Spa_ce Vintage Clothing Gallery 608A Markham, 416-916-6219 Rating: NNNNN
Down a discreet staircase on the west side of Markham in Mirvish Village is a top-secret vintage Valhalla that debunks the myth that second-hand stores have to smell like moth balls and look like dishevelled dorm rooms. Spa_ce Vintage Clothing Gallery is outfitted with a trickling waterfall wall, moody lounge lighting and rack upon rack of fantasy retro frocks. The Zen decor is left over from owner Ashlene Roberts 's first concept for Spa_ce. The store began its life as a shiatsu studio, but a roaring furnace meant the vibe was anything but serene. Last summer, Roberts gave it a second chance as a depot for the darling 50s and 60s dresses she expertly scouts.
Tomato-red polka dots and lemony green floral fabrics are cut in frilly, ruched silhouettes and tagged with price stickers that rarely top 50 bucks. The occasional layered full-length chiffon ball gown hits $120 and is worth every pretty penny. Roberts's picks: The cream hem of a 1950s copper gown gets stitched with stylized leaf embroidery, $120; stripes of green and blue flowers wrap around a picnic-perfect ivory day dress, $80; a belted, red quilted fabric mini from 1962 has been christened "the oven mitt dress," $50.
Look for: An accessories wall featuring geometric, fluorescent-coloured earrings and the addition of printed scarves and vintage shoes to the mix.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 12 pm to 6 pm.