fashion magazine
Welcome Home Eugene Choo
by MICHELLE MCGUIRE
Photography by WAYNE MAH waynemahphotography.com
Eugene Choo is a unique fashion boutique located in Mount Pleasant. The brainchild of owner Kildare Curtis, the unusual name originates from a childhood friend. The owner's impeccable taste is reflected in the authentic vibe of the space, it's cottage-like atmosphere and the of the great mix of designers showcased. It's easy to see why this boutique has grown to enjoy a large, loyal clientele who regularly drop in to check out new arrivals.

Originally from Calgary, Curtis has always loved fashion, although never intended to be apart of the industry. It was simply an idea presented by a coworker over lunch - a small storefront in Mount Pleasant that was for rent. Opened in 1997, that first store was a vintage shop. His sister owned the store next door, so they decided to collaborate by combining the two stores into one. Eugene Choo has been open for just over eleven years now in a neighborhood with a mixture of mom and pop stores. This atypical location has worked in their favour, giving it a competitive edge. Curtis differentiates his boutique from others by connecting with the local communities. "We have always supported and been supported by a great community whether it be the immediate area of Mount Pleasant or the greater design community of Vancouver. The store has grown organically as both of these communities have grown."

When initially walking into this inviting space, one is enticed by the aroma of a beautifully scented Red Current candle. The floors are endearingly worn in and uneven and a distressed, but sturdy bench offers the chance to sit. Brand selection is spilt down the middle. Half of the designers are Canadian from Vancouver and Toronto with the remaining international. Local labels include Dace, Hidden Spectrum, Jean Okada, Erin Templeton, Lifetime, Anna DeCourcy, Arnstein, Lover Fighter, Mono, Angelus Novus and Broken English. One of his favorite brands featured in the store is Mercy. It embodies the distressed aesthetic of the boutique while keeping the look smart and fun. When asked to sum up the store in a few lines he responded with the words "Smart, Classic, Quirky, and Fun."

Buying trips to New York have honed Curtis' talent for picking the right garments. "My buying now is very intuitive. After 11years I have a pretty good grasp of what does and doesn't work. I stick to classic looks, but don't take that as boring or conservative." Most people have a target market or ideal customer in mind - not Curtis. He buys without upcoming trends in mind. He simply selects what he likes and goes with what feels right - classic over trendy and quality over quantity.

Kildare Curtis concluded by mentioning a Japanese term he had learned - wabi-sabi - which means to represent a comprehensive worldview or aesthetic based on the acceptance of transience. This is how he views Eugene Choo, as impermanent and forever changing - finding beauty in evolving over time. The boutique has achieved wabi-sabi through the balance of beautiful merchandise combined with an appealing warm and welcoming environment.

For more information visit the boutique's website at www.euginechoo.com.

Hot Items List:

-Mercy (Liberty bird print/tea dyed and quilted) skirt
- Dace pleat front blouse
- Votivo "Red Currant" candle
- A.P.C. Black "Mocassin Talon" shoe
- Erin Templeton "City Mama" purse/tote in buffalo leather