Lola Home and Apparel seems to contain everything a girl could ever wish for. Inside the airy white space with its floor-to-ceiling arched windows, every lap around the store turns up new gems to covet: ornate pocket mirrors, turquoise costume jewelry, Burberry baby outfits, Tocca fragrances, Diptyque candles.
Whatever Lola Wants
by LISA WONG
Lola's eclectic feel should come as no surprise given owner Christina McDaniel's background. A veteran of the fashion industry, McDaniel studied in Paris and worked for a trend forecasting company before turning to retail. She first opened Lola in the heart of Yaletown in 2001. After a decade as a mainstay of Yaletown's retail scene, she relocated her store to the lobby of the historic Sun Tower building on the corner of Beatty and West Pender. The new site not only offered more space, it gave her the chance to be part of the up-and-coming Crosstown neighbourhood and be on "an old Vancouver boulevard." The move also posed a new challenge though: changing the mix of product so that it appeals to customers from Yaletown and Gastown alike. It's a transitional puzzle that she's still trying to figure out while she searches for interesting affordable merchandise to stock.
McDaniel's previous work with trends explains a lot about how she buys for Lola. "Each season I feel like I'm putting [together] a collection." She pulls together a cohesive conceptual story and chooses items from different lines accordingly. "Things that make the heart beat faster" and items that spark an instant instinctive passion make it into Lola. The items could be shoes from Mel by Melissa, Pour La Victoire, Bensimon or Hunter. They could be costume jewelry from her annual buying trip to London or scarves and bangles. Hudson denim and select items from Maison Scotch and Wildfox make the cut. So do fragrances from Diptyque, Tocca and Tokyomilk Dark; vintage silverplate (an admitted obsession); pretty stationery; and photo frames. Local designs by Carlie Wong and Jason Matlo, and jewelry by Dotted Loop and Shereen de Rousseau, round out Lola's selection. The result is a lifestyle/concept store that's at once sophisticated but approachable, elegant yet adorable, and constantly evolving from season to season.
So according to McDaniel, who is the Lola woman? She can be anyone--a feminine romantic who loves bohemian, ruffled and floral looks; a classic girl who shops for investment items and luxury brands; or an edgy girl who exudes downtown cool. "I think [the Lola woman] is all different types. We have something for every style." Indeed, helping women figure out their personal style is a mission of hers, and the inspiration behind her upcoming venture: a deal with Vitamin Daily Deals providing trend consultation and mood board creation services to clients who find themselves struggling on their sartorial journey: a deal with Vitamin Daily Deals providing trend consultation and mood board creation services to clients who find themselves struggling on their sartorial journey. If Lola is any indication of McDaniel's taste, surely these potential clients are in expert hands.
For more information visit the website at www.lolahomeandapparel.com and be sure to keep an eye out for their ecommerce launching this summer.