Soothing, graceful, clean and thoughtful are words that come to mind when describing the spring and summer collection of Toronto fashion designer Philip Sparks. And his line always tells a whimsical story.

In the past year, Philip Sparks held a few pop-up shops around town but a few weeks ago, he opened his own boutique, quietly nestled behind ideal coffee on Ossington. It is the kind of shop where every detail has been accounted for, from the delicate florals that decorate the front counter to how clothing is arranged on custom built racks.

While so many designers have chosen vibrant hues for Spring, Philip’s palette is soft and sun bleached. We love the blouses with prints taken from photographs of Lake Ontario. On the left lapel, seemingly floating on waves, is an image of The Empire Sandy, a tall ship that can often be seen docked at Harbourfront. Philip relays that his SS2012 collection was inspired by 1930s beach scenes. Think well dressed couples playing backgammon, or enjoying a beautiful seaside picnic on a lazy Sunday.

Philip Sparks design calms us and makes us feel a little more graceful and a little less stressed. When so many local designers are going for that edgy street look, he adds a gentle tone to the Ossington strip. Grab a latté at ideal, wander in to say hello, and walk out with a silver trench that will rival any Burberry.

Philip Sparks Tailored Goods
162 Ossington Ave (but not right on Ossington, just west off of Foxley)
Hours: Monday to Wednesday 11 am to 6 pm, Thursday to Saturday 11 am to 7 pm, Sunday noon to 5 pm

~ Jen Mcneely