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Local Fashion: Elan + Castor Pop Up Shop at Elle Hardware Toronto

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I invited my friend Sara to the Elan + Castor pop up shop this past Friday to check out and preorder the collection at Elle Hardware, an accessories shop on Queen Street West. I love to discover and support local fashion designers in Toronto – especially when I get a glass or two of prosecco and a chance to chat with the designer while I’m at it.

Leah Antoinette, a Milton-based Toronto designer, recently relaunched and rebranded her label, Moose and Beaver. The new brand title, Elan + Castor, is a French take on the old name. Elan + Castor specializes in ready-to-wear women’s clothing, and is “dedicated to creating clothes that will ‘love you back’.” Along with the chic new name, her  FW14 collection is full of luxe fabrics like hand knit Italian merino wool, locally produced leathers and silk chiffon, a true mix of “soft luxury and raw deconstruction”.

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“My idea for this collection was of Jane Birkin raiding Ernest Hemingway’s closet,” Antoinette enthused to Sara and I, in a literary reference that made her inspiration evident, “It’s really about masculine influences on classic mod silhouettes.” The collection includes gorgeous wool and leather dresses, silk details and a vintage mink snood.  “I find so many high quality fur coats in vintage shops to create my scarves,” Antoinette confessed, “Nobody wants to buy them, in order to wear them, so I repurpose it into something beautiful and timeless.”

Antoinette clearly designs with a woman’s long-term wardrobe in mind, for those who want classic, high-quality pieces they can wear for a lifetime – the ultimate in sustainable luxury. As the evening wore on, guests filled Elle Hardware and were audibly impressed with the gorgeous hand knit oversize sweaters, and edgy fabric manipulations, like the embossed black leather, and shameless wide-cut silk glitter pants. My favourite piece? The sparkle muscle tank, made with “silk/glitter”, as the lookbook says. I popped into the fitting room and tried on the sample size (slightly too snug for my just-baby-born body), and I loved it so much I pre-ordered it in medium. I’ll be sure to feature a follow up post in September when I receive my Elan + Castor tank in the post!

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Thank you to Gail at Magnet Creative Management for inviting us to the Elle Hardware Elan + Castor pop up shop. We enjoyed the wine and the fashion. You can watch the short film below to see the collection for yourself and contact Antoinette at Elan + Castor to place your pre-orders for fall.

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About the Author

Angela is founder and editor of Sasstainable, an insider voice on sustainable lifestyle and ethical luxury. In 2013, she completed her MSc in Environmental Management at the University of London, at the Centre for Development, Environment and Policy. Her passion for the environment grew out of her family's rural property in Raglan, Ontario, now a designated Natural Heritage System area in the Ontario Greenbelt. In 2009, she was granted Ryerson University's Top 30 Under 30 Alumni award, because of her work as a motivational speaker. She inspired over 30,000 high school and university students across North America. She is a published writer, contributing articles to Geez Magazine, Eluxe Magazine and Feelgood Style, among others. She enjoys fashion, cooking, art and yoga. She served on the board of directors for Toronto Zooshare Biogas Co-operative and Toronto Green Community. She currently lives in Toronto, Canada, with her 3 year-old daughter, Charlotte.
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