Trixie, 2313 Bloor West, 416-762-0084 Rating: NNNNN
Trixie owner Joe De Paiva looks sheepish when he hands over a crocheted top by Jennifer Lopez's JLO clothing line as a favourite pick from his chic womenswear boutique. De Paiva is forgiven, because he's standing in front of a rack of coats by Montreal's Soia & Kyo.
Since he and wife Daniela De Paiva opened Bloor West Village's best-kept style secret almost five years ago, they've lured in loyal west-end fans with their fashion mix. Foreign entries from Dex, Gentle Fawn and Guess hang happily next to Canadian-content-friendly designers including Jessie May, House of Spy and Chulo Pony.
The common thread is a trendy-minus-tacky look sold in a laid-back space. (Everyone in the store adds his or her thoughts to wardrobe deliberations, and it's hard to tell the staff from the shoppers.) It's that fashion-'tude-free style and eagerness to break new designers that tempt big-label lovers to try fresh-off-the-local-cutting-table duds.
De Paiva's picks: The 5th Avenue top that wraps around your bod in seven different ways, $88; Second Co. sequined Captain jeans, $150; and the notorious JLO crocheted sequined V-neck tank, $155.
Look for: New spring pieces from the in-house Trixie line and the March arrival of screened linen wear from Toronto's Hyphen (by 2004 Fashion Incubator New Labels competition winners Liz Consiglio and J-P Guarraci).
Store hours: Monday-Wednesday 11-6, Thursday and Friday 11-7, Saturday 10-7, Sunday noon-6.