land….
Something’s brewing: “Vancouver has so many great local coffee roasters, but 49th Parallel in Mount Pleasant is my favourite. For chai, I head to East Is East, where they make it with almond milk.”
Night out: “On Sunday nights, I often go to Aphrodite’s Café & Pie Shop in Kitsilano. I always get the frittata and salad.”
Sweet treat: “I’m a big holistic-nutrition person—no wheat, no dairy, no booze—but if I’m going to have a doughnut, it has to be from Cartems Donuterie in Gastown.”
Breathing room: “I try to get out to the mountains or the beach a couple of times a week—I love walking along the shore at Spanish Banks, stopping to sit on a log and meditating for 20 minutes.”
Oh boy: “My son, Rhame, is four, so we’re always doing something active—if it’s sunny, we go swimming at Wreck Beach, or there are some great trails in the forests in the Endowment Lands.”
Top shop: “I have a slight
shoe problem. They know me very well at Gravity Pope in Kitsilano!”
On the town: “When we’re out without the kids, my friends and I love going dancing in Gastown—the Electric Owl has really great music, and Calabash is good for reggae.”
Top HOT SPOTS IN VANCOUVER
Home to stay: “After my divorce, I moved with Rhame, who was 10 months old, into my parents’ house in Kerrisdale—it’s such a beautiful neighbourhood, and one day I’d love to buy my own place there.”
Weekend getaway: “We just spent a week at Hornby Island—it’s the most magical place. All the Gulf Islands from Salt Spring to Cortes have supercool artsy communities, and they’re so beautiful.”
Tourist at home: “I’ve always wanted to go see the eagles at Brackendale in Squamish—thousands of them gather there during the salmon run, and it’s supposed to be amazing.”