Lola & Emily

Uncle James has been an avid visitor of Lola & Emily for years, it was about time to shine the light on this beautiful, precious store close to home. Located on the main near Sherbrooke street, Lola & Emily oddly enough is keeping the fort of a pretty nightclubish part of town. Like a delicate flower among the frivolous weeds, the store is growing strong, after more than 10 years on the same location.

With labels such as; FunktionalGraham & Spencer from the United States, Margit Brandt from Copenhagen and Designers Remix – Charlotte Eskildsen from Denmark, Lola & Emily is a great spot to get out-of-town labels at a reasonable price. We’ve stopped by to take some pictures and chit-chat last Saturday, all this while getting some love from Zoe-the-friendly-dogs-who-apparently-barks-for-attention.

Uncle James: Please tell us when and how the store started:
Honest Marnie: I had always talked about opening a shop, and after quitting my job working for a wholesale/retail company, I went travelling for a few months.  It was while in India, hanging out on my friend’s rooftop terrace, that I came up with the initial ideas for the store.  After about a month of elaborating on the plan, I came home, and with the support of my friends and family, I spent the next year writing the business plan and researching the industry.  Another 6 months for the logistics… finding the space, raising some money, and buying… and we opened on August 9th, 2001.

Uncle James: Describe the essence of Lola & Emily in one word:
Honest Marnie: Edgy.  Ahahahaha!! I hate that word, and it’s probably the anti-thesis of Lola & Emily to me… I guess I would say “comforting”.  Not comfortable… although that’s how I always like to imagine Lola & Emily- as a place that is as comfortable as your best friend… but comfortable sort of implies frumpy as it relates to fashion… so comforting sounds better to me.  Of course now that I have had to explain it, I have ruined the whole purpose of the ‘one word’ answer.

Uncle James: How do you choose the designers/collections/clothes you have in the store?
Honest Marnie: We really try to stay true to a reasonable quality/price/style ratio.  We choose collections based on our initial reaction – if we love it… then we realistically look at pricing – there are a LOT of lines that we love, but we feel are too expensive for us, and our customers… We rarely buy an entire collection, focussing more on items and pieces that we think can stand alone, and complement our customer’s existing wardrobes.

Uncle James: Your favorite local and international designers right now?
Honest Marnie: International designers – well, I always love to see the Alexander McQueen collections – he was a genius and hopefully the collection will continue to be as inspirational without him.  I’m also really loving Burberry Prorsum these days.  I feel like it’s a collection that is utterly wearable.  I realize that’s so completely boring… but I think when you are in ‘retail’ you start to identify designers whose collections influence the industry significantly and trickle down to mainstream fashion- they are inspirational without a doubt… and designers whose collections are beautiful, but wearable and sellable… Locally, I have always loved Renata Morales.  Her style is just so unique.  You can imagine the ultimate LOVE that a woman would feel for one of her dresses… just that inexplicable sense of wonder and appreciation you would have when wearing one of her creations.

Uncle James: Your favorite piece in the store right now?
Honest Marnie: Without question it’s this Parker sequin dress.  LOVE it.

Uncle James:  What kind of music is playing in your store?
Honest Marnie: Funnily enough, I just made a new playlist for the store because I was getting tired of the stuff we had playing!  It’s a mix of classic songs, including The Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, Beach Boys, Cat Stevens, The Beatles…. and then some of my favourites from the past 3 decades.  We often have some 80s mixed in because, well, that’s what I grew up on, and who doesn’t love to hear Blister in the Sun or some New Order every once in a while?  Add to the some classic hip hop (I’m a bit of a sucker for Jay-Z), and a collection of our recent favourites, including MGMT, Foster the People, Florence and the Machine… and there you have it.

Uncle James:  If Lola & Emily could be reincarnated in a fashion muse, who would it be?
Honest Marnie: Oh, I’m so bad at these questions… I know if my partner Amanda was answering this, she would possibly say… Kate Moss?  Yikes- any answer I give here sounds so cliché… I mean, who wouldn’t want to say Kate Moss?  She’s a bit rock n roll, vintage, ethereal… all in one.  But I’m not sure if that’s just my ideal as opposed to reality?  Maybe Rachel Bilson?  She sort of has the same mix of style, but seems a little more ‘realistic’, which I would say is also part of the whole Lola & Emily vision.  We are not trying to revolutionize fashion, you know?  We’re just trying to get you some awesome basics as well as key seasonal pieces that work with what you already have so you can make your own style.  Does that make sense or do I just sound like an idiot?

Uncle James: What is your favorite trend right now:
Honest Marnie: I’m quite loving the whole colour blocking/mix trend.  While I myself am most definitely more of a boring black/grey person, I have to admit that I LOVE seeing people mix bright colours that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see together.  Pink and red, purple and yellow, or even just different shades of the same colour.  And the beauty of this trend is that even if you are more neutral, like me, you can work in some colour with like a great pair of fushia heels, and a bunch of mixed colourful bracelets, and you are not quite as neutral anymore.

Uncle James:  Favorite perfume?
Honest Marnie: Balenciaga Paris
[ Woof says Zoe! All pictures by Uncle James except the Parker sequin dress ]

Uncle James:  A motto in life?
Honest Marnie: “Do unto others” pretty much sums it up.  I guess that’s a bit simple, but we feel really strongly that you reap what you sow in life, so it’s in your best interest to treat people with respect and kindness and they will treat you the same way.  Of course that’s essential in our personal lives, but it seems even more apt and important when you are in business.

Lola & Emily is located at 3475 St Laurent.
Visit the website.

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