Left your bikini at home? All that last minute packing – flats to go with the linen shift dress, heels to wear at dinner, jean shorts, t-shirts, sunscreen, passport, floppy hat – it’s easy to forget this summer essential. Well, boo hoo, now I guess you have to go shopping. Here are some spots in Montreal to get you pool-ready in no time…
One little discovery I’ve only recently made is Moov Design on Mont-Royal. Designer and owner Line Brunel has her own collection of bathing suits – bikinis, tankinis and sultry one-piece cut-outs (pictured above) – which she makes on the spot, or, more accurately, in her atelier above the shop. If you have about ten days to spare, there is a made-to-measure service where you literally sit down with Line and work out the ideal suit for you. You choose the style of the cut, then the colour and pattern you’d like on your Italian Lycra, and all the little details. Can’t stand those knots in your back from the tie-up straps? How about a snap closure? Want solid fuchsia triangles and a polka dot full-cut bottom? Sold! Floor selections start at about $130, while custom numbers can go as high as $200.
If you’re downtown and strapped for cash, seek out H&M right on St-Catherine – there are two locations (one at Peel, the second between Parc and University) where you can get a decent ensemble for the same price as a couple of fancy cocktails. Bandeau and halter styles are the knock-off looks of the moment. Between the two H&Ms, behold Simons. For finicky types that appreciate a wide selection of brands, styles and prices, this Quebec-based department store should have your bases, er, parts, covered.
On the extreme high-end of budgets, you can sun worship in splendour outfitted by home-grown swimwear label Shan, located on Crescent. Besides on-the-spot adjustments, heated dressing room floors and haute quality all around, you’ll also get waves of choice in tops and bottoms, matching sheer cover-ups, resort dresses and glamazon sunglasses. If it’s any indication, Shan has a sister location on Collins Avenue in Miami. Si, señorita, Shan is that sexy.
Shan also sells bathing trunks for men. Or if Mr. Man doesn’t find what he likes there (hey, not everyone’s Colin Farrell), he can get St-Tropez chic by walking a few blocks to the Vilbrequin boutique inside Ogilvy’s (one level below main floor), which is, yup, on St-Catherine as well.
If your idea of beach attire also includes a dash of daring, head up to the Plateau neighbourhood and go to Sunnyside on stroll-happy St-Denis. Owner Josée-Anne Trudel imports the teeniest of bikinis from Brazil, passing off a “medium” in Rio for a “small” in Montreal. (I’m resisting a Brazilian wax joke here, have mercy.) She also has her own line called Nana, a more manageable Brazil-inspired cut that’s decidedly less risqué on this side of the equator.
If you’re in the area, you might also want to check out June Design. It’s a local label available at Unicorn, one of my fave little indie boutiques in the Mile End. Lots of cute bikinis in bandeau or halter styles with matching bottoms, many with flirty shoe-string tie-ups. Pieces sold separately are $50 each. The wild safari print, one-piece cut-out is $100.
Now, if someone could just point me in the direction of the closest swimming pool…