US-based Ann Taylor recently announced its Canadian launch and will be opening two Toronto stores this fall, one at Yorkdale Shopping Centre and another at the Eaton Centre downtown. DelectablyChic! had the opportunity to interview the chain’s PR director, Andrew Taylor to speak with him about what we could expect when the first store opens later this year.
Some pieces from Ann Taylor’s fall/winter 2012 collection
For those who might be unfamiliar with the Ann Taylor brand, can you tell us a little about it?
Ann Taylor is an iconic brand that has always been synonymous with chic, modern style for women. Since its inception, the brand has evolved throughout the decades to meet modern women’s changing needs, aspirations and roles. Today, Ann Taylor’s Head Designer Lisa Axelson, a member of the prestigious CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), continues this tradition by designing with the multi-faceted, busy lives of modern women in mind. From feminine wear-to-work styles to chic casual looks and a full assortment of shoes, jewelry and accessories, Ann Taylor dresses women across every generation from desk to dinner and workday to weekend.
Who do you think is the typical Ann Taylor consumer?
The Ann Taylor customer is a woman of confidence, character and style. She’s a working woman with a rich, full life beyond her career. She is modern and uses fashion to say she’s smart, current and in-the-know.
Hoarding at the future Toronto Eaton Centre store
It’s a little unusual for a brand to launch two stores in the same city at around the same time. What made you decide to do this?
In entering the Toronto market, we wanted to ensure that the stores are located in the city’s leading shopping centres and feel that having two premier locations will help us meet the demands of Canadian consumers that are looking for more choices as well as better quality and higher value in both wear to work and casual offerings.
Can you tell me a bit about the petite size offerings? Many stores I’ve been to in the US only have a small section, even flagships. What will we expect in Toronto?
Petites are carried in every Ann Taylor store and there will be a comprehensive petites selection available in both Toronto stores.
How does the company decide which pieces to produce in petites and why is colour selection for petites often much more limited?
We make every effort to offer as much of the collection as we can in petites including the full color range. We have a very loyal petite following and always offer the best we can for our petite client.
The petite blogging community has grown a great deal over the past few years. Has that made your company rethink how petite sizing is distributed as well as selection?
We think that the increasing focus on petites by the blogging community is fantastic. The petite client has always been an important focus for us at Ann Taylor and we have a very loyal following and welcome feedback and commentary from this important group of clients.
In general, what should we be looking for in the fall in terms of style? Any top picks?
The Fall collection was inspired by 1960’s French couture and the effortless elegance of Parisian women. At Ann Taylor we always keep the modern woman in mind and offer a selection of pieces that can take her from the desk to dinner and weekday to weekend. The Fall collection includes pieces that have been made with high quality fabrics in gorgeous silhouettes. The collection consists of a number of classic black and white prints with pops of colour like hypnotic pink. Our favorites pieces this season are a snow leopard ponte dress, a navy peplum top with a matching pencil skirt, and a jacquard topper and skirt.
Now that Ann is coming to Canada, is international shipping in the horizon?
We are currently developing our global shipping capability through our e-commerce sites which will allow for shipping to specific countries outside of the U.S. We expect this will happen at a future date, both in Canada and other parts of the world.
Where are we expecting Ann Taylor next?
We are investigating opportunities in other countries as part of our overall growth strategy.
Image credits: First photo by George Pimentel, second photo by Cynthia Cheng Mintz