05 Mar The Lato Letter: Volume 3, Issue 3.
I have mentioned my wife Virginia’s fashion business in previous issues of The Lato Letter and so I thought I would share a little press that she received today in the fashion section of The Toronto Star. Enjoy reading.
Stealth Shopper: Yes Virginia majors in luxurious leathers
By-appointment-only shop owner Virgina Lato offers chic, elegant merchandise to the over-35 set from her homey location in Rosedale.
Yes Virginia, an appointment-only retailer in the lower level of a Rosedale house, is both comfy and discreet, Rita Zekas writes.
By: Rita Zekas Special to the Star, Published on Wed Mar 05 2014
Yes Virginia, 44 Gibson St.
Intimidation factor: Minimal. The shop is chic but homey, only fitting considering it is in the lower level of a Rosedale house.
Number of salespeople on floor: Three, owner Virginia Lato and two associates.
Response time: Immediate. Lato offers me a cappuccino, water, tea…
Vibe: Danier Leather meets high-end wardrobe hoarder.
Price range: From $29 for a necklace to $1,200 for a reversible suede/leather coat.
Rating: Three leather gaucho hats out of four.
I tend to be leery about appointment-only retailers. Inevitably they are either fawning or snobby and terminally judgmental. So I approach Yes Virginia with trepidation, especially since it is located in lofty Rosedale.
I ring the bell and enter. I am greeted by bight smiles and the smell of fine leather in the air. Mmmmmmm.
First off: a selection of footwear at the front, including short “paddock” booties ($497) and riding boots with a convenient zip at the back made by the top polo-boot manufacturer in Argentina and priced at $950. They can be custom-made to fit.
Rock classics play on the soundtrack. Janis Joplin is beseeching God to buy her a Mercedes Benz; I want Him to buy me those riding boots.
The place is comfy with a lovely bathroom and relaxed fitting rooms at the back. It is discreet; nothing screams retail and there is no pressure. It’s more like happening upon a shopaholic’s hoard.
Owner Virginia Lato (yes, there is a Virginia) has been in business for more than a dozen years. Her mantra is “elegance with a twist” and her demographic is the ill-served 35- to 75-year-olds. Lato’s background was banking and teaching investing.
“I was in my 40s and could only find clothing that was either frumpy or for my daughter,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘Okay then, I’ll make it.’ I design and work with smart people and it’s all about fit. I don’t have a model’s body. I figured women like me would respond. Let’s celebrate all the bodies.
“Women come here to be pampered. There is no roll of the eyeballs, from years of having people roll eyeballs at me (in high-end clothing stores).”
Sizing runs from 2 to 14 and up but Lato provides custom sizing and alterations.
She carries accessories, including jewelry, bags, scarves, belts and gloves. An impressive array of bags resides on shelving over the racks, ranging from $129 for an embossed leather croc clutch to $950 for a versatile tan travel bag that ages well.
There is wonderful washed-leather/suede reversible coat with ragged hem that can be worn in the rain and ripped-leather distressed coat-dress cut like a trench for $1,100 that is beyond cool.
The jackets, including a moto jacket with a knit waistband, sit on a higher waist to accommodate an ample hip span.
Lato majors in leathers, which come from Argentina, but oh, what delicious prints she has!! Like a show-stopping tuxedo jacket in a reversible lip-stick print and an awesome print jacket cut like a frock coat in a medley of hot colours, including pink, lime green and orange that looks so Etro (high-end label).
A no-brainer is her signature shirt, a white tunic ($295) that is universally flattering and available in a ton of colours, prints and in leather.
Though Lato caters to women, there is a limited men’s line.
“If a man has a favourite blazer that fits, I can make it in leather,” she says.
Call 416-964-5877 or email email@example.com for appointment. And say hello to those riding boots for me.
This information, including any opinion, is based on various sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy cannot be guaranteed and is subject to change without notice.
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