Malabar is a costume lover's dream come true. Everywhere you look, from floor to ceiling, wall to wall, the store is covered with the most exciting merchandise.
Owner and head tailor, Luigi Speca, has been working at Malabar for decades. Now the head of the company, he is often praised for his hard work and attention to detail. Shayla Duval, a sales associate in the retail store, notes that he’s a busy man, but that he “does what he loves.”
Luigi and his dedicated staff stock all your general costume needs - from wigs, makeup and accessories to full costumes. Dancers of all levels will find a great selection including basic classwear, sanctioned RAD uniforms and jazzed-up options from the best dancewear brands. Malabar stocks shoes for jazz, tap, ballroom and ballet (pointe shoe fittings with trained fitters are available by appointment ). Pieces specially built for operas and theatre eventually become available for rent. The Four Seasons Centre is just down the street, so keep your eyes peeled for ballet stars popping in for an emergency pair of tights or ribbons.
Shayla points up and explains, “The floor above is rentals, and the floor above that is rentals. Then we have our opera warehouse on Brock.” There are so many pieces to look at, you wonder if Luigi has ever majorly downsized his stock. Not really, admits Shayla: “We have a hard time getting rid of the costumes; it’s hard to part with them.”
To really make the most of a look, view Malabar’s makeup tutorial on their Youtube channel. Talented makeup artists will walk viewers through transformations with simple tips like how to block out eyebrows or compose full-fledged character faces, featuring anything from the Grinch to zombies.
If you’re looking to truly out-Halloween your pals this year, knock ‘em dead with a specialty costume from this local dress-up shop. Try on one of the rentals on offer (the Star Wars Rubies Jawa costume ticks off both the Utterly Terrifying box and the Truly Amazing Movie Reference box). If you’ve searched absolutely everywhere for a must-have costume or detail (because we’ve all been in the position of desperately seeking that quintessential unicorn headpiece, right?), this spot is your best bet for finding it. Visit their website to find out what goodies they’ve got in-store.
This Toronto institution has been in business since 1923 and has an unrivaled selection of theatrical costumes and props for rent or purchase. The McCaul Street shop also carries stage makeup and dancewear. The rental service boasts an impressive array of highly detailed historical period pieces (Medieval knights, Victorian bathing costumes, 1920s flapper dresses) while the retail shop specializes in licensed costumes (superheroes, movie stars), novelty costumes and traditional spooky Halloween ensembles.
It's hard to tear up the dance floor without a proper pair of dancing shoes and a chic outfit to match. For flamenco dresses, tutus, tap shoes and more, visit these Toronto specialty shops that'll have you cutting a rug in style.
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