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Style Exhibition at Umbra’s flagship Toronto store highlights blurring line between work and home

The Umbra store at 165 John St. in Toronto.

Since it was founded in 1979, Canadian design company Umbra has been known for taking a radical approach to household items, putting a new spin on functional everyday pieces such as wall hooks and trash cans. Part of that continuing effort to push design forward includes Umbra’s participation in the annual DesignTO Festival, the newly rebranded name given to the Toronto Design Offsite Festival. Now in its ninth year, DesignTO is a celebration of Canadian design that takes over the city from Jan. 18 to 27 with more than 100 exhibitions and events. In 2018, more than 140,000 visitors attended the festival, including many who make a stop at Umbra’s downtown Toronto concept store.

For this year’s festival, Umbra will once again present its Work/Life exhibition, an exploration of design prototypes for contemporary living that showcases the work of nine Canadian designers and studios. Given that the boundaries between work and home are increasingly blurred and standard offices are being replaced by shared co-working arrangements, Work/Life recognizes the need to make small spaces more livable and efficient. The nine new products featured in the exhibition include Andrew Ferrier’s desktop charging stations, which feature room for office-supply storage, and versatile hanging storage by Sisley Leung, as well as items by Allstudio, Rachelle Bugeaud, Dear Human, Claire Hamilton Studio, Half-day, mpgmb and Studio Knowhow. A jury, which includes Globe and Mail lifestyle editor Maryam Siddiqi, will award the Best Product award, which includes a cash prize. Attendees can also have their say through a vote for the Fan Favourite award.

Umbra Store, 165 John St., Toronto, 416-599-0088, umbra.com.

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Style news

Italian fashion house Fendi has opened a new boutique in downtown Toronto. Located in Holt Renfrew’s flagship at 50 Bloor St. W., the 2,600-square-foot space joins existing Fendi boutiques in Holt Renfrew’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Vancouver locations, as well as an upcoming boutique opening soon at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal. The new Bloor Street boutique is divided into distinct sections: handbags, small leather goods and accessories; an expanded men’s-wear selection that includes apparel and shoes; footwear; and women’s fashion and fur. Featuring furniture imported from Rome, the boutique is also decked out in handmade silk carpets, modular velvet sofas and brass and marble tables.

This month, Nordstrom has introduced its newest Pop-In@Nordstrom, a partnership with New York-based travel brand Away Luggage. The Pop-In@Nordstrom Up & Away features exclusive luggage in red, yellow and blue available now, as well as two additional colours – black and white with colourful zippers – landing Jan. 22. The four suitcase sizes in the collection each include Away’s signature features like a built-in battery to charge electronic devices, a TSA-approved lock and hidden laundry bag. In addition to Away’s offerings, the shop will also include a curated selection of more than 250 travel products such as Monocle’s Travel Guides, Baggu bags, maps and more.

Miami-bound snowbirds have yet another reason to visit Bal Harbour Shops. Versace recently opened a new boutique at the open-air shopping destination, and it’s taking a sustainable approach to fashion retail. Designed by architect Gwenael Nicolas, each detail of the store was selected with sustainability standards in mind, from the materials used to the flexible management of the space, including LEED Gold-level certification. “There’s no bigger luxury than our future. The new Versace concept is a commitment toward Versace’s sustainable legacy,” Donatella Versace said in a release from the brand.

Two world-renowned casual wear brands have announced bright new collections. The North Face is reintroducing its original snowboard kit with the ’92 Rage Collection. Available in styles for all genders, the collection features a mix of bold, bright colours on quintessential 1990s pieces such as fanny packs, zip-ups and bucket hats. In addition, Uniqlo is teasing to the launch of its latest Uniqlo U spring/summer collection. Designed by Christophe Lemaire, select outerwear items are available now, with the remainder of the vibrant collection launching in stores and on the brand’s mobile app on Feb. 1.

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