Imagine opening two heavy doors into a large room filled with clothing, wall to wall. Muted fabrics in white, black, grey and beige fill the racks that make punches of colour like Pantone’s Classic Blue stand out from the rest. There’s a vanity in the middle of the space with a velvety, emerald coloured chair parked in front of the mirror. A couple of sultry Theory slips are draped over the back of it and you run your hands across their mouth-watering fabric before taking a seat. There’s a wine glass perched on top of a stack of old Vogue issues that are covered in the scent of Jo Malone, and Diptique’s Baies candle flickers away on the table top. A ruffly, pearl-white Isabel Marant blouse beckons you to pick it as the statement piece for your outfit of the day, but a set of Rimowa luggage is even more enticing – it sits quietly in the corner and stares at you until you can’t look away anymore. All it wants is for you to hurriedly fill it with all your basic necessities and take off on a spontaneous adventure. If you’d just pull on your favourite pair of Manolo’s and click your heels together, you could go anywhere.
Does this kind of closet situation sound dreamy to you? If it does, you’d probably swoon over everything Trouvaille – a bespoke online shopping experience for women-on-the-go created by Britt Barkwell. Trouvaille features clothing, accessories, homewares and decorations that are timeless, simplistic and truly useful in everyday life.
With extensive experience launching editorial platforms for brands like Club Monaco and Holt Renfrew, Barkwell has been working in the fashion industry long enough to see a major shift in consumer behaviour, especially over the past couple of years. Barkwell believes that people have begun to realize the implications of over-consumption and are looking to shop more sustainably. That’s where Trouvaille comes in – helping women refine their wardrobes and purchase purposefully with a signature blend of high and low designer finds in only the best quality.
In preparation for Christmas Day, (next week! Eeeeeek!), we spoke to Barkwell about how to choose a meaningful last-minute gift for your fashion-loving friend who dreams about the type of closet we described earlier. Read on to discover her pro-tips for finding that “very thing”. Happy shopping and Merry Christmas, from the STYLE Canada team.
A: What are some of your favourite holiday traditions?
B: The holidays are all about family, friends and food. I have a three-year-old daughter and it’s fun creating new traditions with her. Growing up, I went to see The Nutcracker every year with my mother and grandmother and I’m excited to take Izzie to the ballet this year for the first time. We are going for high tea before at the Shangri-La Hotel and I’m excited about the start of a new tradition in our family. It’s so lovely to see the magic of the holidays through your children’s eyes.
A: How would you describe your personal style and how did it inspire Trouvaille’s?
B: I would describe my style as unfussy and simple. I feel most myself in vintage denim and a crisp white blouse. Comfortable footwear is a must, and my Chanel sling backs are a staple. This less is more approach to dressing definitely translates to Trouvaille, because we believe in simplifying your wardrobe and making fashion choices that are timeless. When your wardrobe is built on a foundation of high-quality staples it becomes season-less. Our mission is to simply encourage woman to buy less and choose well.
A: How you would define a meaningful gift?
B: A meaningful gift is something cherished for a lifetime. One that celebrates connections.
A: What’s your thought process look like when choosing “the perfect gift” for someone?
B: I think that a great gift is something someone would not normally buy for themselves. When choosing a gift, I try to think of unique items that will surprise and delight. Giving someone the perfect gift – that very thing – is also about knowing them really well and anticipating their needs or what might be missing in their life. For example, if your mom is missing a vintage teacup for her set, you can probably find it on eBay! This is better than just buying her a whole new set, and allows you to take gifting to a new level.
A: If someone would like to invest in an expensive gift for a loved one but is struggling with thoughts of how practical it’ll actually be, what advice would you give them?
B: Before you invest in an expensive gift, consider the item’s usefulness or cost per wear. The rule is: the more the person can wear or use an item, the better your investment. Choose an item that can become a part of their everyday, from Monday to Friday.
A: What’s a simple and cost effective touch that someone can add to a gift to make it extra special?
B: I love gifts that can be personalized. Monogramming is an amazing way to add a special touch. Whether it’s classic initials or a thoughtful message, it takes a gift to another level.
This interview has been edited and condensed.