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Please Don't Read This If You Love Clothes

Posted by Laura / June 22, 2009

20090622-storefront1.jpgI'm about to do something I hate. I already know I'm going to be really upset with myself over this. Twenty minutes from now I might well be weeping, trying to figure out how to delete this post, cursing the day I agreed to any of this. The point of this disclaimer is to impress upon you that I am doing this for you, because I care about you deeply. I'd do anything for you. I'd throw myself in front of a moving train for you. In fact, that's what this feels like! I think maybe I'm in love with you? It's the only way to explain the fact that I'm about to reveal to you Montreal's single greatest treasure, and my favourite place on Earth. It's where I hope to be buried once I kill myself for telling you this.

It's not really a store and it's not really a house, though it's kind of both. It's really just a fashion lover's dream come true and I'm not being hyperbolic when I say it has been known to move people to tears (my friend cried there last weekend). It's called The Little Shoppe, and I really, really don't want you to ever go there.

20090622-dresses.jpgThe seed that grew into The Little Shoppe was planted decades ago when a wonderful old time Montreal lady whose name presently escapes me started a collection that included clothing, books, linens, tableware, and pretty much everything else I care about too (FURS!). She accumulated enough of these things to fill to bursting three floors of a house in Parc Ex, then decided to sell it all off. Sadly, this wonderful gal passed away last year, but not before securing her place in my heart forever by giving me an original bottle of discontinued Lanvin perfume from the 1930s just because she thought I had good taste (she was right, I do).

Her daughter Jill now runs the store along with a handful of old friends and helpers who keep the collection in beautiful order. They know every piece and they love to engage with enthusiastic shoppers who love old clothes and the way they smell and stuff. Over a cup of tea and a cookie, served at 3 pm, Jill and co. will tell you all about the Shoppe, the recent donations from the National Costume archive (OMG '20s silk dresses and '60s crochet pants!), or how good you look in that little hat you're trying on. Every item has a price tag, but they're willing to budge a little if you're buying a lot of things and they like the cut of your jib.

Briefly, a list of only some of the treasures I have been lucky enough to find, to give you a sense: supershort cream-coloured lace tunic ($30) (p.s. there's an entire LACE ROOM), Adrienne Vittadini magenta sequined minidress ($50), hot pink leather pumps with scalloped edges ($10), antique bronze kitchen scale ($30), copper-coloured lame cocktail dress ($40), and most recently, a Ralph Lauren butter yellow cashmere twinset ($50).

20090622-beads.jpgBut wait! I forgot to mention it's not just for girls! My boy roommate* recently scored big too, hauling home a seersucker jacket, navy blazer, burgundy varsity jacket, cowboy boots, knit tie, and a plaid shirt that fits like a dream (literally. That's the kind of thing I dream about).

Oh no, I'm starting to get upset again at the thought of sharing this bounty with you! I'm going to tell you where it is before I stop and think myself out of it, and then I'm going to ask that you never, ever go. It's on the Southwest corner of Ogilvy and Birnham in Parc Ex (that's one block north of Jean-Talon, one block east of Acadie). They're open Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 2-5 pm and they'll be closed the first half of July. Now forget what I just said, and I hope I never see your ugly mug around those parts, I mean it.

*p.s. He wants me to mention that he's not the one who cried.

Many thanks to Laura Marais for the awesome photographs.



Sarah / June 23, 2009 at 07:07 pm
Her name was Mrs. Silverstone; she was a lovely lady. When i used to go in with my mom, she would always let me choose a piece of jewelery. 20 years later I returned with my boyfriend (his mom also shopped there) and she vividly remembered both our moms.
Eury / June 24, 2009 at 05:58 pm
I love you Laura. Let's make babies behind a rack a faux fur.
logan / October 17, 2009 at 09:00 pm
can anyone please give me the exact location of the shop? merci
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Chokole Wilson / January 22, 2015 at 09:41 am
Oh my god, I had to beg for the secret, and you give it for free? But really, was happy to read your piece as sometimes I think Mrs Silverstone's Little Shoppe was just a dream I had once, too wondrous to be true. Oh to go back.
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