Late in the summer a sign caught our eye outside an old building (by that we mean 80 years old old) on Locke Street. It read 'Solee Shoes'. We watched as the building was gutted and renovated, and curiously awaited the results. Any addition to Locke Street is warmly welcomed by us. Combine that with a sign reading Marc Jacobs and Jeffrey Campbell, and well, lets just say the boutique's arrival couldn't come fast enough.
Drawn to the space, and the way it combined both new and old features, owner Lisa Dalia designed the shop around the exposed brick supporting beam in the middle of the space. We love the custom made ottamon that was fitted around the beam, with pale blue subway tiles and gorgeous damask print fabric. Its the perfect focal point, and gives the boutique a chic, city feel.
Having studied in Italy, interned at Emanuel Ungaro Homme (before that mess, Lohan, shook up the house), and worked in Toronto at both Louis Vuitton and Chanel, Lisa has some serious cred. But it was back to her hometown when it came to setting up shop. "I decided to bring Italy home," explained Lisa, "I love the character and culture of Locke Street." Lisa, as a person is so sweet. You can tell she's the kind of girl who would share the world with you, the kind of girl you would be lucky to have as a friend (aww, we know).
When you visit Solee, you immediately recognize Lisa's passion for Italian style, quality and craftsmanship through her carefully curated selection. "The Italians have a way with fashion that makes a woman melt," said Lisa, "whether it is through intricate stitching, or simple soft leathers, you can always identify a good quality Italian product." Fortunate enough to travel two to three times a year to Italy, she makes it a priority to source new products that are unique enough to excite her clients, but practical enough to use in an everyday wardrobe. "I must have an emotional reaction to items before I consider them," exclaimed Lisa, " If I don’t feel that, I won’t buy it!".
The shoes above by Osvaldo Rossi are Lisa's personal favourite (we love them too). See Stephanie wearing them in the first photo with a clutch by Fratelli Firenze.
Stephanie loved this necklace by Speech. She remembers being psyched when she saw the too cool, local (Toronto now) silversmith Michael Mercanti's designs in Teen Vogue a couple years back. Drawing inspiration from, well, the ordinary, the Hardware collection materialized teeth, nails, pop can tabs and the like in unpolished and oxidized forms. His newest collection, Paradise Lost, toys with romantic and religious symbology. Picture rose stems and nails formed into crosses, and delicately hung on antique looking chains.
With Lisa being ahead of the curve, you'll find the most interesting brands and styles at Solee. Among them Michael Kors, MJUS (which is getting picked up by Holt Renfrew next season), Jeffrey Campbell and Osvaldo Rossi. For spring she will be carrying ZiGiny (love!), Pour La Victoire (woot!) and Marc by Marc Jacobs (omg).
We really admire Lisa's involvement in various charitable initiatives. "Im not changing the world by selling beautiful Italian shoe and handbags, but I am a strong believer in giving back, and it is a priority to me and my business to get involved and do whatever I can," explained Lisa, "I have a new appreciation for Hamilton and I’m very passionate about the potential here." Soles4Souls is one of the initiatives Solee is involved in; the program donates gently used shoes to underprivileged countries. Solee is an official drop off location and is hosting a Thanksgiving shoe drive for the month of October. If you drop off a gently used pair, Solee will offer you a discount on your purchase of a new pair. Additionally, Solee is involved in the AGO's Sacks & the City, an event raising money for art programs for inner city children. Lisa has donated one of a kind shoes and handbags for the event.
195 Locke Street South
Hamilton, ON, L8P 4B4